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Old 23-06-2016, 07:44   #1
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Electric flush head with manual option?

Howdy Folks,

The more time my wife and I spend aboard, the more we're curious about electric flush head options. I'd say that neither of us is completely sold on the idea yet, but there are definitely days or late nights when others are sleeping that we wish we had another option. My biggest concern is that I don't like the idea of being reliant on electrical power to flush. Technically we have two heads, and will definitely leave one manual or possibly convert to a composter but for the sake of this discussion let's assume we're talking a single head.

Is there a good reliable option out there for electric flush that allows for manual flushing if needed?
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Old 23-06-2016, 09:10   #2
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Re: Electric flush head with manual option?

Is there a good reliable option out there for electric flush that allows for manual flushing if needed?

Only option is a manual toilet to which a motor can be added...the only ones are the Raritan PHII and the Groco Model K, both of which are outstanding manual toilets. However, adding a motor to either one turns it into a horrible excuse for an electric toilet. Why? Because the motor only replaces the pump handle. The pump is still a manual pump that--unlike macerating electric toilets--still requires all the maintenance needed by a manual toilet. In fact it needs even more because the motor pumps the toilet much faster, and with a much shorter stroke than pumping manually, which causes it to take longer to prime. So unless you’re scrupulous about always keeping the toilet properly lubricated, that wears out the rubber o-rings etc much faster...and also causes the toilet to "choke" on flushes that deliberate pumping manually can push through. It also has a higher amperage draw than most electric toilets and the total cost for the toilet plus motor is also considerably higher than a top quality electric macerating toilet. I know a lot of people who've added a motor and then wished they hadn't, who've opted to disconnct it again permanently and put the pump handle back on.

But for some reason sailors want to have it both ways--the "push button convenience" of an electric toilet that can be converted to manual in the event of a catastrophic power failure. But there's no REAL advantage to that, because if you don't even have enough power to flush an electric toilet, you don't have enough to run navigation equipment, lights, communication equipment or anything else that needs power either, but you DO still have a bucket and a line to drop it overboard! So whether you can flush a toilet or have to resort to using the bucket is the LEAST of your worries! So if you want a manual toilet, both the Raritan PH II and the Groco Model K are excellent choices...but if you want an electric toilet, go with one that's designed to be an electric toilet from the ground up, don't ruin an excellent manual toilet by putting a motor on it.
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Old 23-06-2016, 11:45   #3
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Re: Electric flush head with manual option?

Bummer, I was afraid that was going to be the answer. I haven't had much luck in my research for good options.

We'll likely just stay with the manual options we currently have.
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Old 23-06-2016, 13:15   #4
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Re: Electric flush head with manual option?

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Bummer, I was afraid that was going to be the answer. I haven't had much luck in my research for good options. We'll likely just stay with the manual options we currently have.
Why not give it a try by upgrading the most used toilet to electric? Marine toilets, manual and electric, vary in quality/durability. So you want the one that has the best reputation for a long trouble-free life with minimal maintenance. And that would be the Raritan SeaEra. Raritan SeaEra You can cut the price by going with the "conversion" (everything but the bowl sea and lid), which allows you to re-use your existing ones. SeaEra Conversion Kit The sea water version is a bit noisy, but not as noisy as others...the pressurized fresh water version is very quiet. Average flush of either version uses 2 litres or less.
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Old 24-06-2016, 09:20   #5
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Re: Electric flush head with manual option?

I have the Raritan PEII, it quickly coverts from electric to manual, I love it!
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Old 24-06-2016, 09:37   #6
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Re: Electric flush head with manual option?

I agree with Peggie about the manual / electric toilets, electric add on's are a waste of money.

You mention wanting another option while others are sleeping. If noise is the concern look for a toilet that has a remote supply pump. I believe the Sea Era recommended by Peggie is available with a remote pump.

The intake pump makes most of the noise and putting it somewhere other than in the head goes a long way to reducing noise.

If you decide to buy an electric toilet, I would love the opportunity to quote you on what ever you choose.
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Old 24-06-2016, 10:12   #7
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Re: Electric flush head with manual option?

Hello, My boat came with a Raitan PH II, in 48 hours the novelty of the electric motor wore off. Disonnected it, The only reason I can imagine to re connect, would be a partner who really dislikes manual pumps.
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Old 24-06-2016, 10:17   #8
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Re: Electric flush head with manual option?

I believe the Sea Era recommended by Peggie is available with a remote pump.

That would be the SeaEra model 162 HRO 1200
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Old 24-06-2016, 16:20   #9
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Re: Electric flush head with manual option?

Quote:
Originally Posted by peghall View Post
[I]

But for some reason sailors want to have it both ways--the "push button convenience" of an electric toilet that can be converted to manual in the event of a catastrophic power failure. But there's no REAL advantage to that, because if you don't even have enough power to flush an electric toilet, you don't have enough to run navigation equipment, lights, communication equipment or anything else that needs power either
[/FONT]
I have only had the experince of my Jabasco. Always reliable, but always so damn loud. But at least with my experience with the Jabasco I don't need a catastrophic power failure for my head not to work. The power only has to drop to 11volts and it won't come on at all. Where as all my instruments/lights/radios work. So, to have a manual ability for those times would be 'nice' to have.

For the OP, if it's the noise that you want to stop, then we two heads I think your problem is easily resolved. Have one electric and one manual problem solved.
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Old 24-06-2016, 16:34   #10
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Re: Electric flush head with manual option?

manual option 99cents for a plastic bucket from the supermarket / pick one with a wide top as they are more comfortable when reading / can add green chem to comply with government regulations / not sure how long to dwell before emptying over the side to qualify as a holding tank
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Old 24-06-2016, 22:39   #11
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Re: Electric flush head with manual option?

A bucket.
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Old 24-06-2016, 23:01   #12
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Re: Electric flush head with manual option?

We were in the same boat, no pun intended, as you. We were more interested in not having to use raw water to flush to cut down on smells etc. we ultimately chose the Raritan Marine Elegance. While at the boat show in Annapolis about a year and a half ago I asked all of the different manufactures why I should buy their toilet. The best answer I got was from Raritan. He said their toilet was so reliable they didn't even have a repair kit available. So far he has been right. Almost two years of flawless operation, also no smells and the bowl stays as clean as a toilet in your land based home. It does use a fair amount of water but we have plenty of freshwater tankage, over 800liters, and a water maker. We have a modest house bank and a 520 watt solar array and have never run out of juice. It is our primary head but we still have and use our old jabsco manual head in the aft cabin. I have had to perform way more maintenance on the manual head than the electric. Good luck on your decision.

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Old 24-06-2016, 23:22   #13
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Re: Electric flush head with manual option?

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Originally Posted by peghall View Post
Is there a good reliable option out there for electric flush that allows for manual flushing if needed?

[FONT=&quot]Only option is a manual toilet to which a motor can be added...the only ones are the Raritan PHII and the Groco Model K, both of which are outstanding manual toilets. However, adding a motor to either one turns it into a horrible excuse for an electric toilet. Why? Because the motor only replaces the pump handle. The pump is still a manual......
Not quite true. The Lavac is a manual toilet that can be used with an electric pump. The manual pump stays in place and can be used if desired. It is also the most reliable manual toilet available as it doesn't have all the flapper valves etc that the Jabsco, Raritan et all heads have that cause so much trouble. The seats have seals and the pump is a diaphram pump mounted externally. The manual and electric pump are installed in series as shown below.

It is a very popular head among offshore cruisers as there is so little to fail.

Lavac Popular
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Old 25-06-2016, 00:07   #14
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Re: Electric flush head with manual option?

Not a single issue or failure in nearly five years with our two Jabsco electric heads. We keep a spare motor on hand.

Hand pump heads... needed to rebuild both of them on our previous boat during the 20 months we owned the boat. That was a hassle and dirty job. The electric heads are easy to just replace the motor, and there's less of a chance for a clog since the pump chops everything up prior to it entering the waste hoses.
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Old 25-06-2016, 07:28   #15
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Re: Electric flush head with manual option?

HOW could I have forgotten about the Lavac! Mea culpa!
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