Gobs of Water, Water Everywhere!

Or Zen Update

Readers may recall an earlier post about our Zen30 watermaker.

A few days ago we took another mid-week sojourn over to one of our favorite local “hangouts”, Isles of Shoals. We had a couple things in mind: foremost, just to get away for a couple days; and second, to complete a project started back in April, our watermaker.

Smuttynose seconds before sunrise

The first part went as expected – always sheer pleasure being moored out at these islands. We watch both sunrise in the east, and sunset in the west. Gosport Harbor is a popular stopover for boats cruising north to Maine, or south toward Boston. In between prep and projects, we just use it as a quick getaway. Boats typically arrive in the late afternoon, each with haphazardly furled sails, someone on the bow wielding a boat hook, and with all aboard looking beyond ready to relax with a Mount Gay and soda. The process is reversed soon after sunrise, but first add in a couple lobster boats to rock us all awake. The quiet night sky has less background lighting, allowing celestial bodies to gleam more brightly through our forward hatch as we drift off to the land of nod.

Mate wants water!

So as usual, we start out easy, and then get back to work. With cleaner sea water now available offshore, it was time to commission the watermaker.

This device isn’t actually making water from nothing. Really, it makes drinkable water – that is, it removes salt, bacteria, and just about everything else but water molecules. You can look up the process of reverse osmosis elsewhere, but that’s how our Zen watermaker makes water.

Watermaker plumbing on Fayaway

First step is to open up the sole and settees, exposing the valves and piping, because I knew there would be leaks. And I was right. I tracked down five leaks, mostly hose clamps. Other leaks were anticipated due to the type of fittings used (provided with unit). Sometimes European (metric) fittings don’t jive with American (IPS) threads. After a few starts and stops, and all obvious leaks discovered and corrected, we fired it up again and stuck an empty water jug under the test port. Out came cool fresh water !

Port settee exposed (originally there was a second “port” water tank here) showing Zen watermaker and Xantrax inverter (top). Inlet strainer (bottom).

The new water tasted fresh and clean, but it flowed more slowly than anticipated. Hmmm. We checked and rechecked the operating/commissioning manual. Pressure good, waste salt water flow good, but water production was only about 2 gallons per hour. (Unit is rated for 9 gph) Hmmm. Check, sweat a little more, and recheck.

I noticed earlier that the cheap PEX test port valves (connected to main water tank) would leak when we filled the tank from shore. A few drips were mildly annoying, so we purchased new valves to square this away later when the task moved to the top of the priority list. But now this got me thinking again, that perhaps the leaky valves are related to the poor flow. As we scratched our heads a bit more over some lunch, the watermaker was left running to fill a water jug. While munching my sandwich I glanced over at the tank level gauge, and waddayaknow! It was rising! So, what was interpreted as poor flow into the water jug under the test port, was really not an accurate sign of watermaker output since quite a bit of it was going straight to the tank. Case solved.

Starboard tank level rising quickly!

Replacing the test port valves jumped to the top priority, and once corrected we filled our tank in the expected amount of time. In our resulting excitement, we then filled every other empty jug and water bottle we had with fantastically clean tasting water!

To top it all off, power to fill the nearly empty tank was provided to us gratis by our shining sun. 😀

4 thoughts on “Gobs of Water, Water Everywhere!

    1. Our system has an automatic backflush that occurs when you have finished making water. It takes some of the fresh water back from the tank and takes about a minute to complete.

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