One year of water making. Katadyn PowerSurvivor.

A year ago today, our Katadyn PowerSurvivor 40E water maker was finally working. Since then it has produced almost all the water we use. I write “almost” as we are not averse to collecting rain water – mainly for washing and cleaning.

A year ago today, our Katadyn PowerSurvivor 40E water maker was finally working. Since then it has produced almost all the water we use. I write “almost” as we are not averse to collecting rain water – mainly for washing and cleaning.

We spent a week away from the boat when we cycled in the Andes but other than that we have been living on board all year. In those 358 days we have produced nearly 4000 liters of water and have given away about 350 liters, so on average we use about ten liters a day. By pre-washing ourselves, our clothes and our dishes in salt water, we manage to live comfortably with that.

The system uses about 60 watts of electrical power and we run it only from wind and solar power. Unlike many of our neighbours, we never have to run our diesel motor or a petrol generator to produce electricity. The water maker is a good “energy puffer”; on days with too much power we can produce more water and on overcast, windless days, less.

The water quality has been good all year. We have regularly given the Seenomaden water and, after over twenty years at sea, they still say it is the best water they have tasted. We have a measuring device which always claimed our water had less than 300 parts per million (ppm) of salt in it. SY Mikado’s meter measured far less so we are not sure of the real value but our guess is an average of about 180 ppm.

Until now (touch wood) the system has run with no problems. We wash out and dry the two pre-filters every few days and occasionally lubricate the piston shafts as per the manual. We have seen black oily leaks from the piston shaft but they are irregular. We asked technical support for suggestions what it could be but received a standard “take it to a dealer” answer. Katadyn still do not appreciate how big the oceans are and how limited their dealer network is in the middle of the Pacific.

We bought a water maker to increase our freedom and that is exactly what it has done. If we want to stay a month on a dry coral reef, that is what we do. If it takes 54 days to cross an ocean, we still arrive with a full water tank. When the neighbours need water, no problem! We always have pure clean water and therefore a meal and a cup of coffee.

Technical bit. The PowerSurvivor has produced an average of 5.40 liters per hour during the last year. The flow rate is dependent on the battery voltage varying between 5.2 (under 12.8V) and 5.7 (above 14V). We have a pre-pump installed below the water line which can pump about 170 liters an hour through the pre-filters.

6 thoughts on “One year of water making. Katadyn PowerSurvivor.”

  1. Hi.

    I just installed a Katadyn PowerSurvivor 40E on our J/111. Really like it but we have a hard time getting water without air bubbles. So I need to install a small “pre-tank” where air can escape.

    What pre-pump are you using?

    1. Hello Peter,
      we have the pre-pump that was included in the Silt Reduction Kit Part # 8012859 It ran perfectly until a few months ago when the outlet developed a leak. I cobbled a fix together on a Pacific atoll and hope to change it the next few weeks. I don’t have the part number and am currently locked in a hotel in quarantine. Send me an email and I’ll get back to you when we are on the boat.

      We have also decided that we need an “air extractor” before the PowerSurvivor which will catch any air.
      My thoughts are to mount it above the water maker with the inlet at the top and the outlet at the bottom and a air release valve at the top.
      I would love to work together with you on a design.

      1. Good morning Neill.Very interesting.I wish to install a second prefilter to my system but not buying the kit from Katadyn as it is very expensive.Can you please confirm that the pump you use is a 170l/h pump? and did you installed a air vacuum pack above the wm itself?I look forward to reading you.Thanks in advance.K.R.

        1. Hello Claude,
          The water maker has been switched off for the last two years as we have been sailing the coast of Australia and you can get water everywhere. When we arrived in Australia we had it completely serviced and the membrane replaced as it started to make bad water (high PPM again). This was the second new membrane and no one can tell us what we are doing to them We follow the instructions perfectly.

          We reactivated it last week to be sure that everything is working before we leave for Indonesia next month. It is currently working without the pre-pump as we need to repair that. It is currently making water with less than 180 ppm.

          The pre-pump runs at 170 l/h when it is pushing water through the two filters.

          The air catcher is not installed because we have not been anywhere to build it. But tomorrow we are entering a marina in Darwin and it is on the list. I will keep you updated.

  2. I have an old power survivor 40 e. Recently I changed all the seals, membrane, new piston and new cleaner. The unit didn’t work, I put back the old membrane and it’s ok but PPM is too high more than 1000.
    Any idea.

    1. Hello Michael,

      I am not the expert but these are my thoughts.
      You have a brand new membrane that does not work? You mean it made no water or just salt water?
      But with an old Membrane you get >1000 ppm.

      You have done the “bucket test” to ensure that there are no bubbles coming in?

      Let me have some more info and we can talk.
      Maybe a Zoom chat?


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