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Old 19-03-2011, 20:18   #1
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Head pump tripped electrical? Not working

This morning our head pump was working as if it hadn't been fully flushed or not flushed properly, and then we heard a pop like a circut breaker flipping or a fuse popping. But we've looked and see nothing amiss in the breaker box or elsewhere. Does anyone have any suggestions/ideas for why we lost electricity on the boat? The head pump seemed to be working overtime to sort itself out then we lost power on half the boat.

We have a Marine Trader, the pump is a vaccu flush model number 806.

Any advice appreciated...
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Old 19-03-2011, 20:24   #2
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Re: Head pump tripped electrical? Not working

A large fuse? (fusible link)

Breakers have to be "reset" sometimes. Throw further ON > OFF > ON again.
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Old 19-03-2011, 20:30   #3
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Re: Head pump tripped electrical? Not working

We aren't finding any large fuses...he looked in the engine room...should he be looking somewhere for else for fuses?

Will ask if he did the circuit breaker on off thing. What do you mean by "further" on off on again...is that one of the circuit breaker switches?

And now he just tried to empty the tank and it's not emptying...is this because of lack of electricity?

I'm clueless about how this works...I'm the go between while he's out there in the rain trying to get it sorted out...
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Old 19-03-2011, 20:36   #4
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Re: Head pump tripped electrical? Not working

Yes the circuit breaker switch/lever.

Not emptying - The holding tank? The toilet itself?

Even if the breaker can reset, I suspect it will just trip again as you said the pump was making "different" noises.
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Old 19-03-2011, 20:37   #5
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Re: Head pump tripped electrical? Not working

And sorry what do you mean by fusible link?
We know the circut panel to the right of the steering wheel in the helm, and another in the cabinet behind the helm, like in the salon area. But we arent finding and fuses? And not sure which circuit breaker manages the head pump.
We did the master circuit breaker just now, on off on..but the green light next to the head is still off. And it's not pumping out, (from the outside, I mean as in trying to empty the tank in case that was related to the problem) which we assume is not working because of there being no electricity to the head.

Thanks so much for your quick reply...this sucks :-)
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Old 19-03-2011, 20:40   #6
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Re: Head pump tripped electrical? Not working

I mean the holding tank is not emptying. He's got the hose all hooked up outside but the tank is not emptying...presumably because there is no power.

Do you know which circuit breaker is for the head?
Are there fuses somewhere to be looking for also?

So he says the vacuum pump didn't shut off, but I don't know why it didn't. He said it does that if not flushed properly....I was the last one to flush it and I may not have filled it with enough water. I did push the foot lever up to add water, thought it was enough but perhaps not. But why would that make the vaccum pump keep running and then blow a breaker?
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Old 19-03-2011, 22:29   #7
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Re: Head pump tripped electrical? Not working

Last time my electric head went into constant breaker mode someone had dropped a rag down it.

You are going to have to put a multimeter to the circuits. If there is no power to the toilet circuit there is a circuit breaker tripped, a fuse blow or a short in the line to the toilet.

'Somewhere' is a nebulous term on any boat but especially older boats where some "Island Electrician" might have put in some weird wiring.

You could hot wire the toilet to a breaker that is still hot and see if the light comes on. But if it is the toilet and you use it it might blow the half of the boat still working!

When you reset the breakers are they setting or instantly throwing?
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Old 20-03-2011, 10:12   #8
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Re: Head pump tripped electrical? Not working

Model number for a VacuFlush only refers to the bowl size/height/discharge fitting location...the rest of the system is the same for all models.

There are several possible reason why the vacuum pump would be sluggish or trip the breaker:
1. Low voltage
2. Improper wire size
3. Discharge line blocked, causing back pressure
4. Plugged or defective duckbill valve(s)
5. Blocked holding tank vent
6. Worn or defective gear motor
7. Clogged bellows in the vacuum pump.

1 and 2 are highly unlikely in a system that isn't brand new and incorrectly installed. #6 is unlikely unless it's at least 10 years old.

That leaves a blocked tank vent or a clogged vacuum pump--either the bellows or the duckbills or both. You can learn all about holding tank vents, why vent line filters are a VERY bad idea and how to clear blockages and prevent 'em in the "holding tank vent" thread this very week.

If it's not the vent, it has to be the vacuum pump...and you're gonna have to take it apart to clean it out. If someone hasn't flushed something they shouldn't have, it's a certainty that you aren't putting enough water through it. So here's the short course in TROUBLE-FREE VacuFlush operatation and maintenance:

The two most common mistakes that V/Flush owners make are:

1) easing the pedal back up instead of just letting it go. It's spring loaded for a reason--to snap the dome back into place it with enough force to seat it and seal it. So just let it go!

2. Using too little flush water.SeaLand's claim that the V/Flush can use "as little as" 1 pint of flush water is VERY carefully worded. If only urine is flushed...no water added to the bowl first, no TP either...then yes, you CAN get away with that little, at least for a few flushes. But if you do much of that, unless you want odor, at least once a day you need to run at least half a bowl of clean water through it to rinse out the system. It's also advisable to add at least half a bowl of water ahead of solids or any TP (iow, every time a female uses the toilet)...that's a quart or more. It's also essential to leave the pedal down for at least 7-10 seconds after the bowl is empty to rinse out the pump and duckbills--to prevent a buildup in the pump or bits of waste or TP from becoming stuck in a duckbill, creating one of those pesky air leaks that causes the pump to cycle for no reason...at least another quart. And if you don't want permeated hoses, it's a very good idea--last thing before the boat will sit (or at least once a week if you're living aboard)--to fill the bowl to the rim with clean water and flush it through to thoroughly rinse out the vacuum tank, hoses and pump...'cuz suction splatters waste all over 'em and the flush water flow isn't sufficient to completely fill the hoses. So, averaged out over a week, the VacuFlush actually NEEDS about the same amount of flush water as most other toilets that use pressurized flush water: about .5 gal. If you're using much less than that, you're asking for problems.

Btw...I had V/Flush toilets on my last two boats and was also a dealer for nearly 10 years...so I'm INTIMATELY acquainted with 'em...what keeps 'em working trouble-free and what doesn't.

If the PO wasn't smart enough to keep the owners manual, call SeaLand and get one 800-321-9886. It includes just about every possible symptom, possible causes and cures that a V/Flush can develop. Doesn't matter how old yours is, the VacuFlush hasn't changed enough to notice since it was first introduced in the late 1970s...so a new manual will work just as well for trouble-shooting as the one that came with yours.
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Old 20-03-2011, 12:42   #9
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Re: Head pump tripped electrical? Not working

Solved :-)
It was the fuse, he found it, replaced it, all works fine again. We think the holding tank got too full (unexpected guests for a few days did it in) and that caused it to blow the fuse is the guess. Any feedback on that assumption appreciated. Emptied the tank, replaced the fuse, all seems ok again.

I so appreciate the help, thank you!

Laura
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Old 20-03-2011, 13:02   #10
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Re: Head pump tripped electrical? Not working

Good to hear.
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Old 20-03-2011, 13:41   #11
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Re: Head pump tripped electrical? Not working

A blocked tank vent or a blocked discharge line, creating backpressure are two of the possible causes listed in the owners manual. If the problem WAS only an overfull tank, then you've solved it. But if the tank vent is blocked, it's gonna happen again. In fact, unless you have a SeaLand tank that has a "relief valve" (see it here: Dometic Sanitation Systems ), only a few gallons could have been pumped out of the tank--just enough to fool you into thinking everything is ok again--before the pump pulled a vacuum. Even if there IS a relief valve, it would only allow the tank to be pumped out...it wouldn't prevent the tank from becoming pressurized.

So you still have a bit of work to do to make sure that everything stays ok.

Run at LEAST 3 full bowlfuls of clean water through the system to rinse it out very thoroughly.

Check the holding tank vent to make sure it's completely open...and maintain it to make sure it stays open.

If there's a filter in the vent line, overfilling the tank has destroyed it. Wet charcoal swells up and will block the vent...so it will have to be replaced, or better yet just removed (read the whole thread on tank vent lines for a lot of good info on this).

And get an owners manual for the VacuFlush...I'd forgotten that you can now download one from SeaLand's site: SeaLand Vacuflush Owners Manual

And feel free to contact me directly if you need more help that is practical in a discussion forum.
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Old 20-03-2011, 14:34   #12
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Re: Head pump tripped electrical? Not working

Laura: Glad you solved your problem.

Quote:
Originally Posted by peghall View Post
Model number for a VacuFlush only refers to the bowl size/height/discharge fitting location...the rest of the system is the same for all models ...
VACCUFLUSH Owner’s Manuals

http://www.sealandtechnology.com/pdf...0%20manual.pdf

http://www.dometic.com/47dc839e-0c3a...27b06884.fodoc
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