The Answer to Unlimited Water

Here is the answer to the previous post!


Rainman Honda


I found the previous post to be a really neat exercise.  The comments and picks from other people were very interesting to me. Especially since I gave the exact options (without telling her my opinion) to Rhonda and she picked the above in 30 seconds. Both of us thought this decision was a “No Brainer”! Yet, %90 of the comments did not agree with our pick. Makes you go Hmmmm…


In any event, here are the reasons why we went down the “Rainman” path.

  1. It provided an efficient backup source for charging our batteries. Since pretty much everything on our boat runs on 12V (even our laptops_, having a way to charge the batteries when the sun is scarce is critical. Sure we already have a 3KW diesel generator but its old, stinky and VERY loud. A smaller option that can be used while making water will be fantastic.
  2. This option did not require an install at all. Sure the Spectra option would have been a fairly easy install “IF” all the wiring and plumbing worked out (never does on a boat). However this option didn’t require any install at all. I just had to find some space to throw the components when they are not in use. Best of all, when I have time, I can install this unit in the same locations as the original.
  3. Support. As Mark pointed out in the comments, once you get out there, you are pretty much on your own until you hit the first world again. For us, that might not happen till New Zealand or Australia (where Rainman head office is). So support was a not really a consideration. Any option I choose would require me to support it, with the help of Fedex!
  4. Delivery time. Cruise RO, Spectra and Rainman all had quick delivery times (3-4 days). The Chinese option would require weeks and if something was missing, then I would be shit out of luck. Bye Bye Chinese option.
  5. Speed.. Although Spectra makes great watermakers and they can be run off solar, they are not anywhere as fast as the 120V ones. I want to be out enjoying the day, not babysitting the watermaker. The Rainman puts out 32 gallons per hour and I’m budgeting 25 gallons a day for my family. That means I can run the Rainman for 3 hours every 3 days and cover our water needs. (Sorry Frank, my friends are telling me they get 30GPH in the Caribbean with the Rainman!)
  6. COST…. I amazed that no one commented on this.. Not only did the Rainman save me $2K (over the Spectra) but it provided me the Honda generator at that price. This is also where the Cruise RO lost out. Although they make a fantastic product with great support, they were a full $500 over the Rainman and did not provide a package with a Honda. One stop shopping is king!

WAIT.. Stop yelling at the computer screen. Yes I know some of you are shocked that I would buy a Honda generator considering I made a living selling direct competition. Why not have my dad send me one of our generators (Boliy). Well my dear readers, this is the one time I will say the Honda is better than the Boliy. Honda generators are made with fasteners and switches that are marine rated. They have been used by at least 10 cruisers I know and have stood the test of time on a boat. I’m out here to cruise, not try and turn a Boliy generator into a marine rated device. If is was an RV, then I wouldn’t even hesitate to have a Boliy, but a boat is not an RV. As my dad will attest to, things rust here in a matter of 1-2 days if not stainless or protected (painted, powder coated, ect). Hell, even 316 stainless will develop surface rust if left without polishing (what most Canadians know as Stainless Steel is actually 18.8 or 304 stainless and NOT marine rated. Although 304/18.4 can be used inside the cabin, it will rust in a matter of weeks outside exposed to salt air). So, Honda it is.


Finally, I would like to throw my opinion out on the comments. I was actually floored that almost all the comments picked the Spectra unit. It was the slowest maker, that cost the most money, but had an easy install. Here is my theory on why so many people picked that option.

First, I think many believed that the Spectra would be the “path of least resistance”. Since it was a “direct” replacement, it should be the easiest/best option. This may have been true if the boat was 5 years newer, but at 11 years old, most of that stuff can no longer be trusted. I’m willing to bet that 1/2 the wiring and ALL the plumbing would not pass a detailed inspection. I would end up doing a complex install for a super expensive slow watermaker.


Second, there seems to be a general accepted rule that you spend more money and you get a better product. Debatable, but this rule is probably %50 true in land based life. However, on a boat, this rule is usually %0 true. In fact, if you are looking at 2 items with the same specs and you buy the more expensive one, then you can be assured you just took a broom handle up the butt without spit. Spectra watermakers are a prime example of this. Their products are overpriced due to a patent they had that allowed them to corner the market on 12V efficient watermakers for the last 15 years. That patent expired a year ago, so hopefully we will see an adjustment in that market soon (gotta love capitalism…. or cheap Chinese copies)!


Anyway.. My new toys arrive tomorrow, but I’m so damn busy I won’t get to play with them until the family arrives (T minus 6 days)!


P.S. One cruiser told me that having unlimited fresh water will ensure I have a “Healthy” marriage on the boat.. IFYOUKNOWWHATIMSAYIN.. Wink wink, nudge nudge!

  12 comments for “The Answer to Unlimited Water

  1. Dean
    March 16, 2016 at 6:45 pm

    Yay, I choice right! I also think you’ll REALLY like the Honda Inverter. Having had both and have direct experience with both, the Honda is much quieter and just as or if not more reliable. Remember that every 3db is a perceived doubling of sound, and the honda will win very much on that accord. When I was using the Boliy at the track, that little bit of extra sound didn’t make a difference. On a smaller area of a boat, it can mean a whole lot of difference. And finally the EU series of inverters still does have legendary honda reliability that many other honda products have lost.

    In the event of an emergency, if you get time, you can still throw the rainmaker and inverter in your dinghy and have fresh water.

    • Dean
      March 16, 2016 at 6:46 pm

      Chose not choice…jeez.

    • travis
      March 16, 2016 at 7:52 pm

      Our new Boliy’s are 2db quieter than the Honda!

      The only weak spot on the Honda is the fuel pump. It has and still is the weak point of Honda generators. I’m contemplating carrying a spare fuel pump.

  2. MizWiz
    March 16, 2016 at 8:21 pm

    After 60 days apart I could care less about the fresh water… Night #1 will be plenty healthy with or without an ample supply of fresh water!! Wink Wink…. Nudge Nudge <3 🙂

  3. Brian
    March 16, 2016 at 11:49 pm

    Yay #2

    (Ditto for door #3 Rainmaker), it looks like I matched up with you on your selection as well.

    What do I win…… 🙂

    Tell you what, we can connect in Australia. My wife insists we spend our 25th Wedding anniversary there (in a couple years) if you are still circumnavigating the globe by then.

  4. March 17, 2016 at 5:28 am

    I thought the Rainman had an integral generator – isn’t it that blue rounded thing in the pic? Why did you need to get another? You can also use your diesel genset to power it if needed?

    • travis
      March 17, 2016 at 10:31 am

      No thats not how the Rainman works.. They offer 3 versions.

      1. Petrol version. The actual high pressure pump is connected to a small Honda motor and run directly from that. No electrical whatsoever!

      2. 110V version. This is pretty much exactly like a Cruise RO but in portable cases. One case for the pressure pump and one case for the membranes. Everything is contained and protected.

      3. 220V version. Exactly the same as the 110V but 220V.

      Although our boat has a 220V generator, we chose the 110V version for a multitude of reasons. Eventually I will wire our boat to be a hybrid with both 220V and 110V on board.

      • March 22, 2016 at 5:46 am

        Ah, I didn’t realize it was mechanically connected to the Honda motor.

        Most gensets can be wired for either 110 or 220 if you want to change yours. Changing between the two is very easy and just involves connecting the taps differently. Changing the frequency is just changing the governed speed.

        • travis
          March 22, 2016 at 5:55 am

          REALLY… I didn’t realize that.. I thought they were purchased in a given voltage and stuck there. Now I have something to research.

          The only worry I have is the wiring. Our boat was wired with European “ring circuits” (used to reduce wire size). Which is weird as they still used what looks like 14 gauge wire. I suppose I could convert to 110V and just leave the 7.5 amp breakers to be on the safe side. I highly doubt we would draw more than 7.5 amps for anything on the boat (no we don’t have a microwave and won’t have one).

          Hhhmm now I have more stuff to think about..

          • March 22, 2016 at 4:41 pm

            What genset do you have?

          • travis
            March 22, 2016 at 5:08 pm

            Its a Mase. I think its a 3.5.

          • March 23, 2016 at 10:00 am

            I don’t know that one specifically, but in general, a 2-pole alternator has two sets of windings giving four taps – call them A1, A2 for winding #1, and B1, B2 for winding #2. They should be accessible in a break out box somewhere – look where the AC power leads go.

            For 240V operation, there will be a jumper between the A2 and B1 taps so that the two windings are connected in series, with the power leads coming off A1 and B2.

            For 120V operation, you would put jumpers between A1,A2 and B1,B2 so that the windings are connected in parallel, with the power leads still coming off A1 and B2.

            You would adjust the frequency up with the throttle screw until it puts out 60hz. If your engine is governed at 3000rpm at 50hz, you would increase it to 3600rpm for 60hz. So you could make this change either using a frequency meter or a timing light or tach.

            This is most likely described in the manual – most small genset alternators are this way.

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