No survival kit or life raft should be without a Katadyn Survivor hand-held watermaker. Compact, lightweight, and easy to operate, these units will supply emergency drinking water to help prevent dehydration or even loss of life. Product Description: By pressurizing seawater to psi, then forcing the water through a semipermeable membrane, this unit eliminates Takes up less space and weighs less than three pints of canned water, yet produces enough water to keep a person hydrated in one hour or six gallons daily—enough to hydrate up to 24 people indefinitely! The smallest hand-operated emergency desalinator in the world.
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As a yacht owner, and a safety fanatic a good thing for boat owners he brought up how easy it is to desalinate water with fairly simple equipment, in his case, a Katadyn PowerSurvivor 80E.
Our conversation quickly turned from Hurricane Sandy to the different products available to desalinate water, and how much difference it would make around the world if people had access to products like those made by Katadyn. Needless to say, the next few hours were spent with me asking him a barrage of questions about the Katadyn unit on-board his yacht. Afterwards, I really wanted to research this method of making pure water, and this review is the result of that conversation and the followup research I did.
The first thing I found out, when it comes to small and affordable portable desalinators, there is only a small number of leading manufacturers, Katadyn, Spectra Watermakers and Ampac. Katadyn desalinators can easily be purchased online, they are fairly simple to install, and reasonably affordable. They offer 5 models which includes the one that I feel is extremely versatile, the Katadyn PowerSurvivor 40E.
The other 5 models have their merits, but the are either manually operated or electronically operated. I will go over these ones very briefly before I dig into the PowerSurvivor 40E. It is the most recommended desalinator for personal life rafts by the US Coast Guard. Salt rejection is The most widely-used emergency desalinator by the US and international military forces, voyagers, sea kayakers, and other adventurers. It weights 35 lbs and salt rejection is It weights 36 lbs and salt rejection is This is important, especially when considering a portable desalinator.
The Katadyn 06 and Survivor 35 or both manually operated and require a lot of work to produce a small amount of water, but they do not require power and are portable. The other two models, the PowerSurvivor 80E and E are 2 piece units, they are larger, heavier and both require power with no way to operate them manually — this does not make them a good option for a portable desalinator.
If you are not familiar with this process, just Google it — there is tons of information online so there is no point in me trying to explain the process here and getting sidetracked. That said, have a look at the video below, although it is for a standard home based system, it is very good at explaining the Reverse Osmosis process… Personally, when it comes to filtering fresh water not sea water , I think Reverse Osmosis is a huge waste of water.
However, for salt water, it is the perfect solution. In large scale operations, I would think the waste water brine could be stored in large reservoirs and allow nature to evaporate the water leaving the sea salt which may have other uses not sure.
This feature ensures that you will never be stuck, and when you have power, can produce a good volume of water, 1. As you can see, the unit is neither heavy or large, and it is a one piece unit which makes it easier to transport if required. Power consumption is low enough to make solar power a practical source but you could also rig this unit up to run from a vehicle. To date, most installation have been on yachts, but that is only because few people have considered using the ocean as a source for fresh water land dwellers that is — primarily due to the high cost of these units in the past.
The other reason is technology, affordable and reliable desalinators in a portable size have not been available until the last decade, especially in the sizes and price range offered by Katadyn. First is the size and second is the power draw. It can even be run directly from a battery previously charged via solar power or other charging source, however, the length of time the unit will run will depend on the battery size, age, quality and environmental factors.
The size and weight 25 lbs of the PowerSurvivor 40E is relatively small, You could easily outfit this unit in a Pelican Case strong, airtight case used by the military and other organizations with all parts, hoses and maintenance supplies inclusive. Regardless of what type of case you purchase, make sure it has room for all these supplies, including the pre-filter assembly.
You can view the PowerSurvivor 40E manuals I have provided further down the page to figure out what will work for the application you intend to use, and where. What You Need To Know: Whether it is a Katadyn desalinator or any other brand, you have to be careful with the quality of sea water entering the unit.
The Katadyn PowerSurvivor 40E comes with a 30 micron pre-filter assembly to remove silt and other contaminants from entering the unit. For really poor quality sea water, Katadyn Recommends using their 5 micron pre-filter assembly.
Using a pre-filter is a must to ensure years of trouble-free use with any of the Katadyn desalinators. Katadyn systems are configured to recover and effectively re-use the energy wasted in conventional reverse osmosis. By recovering this energy, Katadyn PowerSurvivor desalinators use less energy making them one of the best choices for portable and remote desalinators. The PowerSurvivor 40E watermaker utilizes a low-volume, high-pressure, positive displacement pump.
Unlike the centrifugal pumps found in some systems, a positive displacement pump is self-priming. It can also draw water when located several feet above the waterline. Thus, the PowerSurvivor 40E can be operated in almost any location and orientation — you do not have to be right at the water line or sea level for the unit to function properly.
In addition to desalination, the Reverse Osmosis process removes bacteria, parasites, viruses and other dangerous contaminants — See manuals below for additional specs. That said, there are a few key points to consider.
Always use the pre-filter assembly, no matter how clean the water looks. Parts are not easy to find anywhere but on the Katadyn website. Lots of vendors sell the main units, few carry parts — This is says a lot in respect to the quality of Katadyn systems — no one carries parts because they are seldom needed and it is not worthwhile for these 3rd party vendors to carry stock.
Visit Katadyn Parts directly if you need anything in the future — Note: do not buy the main unit at Katadyn, they are much more expensive than elsewhere. Overall, as long as you are careful choosing a clean source of water and make sure you use the pre-filter system, maintenance of a Katadyn desalinator is minimal compared to other brands. I encourage you to read the manuals below and you will see what I am talking about. If you will be using the katadyn PowerSurvivor 40E or the 80E, E in a remote location, it would be wise to consider buying their extended mainatenance kit.
These kits are only available on the Katadyn website under parts and accessories. Additional Information — PowerSurvivor 40E Manuals: I always think it is a good idea if possible to read the owners manual for products before I buy them, especially if the price warrants careful consideration.
Below are links to the 2 manuals available for the PowerSurvivor 40E.
Katadyn Pur Watermakers
Katadyn Survivor 06 Desalinator Watermaker (mrod-06-ll-1) on 2040-parts.com