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Now back in clean water, this morning’s first order of business was recommissioning the watermaker. As we knew that we were going to be spending a month in the marina, in water unusable for running it, we pickled (preserved) the watermaker so that nothing nasty would start to grow inside it. Unfortunately, as is often the case where boats are concerned, what should have been easy, starting it back up, ended up having additional drama associated with it.

Some friends we found in the clean water yesterday.

After reinstalling the filters and positioning all of the plumbing valves and seacocks in their proper positions, I flicked the switch to start up the watermaker’s 12 volt DC boost pump. Instead of being greeted with the whurring noise that the pump normally produces, I was presented with silence, not what I wanted to have happen. What followed was a bout of troubleshooting, both electrical and mechanical. In the middle of that, I contacted one of the local chandleries and found out that, even though the pump in question is listed in their catalog, they do not have a replacement on the island. Typical.

The frustrating part of this entire ordeal is that I ended up completely disconnecting the pump and removing it from the locker. After doing so, and bringing it inside the boat, I once again applied power to it (I have a 12V cigarette lighter adapter with alligator clamps on the wires for troubleshooting scenarios just like this). Guess what? It worked! Why? I have no idea. My only guess is that perhaps my moving the pump around might have dislodged it if it had gotten stuck from a month of disuse (things that move on a boat need to be kept moving). I don’t know, that’s my only guess. I will however take Yes for an answer so I reassembled the pump, brought it back into the locker where the watermaker is located and reconnected it. Now, all is well. Both the pump and the watermaker are working, and fresh, clean water is now filling our tanks. JADIP (Just Another Day In Paradise).


  1. Always beat on it a little before anything else! 😉

  2. I’ve been reading Beth Leonard’s The Voyager’s Handbook. She doesn’t like watermakers. But then she’s not trying to entertain people on vacation either!

  3. 4 years ago I pulled the fridge on our PDQ 32 (definitely some bumping), decide the disassembly was more than I had in mind at the moment, and pushed it back in, to deal with later. Didn’t even undo any connections.

    Working fine ever since!

    Either connections, or if it is a brush-type motor, the brushes got hung up (common around salt–also the most common outboard starter problem).

  4. Mike, I am a Pool contractor and experience that type of failure often. When a pump is off for a while and perhaps winterized, whirlpool bath pumps, spa pumps etc. the shaft may get a little rust or calcium build up and this may prevent the pump from running, but you will hear a humm and maybe the circuit breaker will trip.

    In fact for example, I can take a pair of channel locks and grasp the shaft of a 1 hp electric swimming pool motor and it will not turn why? Motors use to pump water do not have much torque and cannot overcome much resistance, these shafts have a cut out on the end and using a screwdriver a little turn and woohoo freedom.

    I am not familiar with the design/install configuration you have but if you could try the above before a major removal it would mean painkillers a little earlier.

    Steven 🙂

  5. Hi Mike in future anything with a motor that does not work as expected, give the fan on opposite end a turn by hand or nudge with a screw driver to ensure it will turn. It does not take much corrosion / gunk etc to stop it from starting to turn.

  6. I like your aquatic friends.

  7. As I’ve always said, “Somebody has to do it,” might as well be you!

  8. Just wanted to thank you for all the updates. Nice to hear the tales and tribulauions.

  9. Congratulations, you just discovered one of television magicians greatest secrets.
    You know how they tell u to get something that hasn’t worked in years, put it on the TV set and then they fix it using mind power?
    That’s how it works.its a numbers game. Out of say a million viewers 2% actually do this?
    Out of these 2% there are 2% whose problem is some old dust bug stuck in the works that falls out? So you have 400 people calling in hysterics about how their grandads watch suddenly began ticking after 200 years thanks to said magician’s powers!

    Hee hee 🙂

  10. It often helps to turn the rotor by hand if you can. Or give it a firm tap with a soft hammer with the power switched on.

    Not a perfect answer, but it can free a slightly sticky rotor or one that has stopped at the wrong point. Though that should not apply with the way motors are wound these days.


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