Big Bang Theory

Not a Ferrari more like an early Ducati, you pray that it will start!
Not a Ferrari more like an early Ducati, you pray that it will start!

If you haven’t seen the show called the Big Bang Theory then you may not be familiar with the characters or the plot where four young men, actually I think that’s four young nerdy men, try to understand the beginning of time whilst attempting to find female companionship, all with some very funny outcomes. Well my blog has nothing to do with the show except for the title. My deal revolves around our watermaker.

It’s a Selmar brand Italian watermaker which should say it all! On first inspection the unit didn’t look too healthy and so the fall back position was a new one. But a man needs a challenge!! A little ferreting about found the power fuse to the unit inside the control box so I guess that the unit had not been used any time recently. Once having installed said fuse we discovered that the feeder pump pushing the salt water from the through hull just didn’t cut it, so we replaced it. Sadly we replaced it with a new version of the same unit and …… it didn’t cut it. So off went an email to the Italian factory:

My question was, “what brand and specification does the feeder pump need to be?”

The Italians answered,

Dear Bruce,

We can supply you the original booster pump, it has to be power supply by a dedicated sea cock and it has to be located the most close to it. Here below our best offer, you’ll receive inside the box a copy of the user’s guide.”

Okay, so we still don’t know what the brand or specifications are but they will sell us the right pump and yes the users guide would be helpful as I have no god damn idea how the system works. Hang on a second let’s google this! Ah ha I’ve discovered a great site about building my OWN watermaker, bugger the Italian’s. Can’t understand why, but Di looks slightly troubled by this idea, so back to the Italians I go.

We received the new pump and sure enough it worked and we had water coming into the watermaker. Sadly there was no user guide inside the box so I had no idea of the pressure gauge settings, and the high pressure gauge wasn’t working. Pushing the on button didn’t quite sound like a Ferrari but hey it’s working, dial in the pressure to get water out and away we go. Not long into the exercise there is a bang which is quickly followed by a second bang and then the over pressure light comes on and the unit shuts down. Uh Oh.

Back to the Italians. Question: “When we ran the unit we heard two short bangs one after the other then the high pressure light came on and the unit shut down. Can you offer any suggestions as to what might have happened?”

“Dear Bruce,

Thank you for your kind reply but we have not well understand. Did you get the previous mail with our question? Have you done all the suggested operations? Did you reset through the stop and than restart the plant? What happened after having restarted the plant? Is the electric motor working or not? Did you adjust the operating pressure at 50/60 bar? Doesn’t it go in pressure?”

“Kindly carefully reply to our question in order to better understand and assist you.”

My reply:

“Thank you, yes I have read your previous email and have done as suggested. Has anyone come up with a suggestion or a theory as to the big bang whilst the unit was running?”

“Dear Bruce,

Thank you for your kind mail of reply. With the present we’re going to send you our best offer for the spare parts you need to be replaced. The noise could be the lack of input water and so the pump cavitation or maybe the damage of the same, we invite you to replace the part and then, we’ll state the matter:”

State what matter? I just want to know what the hell the big bang was! Mama Mia!!

Of course the factory had a great reply for me:

Dear Mr. Bruce,

The black pipes below the unit are the housing of the membranes. Can you please send us the sound registration of this noise? One full video clip can help us for our diagnosis.”

Geez, all I wanted was water now I’m in the video production business?! The “how to build your own watermaker” is looking more and more appealing….

4 Replies to “Big Bang Theory”

  1. Hi Bruce,
    I don’t know if you fixed this yet but, bugger the Italians. It’s a very basic watermaker and you should be able to figure it out from “how to build a watermaker”. That’s the way to go! You might not even need the control box, just a couple of switches. It looks like it should work; but if the membrane was sitting unpickled for months, if not years, you’ll need a new one. The place to buy membranes is

    Buona fortuna.

    1. Thanks Jeff, have got it going and it does produce good water. We may still need to buy new membranes so will follow up on your lead. Still waiting for one more classic email from the Italians.
      Cheers, Bruce.

  2. Hi Bruce,
    Sounds a little bit like Faulty Towers from the Italians. I’m sure you hold your breath before you read their reply. How to build your own watermaker sounds a good solution. Debbie.

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