Frequently Asked Questions

Spectra Watermakers

No, we do not recommend washing or clean of the pre filter elements, as this causes small tears in the elements, which debris can pass by and get into the Clark pump.  Which in turn causes scoring to the cylinders and piston.  

Flush your system with freshwater after every use. We have customers still using the first units we built back in 1998 because they flush their systems properly. Spectra Watermakers are constructed of modern composites and engineered plastics to deliver many years of quiet, reliable service. Since the Clark Pump is hydraulically driven, it has slow moving parts that do not wear easily. You can ensure your watermaker lasts many years by regularly changing your prefilters and flushing it as recommended

Spectra Watermakers are absolutely the quietest watermakers available. Despite the marketing hype from our competitors to the contrary, conventional watermakers are intrusively noisy. Have you ever heard a pressure washer drone on? Spectra Watermaker systems are truly quiet because the Clark Pump is hydraulically driven, it has slow moving, quiet parts that cause very minimal vibration. Compare the cycle rate of Spectra's Clark Pump at 4 - 8 cycles per minute, compared to the high pressure pumps used by our competitors at 1,800 - 3,600 revolutions per minute. Conventional watermakers can operate anywhere from 78 - 85+ decibels, while Spectra's systems are typically a full 10 db or more lower!

Yes, Spectra Watermakers were built to run on solar and wind power! Our watermakers are designed to run on 12 or 24vdc batteries, without a generator running. We build a full line of DC watermakers ranging from 1.5 to 120 gallons per hour (24.6 to 1590 liters per hour) of fresh, potable water. All equipment is designed to avoid high start-up loads with soft start technology, energy recovery to reduce the operating power required, and automated controls to make operation as efficient and as simple as pushing a button.

Not at all! Most of our watermakers are designed to run on 12 or 24v, without a generator running. Our watermakers are designed to run on 12 or 24v DC batteries without a generator running, or even off an appropriately sized inverter and battery bank. We build a full line of DC watermakers ranging from 1.5 to 120 gallons per hour (24.6 to 1590 liters per hour) of fresh, potable water.  Our inverter-ready AC line of watermaker can all operate whisper quiet without a generator as well.  All equipment is designed to avoid high start-up loads with soft start technology, energy recovery to reduce the operating power required, and automated controls to make operation as efficient and as simple as pushing a button.

If you are leaving your watermaker for an extended period of time and do not have a Z-ION, you will want to decommission, or pickle, your watermaker with storage chemicals so that there is no biological growth in the system. These instructions are intended to be generic, and specific directions for your system are provided in the Operation and Maintenance Manual. Refer to your manual for specific system instructions and chemical ratios.

For Analog Systems: Perform a fresh water flush. Turn off the feed pump and close the grey fresh water flush valve. Leave the yellow service valve OFF. Disconnect the brine discharge hose from the Clark Pump, and replace with the brine service hose from your service kit. Lead the service hose to a 5 gallon bucket. Do another fresh water flush, running the feed pump until you have one gallon of fresh water in the bucket. Turn off the feed pump and close the grey fresh water flush valve.  Mix one 8 oz. container of SC-1 storage compound with the water in the bucket. It will not dissolve completely, which is normal, and any undissolved particles will be caught by the pre-filter. Connect the service hose to the service port above the yellow valve on the feed pump module and lead the hose into the solution in the bucket. Turn the yellow service valve to SERVICE. The system will draw solution from the bucket and return it via the brine discharge hose. Make sure the pressure relief valve on the Clark pump is Open (unpressurized), 1/2 turn counter clockwise. Turn on the feed pump and circulate the storage solution through the system for 10 minutes. Turn off the feed pump when finished. Clean Up: Remove the brine service hose from the Clark Pump brine discharge, and replace the original hose that leads to the thru-hull. Turn the yellow service valve back to RUN, and remove the intake service hose. Close the seacock, drain then clean the sea strainer and pre-filters. Reassemble dry with new filters.

For Automatic Systems with the MPC 5000: Turn the yellow service valve on the feed pump module to OFF (horizontal, see photo). Push Auto Store to fresh water flush the system. Repeat, to flush the system twice. Remove the cap on the service port on the feed pump module and install the inlet service hose from the service kit. Remove the quick disconnect fitting from the brine discharge outlet of the Clark Pump, and replace it with the quick disconnect brine discharge service hose. Lead both hoses to a 5 gallon bucket. Push the Auto Store button and run the feed pump until you have one gallon of fresh water in the bucket from the brine discharge service hose. Push the Stop button to stop the system. Mix 1 container of SC-1 storage compound with the water in the bucket. Make sure the pressure relief valve on the Clark Pump is OPEN (unpressurized) by turning 1/2 turn counter clockwise. Place the yellow service valve in the Service position. Turn on the feed pump using the manual control switch on the MPC 5000 Control Box. The solution will be drawn from the bucket with the service hose, and returned to the bucket from the brine discharge service hose. Circulate the storage chemical in the system for approximately 10 minutes. Turn off the feed pump. Clean Up: Remove the brine discharge service hose from the Clark Pump, and replace the brine discharge hose that leads to the thru-hull. You may now pump the bucket dry by using the manual control switch on the MPC Control Box. Turn the service valve 180\\u00b0 back to the RUN position, and remove the inlet service hose. Close the seacock, drain and clean the strainer and any filters in the system. Reassemble dry. Leave the pressure relief valve open, since the next time you run the system you will need to purge the storage chemicals with the system unpressurized.

Make sure your  feed pump is properly installed, check regularly for vacuum leaks, do not allow air to enter your thru hull, and fresh water flush your system after every use.  The feed pump is the workhorse behind your watermaker, and taking care of it will ensure a long lasting watermaker with few replacements and lots of good quality fresh water in your tanks.   Most pump problems come from improper installations.  Make sure the feed pump is mounted as low as possible in your boat and as near to the thru hull is your space will allow.  If your system uses booster pumps, they must be installed below the waterline, and as near to the thru hull as possible.  Check the intake hoses regularly for vacuum leaks, or signs that the pump is sucking air.  Do not operate your system in heavy weather if there is a chance that the thru hull will lift clear out of the water, or if there is significant aeration of the ocean due to wave activity.  Flushing your watermaker with fresh water after each use will dramatically reduce corrosion problems with stainless steel pump heads, and also keep the membrane free from biofouling, which will also help extend the pump life.

Hydraulically driven pump is quiet and extremely energy-efficient.  Run on solar power, wind power, inverter, or batteries; no generator necessary. 20 years in the desalination industry and 30 in marine service with support you can count on.  Spectra has spent years developing our patented high pressure intensifier pump technology with integrated energy recovery that allows us to create the high pressure required for RO based desalination, using a low pressure pump that will operate off your boat's 12 volt battery. Our unique technology allows us to produce pure water using less than half the energy required by conventional RO systems, which means our systems can work off standard 12v DC solar or wind driven power systems. Because the pump is hydraulically driven, it's quiet with minimal vibration.  After 30 years in the Marine Industry and over 12,000 systems sold we understand the onboard environment, so we engineer our equipment be robust, efficient and reliable and we offer unmatched after-sales support.

This depends on where you are making water.  We recommend making water in the ocean where the water is fresher and cleaner as filters can last for months in these conditions. If you're making water where there is algae, silt, plankton or other particulates, your filters may need to be changed more often.

Proper maintenance will ensure your membrane lasts 5-10 years . The life a  membrane  is directly dependent on how well it is cared for, which is why our many of our systems include automatic fresh water flushing. Keeping the membrane clean and stored in fresh water during voyages can add years to the service life of any membrane. Proper long term storage, or pickling, is also important for longevity. A well maintained reverse osmosis membrane can easily last 5 to 6 years, we have some customers with membranes that are well over 10 years old.

Spectra recommends flushing your watermaker after every use.  Why? Seawater contains two things that can shorten the life of any RO membrane; minerals and living organisms. If seawater is allowed to remain in contact with the membrane, minerals will begin to adhere to the surface; a fresh water flush will actually dissolve many minerals and stops this from happening. Seawater is also full of microscopic life and as the oxygen is consumed when the system stops, these organisms begin to die and decay. This decay causes biofouling which smells bad and will also lead to low-oxygen corrosion that will attack the stainless steel components critical to the function of any watermaker. Fresh water flushing virtually eliminates all these problems

Yes, desalinated water is absolutely safe to drink.  Reverse osmosis desalination is a process that uses a membrane to purify seawater or contaminated and undrinkable water sources by removing the dissolved salts and harmful content. The seawater membranes used in desalination systems remove salt, bacteria, viruses, protozoa, and cysts from the raw water, producing fresh, potable water.  The seawater membranes used in Spectra's watermakers remove 99.5% of all of the total dissolved solids from the feed water source.  This means that after running seawater through your Spectra watermaker, the purified product water is as good, or better than bottled water!

Due to the engineering plastics used in Spectra's watermakers, we strongly recommend that you only use Spectra storage chemicals  (SC-1) or a good quality brand of Propylene Glycol with no Ethyl Alcohol added.  Using storage solutions from competing manufacturers, such as Sodium Metabisulfite, will permanently damage the membrane end plugs and the Clark Pump. Never use any chemicals with the system pressurized. Always open the pressure relief valve 1\2 turn. Always follow the instructions for purging the chemicals as shown in the New System Startup section of your manual.

The simple answer is "bigger than you think". General recommendation: 5-20 gallons per day per person . In reality, it depends on how many people are going to be on the boat, where you plan to go and for how long, and what the weather's going to be like. Most of our customers find that the ease of use, the quietness, and the convenience of our systems gives them the security to drink more water, take more showers, wash their decks down with fresh water instead of salt; all in all, they consume a lot more water than they ever dreamed they would have. The most common mistake when purchasing a watermaker is to underestimate your needs, so our best advice is to be realistic with how much water you will use, and when in doubt buy a larger capacity system.  Remember, watermakers are rated by how much water they will produce in 24 hours of operation. Typically customers will only operate their watermakers for 3 - 4 hours at a time.

We have many spare part kits available for each system. We always recommend spare filters and we also typically recommend carrying a spare feed pump head, and a seal & o-ring kit

As your system ages it is natural that certain parts wear over time. The issue of low product water quality is typically an issue with a worn feed pump head, or that it is time to rebuild the Clark Pump. Low production is not typically a problem with the membranes on Spectra Watermakers.  We recommend that you keep a log so that you can see that the feed pressure has dropped, or the salinity has increased.  There are technical bulletins in the manual that will help you understand what is happening, and walk you through tests that can be performed to identify the cause of the low production.

Silt can damage the pumps and membranes. Harbours and inland waterways tend to have much siltier, cloudier water than offshore. That cloudiness is the result of suspended solids, stirred up from the ocean floor, runoff from nearby homes, nitrates from fertilizers, algae blooms, and other large particulates that can plug up filters and work their way into your system.  The large particles can damage feed pumps, score the pistons and cylinders of the high pressure pumps, damage valves, or even foul your membrane.  Your watermaker will last longer between maintenance intervals if you operate your system when you are a few miles offshore, than if you try to operate it in a harbour or inland waterway.

Peace of mind, fresh and safe drinking water.  Unlimited supply of fresh drinking water around the world.  With a Spectra, run your watermaker on renewable energy.  On a yacht, keep stainless from pitting and corroding with fresh water washdowns.  At Spectra Watermakers, we create products that make life simple and easy, and we believe in saving you time and power. With the push of a button you can have fresh water for drinking, cooking, showering, laundry, and if you're on a yacht, fresh water wash downs. The Spectra brand is synonymous with innovation in desalination technology, and our unique hydraulic pumps mean your watermaker will be quieter and more energy efficient than anything else on the market. Our 20 years of experience has led us to build a trained worldwide service network, so that you'll have customer support around the globe.

Katadyn Powersurvivor units

There is a few answers to this question - The unit is sucking in air, so check all connects along the inlet line, including all pre filter housings. The intake valve seat has been tightened down too much, it turn stopping the poppet valve move backwards and forwards. Seacock in the off position.

If the PS40E is drawing sea water in and rejecting out the brine line, and not producing any product water, it is more likely your spool valve seals are broken or worn. Click here  for a new part.

Watt & Sea Hydro generators

The Watt & Sea converter is compatible with all types of battery (lead, gel, AGM, lithium, etc...)  You just have to check in your battery manual that the recommended voltages aren't under Watt & Sea converter's  (14,3V \\/ 28,6V) & If there's a difference between the two voltages, it's possible to set it up with the free software, available in the download section.  Lithium Battery Management Systems (BMS) often require to be able to stop prodution sources, for safety reason. Then, a relay has to be used (available in  accessories ) to short-circuit the generator when you'd like to stop the production.

As soon as the hydro no longer generating power (lifted up or at mooring) the converter automatically takes in account the solar panel's charge, but the two equipment's can't work at the same time.

Yes, because we designed an universal support especially for you ! It allows to compensate an angle from + and - 45%. reference FU-03 in accessories.

Watt & Sea recommends servicing every 2 years or every 10 000 miles.  It should be noted that, regularly, you can  - remove the propeller and clean the conical fitting - check all the cables, to be sure it's not cut , spoilt or pinched. (it could avoid the hydro to produce normally )& - check the good condition of the plugs ( corrosion can stop the power and production).

We advise you to check the good condition of all plugs to be sure there's no sign of corrosion. Try to turn the propeller with your hand to be sure it turns easily, without hardpoints.

A revision has to be done every 10 000 miles or every 2 years. You'll find all the different types of revision with your Watt & Sea dealer.

The drag is very low compared to the boat drag. The hydro will not impact your speed at all.  Its depends on the size of the propeller and the speed of navigation.  At 6 knots, we estimate that the average drag is 10 kg. To calculate the loss of speed for a particular boat, you need to compare the total drag of the hull at 6 knots with 10 kg of drag of the hydrogenerator at the same speed. Our immersion and lifting trials at a constant speed have not shown any significant difference on the speedometer.

Due to the size of the lever arm, the maximum theoretical stress on the bracket fork mountings is estimated at around 300kg. Your mounting system should be adapted accordingly