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Old 02-12-2010, 05:22   #1
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Advice, Please, About Electric Toilets

I received unequivocal instructions even before I bought my boat recently, that the first priority was to dump the poxy little manual toilets and replace them with proper full size units. I donít think it is necessary to say who the instructions came from......
I am impressed with the Raritan Elegance low level electric model, coupled to an Electro-scan treatment unit for the back head which doesnít have a holding tank, and running the forward head into itís holding tank, with direct discharge when at sea. This seems to me to be a good compromise for port and sea use for both heads.
I'm also not conserned about having two electric toilets, because I intend to keep the power souces tip-top, and I'm told the modern electric toilets are very reliable - and there's always the bucket.
I actually have little experience of electric heads, so I would really appreciate if anyone has these, or advice about other makes which they think are better. Itís a big expense, but I did make the promiseÖÖ
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Old 02-12-2010, 05:32   #2
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We had 3 electric ones but the rebuild cost was $500. We now have one for the master cabin and the guests pump by hand! When they break I buy a new one for less than $200.
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Old 02-12-2010, 05:59   #3
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You could go for the Raritan PHII electric, which is basically an electric motor attached to the manual flushing mechanism. If for some reason the electric fails (either your supply, or the electric motor), you can revert to manual flushing. Just a little peace of mind. Also, they are available with "household size" bowls.
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Old 02-12-2010, 06:22   #4
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I'd also suggest the Raritan PHIIE. The power requirements aren't excessive and the macerator will grind up almost anything (please note I said almost). The motor looks like it could use some better water protection and the wiring should be carefully installed and sealed, but I've had no problems with mine.

You get used to the convenience of pushing a button rather than having to pump and I think it uses a bit less water so if you're using a holding tank, you might get a bit more usage before having to pump out.
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Old 02-12-2010, 07:12   #5
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I should have mentioned that we have two Raritan PHII's at the moment, but they are the small bowl type. One has the electric attachment but it doesn't work too well and my wife thinks they look cheap. Atually, I don't mind spending a bit on this department, and I thought if we had two new toilets the same it would only need one repair kit.
The Marine Elegance toilets are low line and slopping back, so they will fit into the same space.
Does anyone actually have the Raritan Marine Elegance toilet?
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Old 02-12-2010, 07:22   #6
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We also have two. One electric for the "girls" and one that has been kept manual just in case. FWIW, in the last 10 years the only one we've had difficulty with--albeit reasonably easily corrected--was the manual head.

FWIW...
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Old 02-12-2010, 07:27   #7
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I just installed 4 Raratan SeaEra freshwater toilets and couldn't be happier. They REALLY move the stuff out. They where expensive as I had them professionally installed. Probably about $2000 per toilet in the end. Well worth it for the female guests. And, I like the size of the bowl.
SeaEra Electric Freshwater Marine Head

You have to remember to flush for 10 seconds - otherwise the sewage can leak back into the bowl.
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Old 02-12-2010, 07:39   #8
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I have a composting head. We've had it for a few weeks now, including through some rough passages. The boat has never smelled nicer, it's cheaper than a standard wet system, and (for us) it's been a much better situation. Living aboard and sailing full time for a little over three years now.
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Old 02-12-2010, 07:41   #9
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I replaced my manual head with a Sealand vucflush and love it. 3 years living onboard and not one failure. Repairs are easy if needed as they are fairly simple in design. I use fresh water flush and there is no oder. Over the years I have had lots of heads but this system is by far the best i have had
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Old 02-12-2010, 08:22   #10
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We have 2 electric, full size heads. We love them. They are plumbed to freshwater and are odor free. If plumbing to FW, you would either need a saltwater feed for the Electrosan, or a Purasan. We have friends with Electrosan who love it.

That being said, I'd certainly consider the composting heads...
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Old 02-12-2010, 08:31   #11
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Thanks for your replies so far chaps.
I had considered fresh water toilets, but if you use the Electro Scan with fresh water you have to have the salt water box and cart salt around with you, which I just thought was too complicated, and I only have 250 gallons total anyway.
My experience with saltwater intake toilets has been, provided you keep the pipes clean there need not be any smell anyway. And at least you can pump through as much as you like, knowing you’re not wasting valuable fresh water.
The actual set up I though about would be: Electric Elegance foreward with a Y valve to either the holding tank or directly outside. The aft master cabin with an electric Elegance through an Electro Scan, for marina use, (no holding tank to empty) and a Y valve for direct discharge bypassing the Electro Scan, (saving electricity), when at sea. This would give us two operational toilets in a marina and two direct discharge at sea.
My rough estimate for this little lot is about $2000, including new pipes and a macerator for the holding tank, but I will do the work myself—I just love the smell….
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Old 02-12-2010, 09:32   #12
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Electric Heads and Holding Tanks

One thing to keep in mind is the fact that electric heads do tend to pump water/waste pretty quickly. On our boat I found that the girls tended to run the system rather longer than really necessary which tended to fill the holding tank pretty quickly, mostly with sea water. I calculated the rate of water flow by shutting off the raw-water intake and pouring a measured amount of water into the bowl and timing how long it took to empty. With that, and knowing the sizing and length of lines to the holding tank I was able to estimate, roughly, the time necessary to get a slug of waste to the tank and the hoses cleared--10 seconds of run time--which pretty much solved the problem. Also, we keep a squirt bottle with a mixture of SaltAway and Water in the heads and, once the waste is discharged, add a squirt or two of that to the bowl, which seems to keep the lines clear. We also use that with the forward, manual, head which is connected to a LectraSan waste treatment system without any apparent adverse effect on the LectrSan's operation.

FWIW...
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Old 02-12-2010, 09:50   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sailvayu View Post
... I use fresh water flush and there is no oder. Over the years I have had lots of heads but this system is by far the best i have had
Wayne:
How do you isolate your fresh water supply (I’m presuming “potable”) from your toilet?

On our manual toilet, we did it by using a hand-held shower head (air gap) to flush the toilet (on "dry" bowl).
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Old 02-12-2010, 10:14   #14
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Just a thought: When we redid our blackwater lines, we treated the holding tank and lines with Microtabs - and had an odor free, yuk free project.
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Old 02-12-2010, 11:45   #15
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"The actual set up I though about would be: Electric Elegance foreward with a Y valve to either the holding tank or directly outside. The aft master cabin with an electric Elegance through an Electro Scan, for marina use, (no holding tank to empty) and a Y valve for direct discharge bypassing the Electro Scan, (saving electricity), when at sea. This would give us two operational toilets in a marina and two direct discharge at sea."


FWIW I hate Y valves. They never get operated enough and always end up freezing up, failing, leaking, and making the system more complicated than it needs to be with the need for vented loops and more hose. Run your output from the head straight to the holding tank then set up a pump (manual my preference) to empty the tank through a seacock. Holding tank also should have a deck pump out option.

Also note that many marinas are going to zero discharge meaning the electrosan would not be permitted either. I have 2 sealand vacuflush heads both plumbed to a single holding tank. No odor, very few parts to service. No direct discharge possible. We use a tank monitor and when the tank gets full we either head to sea and pump out ourselves or use the local pumpout facilities. Vacuflush uses very little electrcity and very little fresh water.

Just my opinion but electrosan is a waste of money and is just one more bit of gear to maintain. As alway your mileage may vary.
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