Water Water Everywhere

Full time living and cruising on a boat is an amazing experience. It is also a lot of work! You’re often far away from any help so when things break, you have to know how to fix them and things break all the time.

Sabado is self sufficient. We make our own power and water, deal with our sewer systems, and use wind or diesel to move. We are responsible for gathering weather data, safely navigating, ensuring we don’t move when at anchor, and staying afloat. At all times, it seems like nature is out to stop us from succeeding. The ocean is a harsh environment.

So far, we’ve only had one real problem area, our diesel generator. We have a 9kw Paguro generator that is used to provide us with 110v AC electricity. The generator, in addition to our 2000 watt power inverter is how we run anything that needs power other than 12V DC such as the watermaker, clothes washer, or air conditioning.

You get used to the heat and clothes can be washed by hand so the critical equipment that the generator powers is the watermaker that turns the saltwater of the ocean into fresh drinking water. Unfortunately, this Paguro generator has caused issues from day 1.

We have always gotten it to run and have never run out of water but we had enough issues and the dealer, working under the warranty, could not seem to solve the issue so we needed a plan. I considered replacing the generator with a different brand but I really hated running an engine if I didn’t have to. Since the watermaker was the only critical piece of equipment that needed the generator I decided to replace it with a unit that could run from 12 volt batteries.

This was not an easy decision since the watermaker that came with the boat worked perfectly and a 12 volt replacement would cost as much as a new generator but that was what needed to be done to remove the worry of being stranded without drinking water. So, out with the old (perfectly working) 110 volt watermaker and in with the new Spectra 340C 12 volt watermaker.

I have to say, writing the check was painful but this was a great decision. The new watermaker is nearly silent, is 100% powered by the solar panels and it works perfectly. We push a button and it fills our tanks. We did need to do some battery upgrades that I’ll talk about later but that was needed anyway.

I will be rewiring the washing machine outlet to work off the inverter instead of the generator so that will mean that the generator is only needed to run the air-condition or the AC battery chargers (never need these).

As an aside, after six months of working on the generator, last week I found the issue and after talking with the manufacturer about it, it seems to now be fixed. It would be great to be able to remove the generator and open up that space so we’ll see what the future holds for Mr. Generator.

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