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Old 09-06-2012, 09:13   #1
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Electric Toilet

Excuse my ignorance on the subject, but Google has let me down on this occasion...

I've only ever cruised on sailing yachts with manual heads, however I would much rather prefer something resembling 'proper' toilets if I was to buy my own boat. I've seen plenty of ads for electric toilets online and read through a few chats on here, but I am a bit confused as I assumed electric toilets were essentially 'proper' (i.e. they can take toilet paper), yet a number of threads suggest this is not the case.

Firstly why do most yachts not have more modern facilities in 2012 (I assume there must be an obvious reason, that in my limited experience I am not aware of)?

Also, does an electric toilet mean toilet paper can be flushed?

Many thanks in advance...
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Old 09-06-2012, 09:29   #2
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Re: Electric Toilet

Electric marine toilets are not simiar to household toilets. They are regular marine toilets with the pumping process electrified. So they are not that much different. Most of them will macerate the waste before it's pumped out, and I think that should tend to reduce the incidence of clogs. Both manual and electric marine toilets CAN handle a small amount of toilet paper -- you just have to be very careful.

I have been using one electric toilet on board my boat for three years. Knock on wood, it has never clogged, although I've had a variety of other problems with it. I like it enough that I just converted my forward heads to electric, so now both toilets on board are electric.

I did have a horrible clog with one manual toilet on board which substantially spoiled a week of my summer cruise two years ago. Would the electric have clogged under the same circumstances? I can't be sure, but electric maceration must surely reduce the likelihood of clogs.

Do I recommend electric toilets on board? Yes. My experience may not be very typical -- my toilets are all Jabsco. Both manual and electric have given me a lot of trouble. I tried but failed to convert to a different type, but due to access beneath the floor in my heads I had to stick with Jabsco. Altogether the electric Jabsco is much better than the manual one.

One disadvantage of the manual one was that it required a huge amount of effort to flush. Perhaps because I have quite high anti-siphon loops. So a big advantage of the electric is that, not only are you spared the bicep-burning labor of flushing, people are much more likely to flush all the way through with plenty of clean sea water, which prevents a number of problems in itself.

But on my last boat I had a non-Jabsco manual toilet (can't remember the type), and it was quite acceptable. The boat was smaller and the anti-siphon loop shorter; that probably played a role. But that toilet had a lever, rather than just a plunger like that Jabsco. That probably also played a role in lower effort and better efficiency.
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Old 09-06-2012, 09:30   #3
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Re: Electric Toilet

There are a whole lot of different types of electric marine toilets that are more home toilet like than the manual toilets. I believe the problems you hear about toilet paper are mostly caused by badly designed systems (toilet, hose, tank, vent, etc.) and by people simply not flushing long enough to clear the hose. All marine toilets are designed to flush TP. The problems come from long hose runs and short flushes. If you want to get into specific toilets you will need to tell us more about the boat and your budget.
This book is a really good place to get an education on marine sanitation systems: Get Rid of Boat Odors by Peggie Hall
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Old 09-06-2012, 09:36   #4
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Re: Electric Toilet

Currently I don't own a boat, was more a case of thinking ahead for the future. But that is useful information so far, many thanks.

I guess with regards to charters, there is no way of telling how good the toilet facilities are ahead of time!
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Old 09-06-2012, 09:50   #5
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Re: Electric Toilet

Slowly marine heads are improving. There are several good ones that have appeared in the last five years or so.

Mine is a Raritan Marine Elegance. It's been going for three years of seasonal live aboard without any maintenance or a clog. Toilet paper in any quantity seems to be no problem for the macerator. It's made of china like a home toilet with an oval seat comfortable enough to read the Sunday newspaper.

My favorite feature is that it flushes with less water than any head I've owned (and I've own many). This really stretches the time between pump outs when you aren't offshore.

Carl
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Old 09-06-2012, 21:59   #6
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Re: Electric Toilet

" I tried but failed to convert to a different type, but due to access beneath the floor in my heads I had to stick with Jabsco."

Dockhead, Did you try using a Raritan Sea Era conversion kit? It's designed as a drop in replacement for the Jabsco 37010 series. It's quiter and Peggie Hall says it's more reliable. The mounting holes match those of the Jabsco. You don't need to buy a whole new toilet. You just buy the conversion kit and reuse the Jabsco bowl. That really keeps shipping costs down. Sea Era Conversion Kit - 16LI012
You should read Peggie's book if you haven't already: Get Rid of Boat Odors by Peggie Hall
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Old 14-06-2012, 08:38   #7
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Re: Electric Toilet

I never hear of anyone mentioning them in the US, but I had Tecma Electric Heads on my last boat and I am in the midst of converting my current boat with them again.

They are distributed by Thetford in the US.

Unfortunately I don't have the space for the "Silence Plus" that I had on my last boat on this boat, so no optional bidet. I will be installing the EasyFit this time.

Here's the link to the Silence Plus

Tecma // Products > Toilets > Silence Plus > Overview
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Old 14-06-2012, 13:22   #8
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Re: Electric Toilet

Quote:
Originally Posted by HopCar View Post
" I tried but failed to convert to a different type, but due to access beneath the floor in my heads I had to stick with Jabsco."

Dockhead, Did you try using a Raritan Sea Era conversion kit? It's designed as a drop in replacement for the Jabsco 37010 series. It's quiter and Peggie Hall says it's more reliable. The mounting holes match those of the Jabsco. You don't need to buy a whole new toilet. You just buy the conversion kit and reuse the Jabsco bowl. That really keeps shipping costs down. Sea Era Conversion Kit - 16LI012
You should read Peggie's book if you haven't already: Get Rid of Boat Odors by Peggie Hall
I bought them from you, in fact!

But they are most definitely not a "drop in replacement" for the Jabsco. The hoses are in different places, and the mounting bolts are very different. The only thing which is "drop in" is the bowl. Without access from below, they can't be fitted. So I'm back to Jabsco junk

The good news, at least, is that the forward toilet is now electric. The Jabsco electric is worlds better than the Jabsco "Arnold Schwarzenegger Special" Jabsco manual.
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Old 14-06-2012, 13:36   #9
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Re: Electric Toilet

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Originally Posted by vjmehra View Post
Also, does an electric toilet mean toilet paper can be flushed?
...
My last boat had a older design electric toilet and it flushed toilet paper just fine!

My current boat has cheap manual toilets and it flushes toilet paper just fine!

I'm sure that it I tried hard enough I could have gotten either to clog!
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Old 14-06-2012, 14:09   #10
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Re: Electric Toilet

I read somewhere I think it was the vacuflush site that said not to use toilet paper that had been chemically treated to create strength against moisture such as Charmin as this would not macerate/disintegrate and would cause blockages. Since then I always look for a paper that almost instantly disintegrates when wet.
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Old 14-06-2012, 14:27   #11
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Re: Electric Toilet

We have jabsco electric heads on board. We use regular Scott single ply tissue. It's muuuuuuch cheaper than marine tp and we never have any issues.

We did have 1 problem with the electric head. We had a solenoid go bad, which would not completely shut off the flow of water to the bowl. Since we have fresh water flush, it was draining the fresh water tank. So I shut off the water going to the head and we just manually flushed (ie, pitcher of water) until we got back from the cruise and could replace it.

Scott
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Old 14-06-2012, 21:34   #12
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Re: Electric Toilet

Dockhead, I remember now. Those are the ones we sent to England. I'm sorry they didn't work out for you. If you want to return them I'll be glad to issue a refund.
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Old 14-06-2012, 21:52   #13
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Re: Electric Toilet

I have an electric TMC on one side and a manual Jabsco on the other.
The TMC had a blockage when some guests overloaded it with paper but it thankfully cleared after a bit of running.
The Jabsco works OK but requires the usual effort, I was advised to keep one manual toilet for back up but I have another TMC which will go in when I have the the time and I clear all the other jobs on the to do list.
The TMCs are made in Taiwan and look like better quality than the new Jabscos which I think are now made in China like everything else.
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