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Old 23-01-2016, 15:41   #1
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Jabsco Electric Toilet Conversion vs. Raritan Sea Era -- Four Years On

My boat was delivered with one of those incredibly noisy Jabsco electric toilet conversions in the aft (my) heads. It worked fine until the motor burned out. Then the replacement never worked right. It would fail to prime and fail to discharge. It drove me crazy.

I decided that these are crap, and four years ago, I bought two Raritan Sea Era toilet conversions, supposed to be a drop in fit.

Well, they fit the toilet bowl, but everything else was different, and I couldn't fit one of them in the forward heads. So I moved the Jabsco to the forward (guest) heads, and installed one of the Sea Eras aft.

Four years later, they have both worked flawlessly, and used heavily over many thousands of miles and many months of living aboard.

Today I did the first maintenance on the Sea Era -- replaced a joker valve. Which is what made me think of this topic.

Now after this amount of experience, I'm no longer sure that the Jabsco ones are crap. This is heavier, and seemingly more heavy duty, than the very light and plasticky Raritan. It's much noisier (two impellers vs one impeller and one diaphragm pump) but this doesn't really bother me. The Jabsco has the advantage that you can separately drain the bowl; the Raritan has no such control. The Raritan could use such a control, as its discharge pump is not as powerful as the Jabsco's. The Raritan also backflows disgustingly.

Why did I have that weird priming problem with the Jabsco before I moved it? I have no idea. I drove me absolutely crazy. But it disappeared after I moved it.

In general no major complaints about either these last four years, but it seems to be that neither of these is the perfect marine toilet.

The perfect marine toilet would be made of bronze (like the Skipper manual toilets). It would have superb hydraulic engineering so that it would never fail to prime, and never backflow. It would be designed to come apart easily for service without spilling disgusting liquids all over the place. It would have powerful, high quality motors with long service lives. It would have a switch, maybe, to allow you to select a high flow rate for direct overboard discharge, and a lower one for holding tank. It would, unfortunately, be expensive.
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Old 23-01-2016, 16:34   #2
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Re: Jabsco Electric Toilet Conversion vs. Raritan Sea Era -- Four Years On

Why did I have that weird priming problem with the Jabsco before I moved it?

I suspect it's because the problems with both aft toilets are in the plumbing, not the toilets themselves. Starting with...a 4 yr old joker in ANY marine toilet would have been completely worn out for at least a couple of years, unable to prevent backflow in any discharge line that runs even slightly uphill....worse if it's it long uphill run. Complex plumbing runs or a kinked hose create resistance, which could make any toilet appear to be less robust.
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Old 23-01-2016, 17:37   #3
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Re: Jabsco Electric Toilet Conversion vs. Raritan Sea Era -- Four Years On

I installed 2 of the sea era heads last fall, they replaced 2 Par electric heads. The Pars had a flapper valve and a replacement was no longer available. They offered a joker valve to replace it but because of a slight bend in the housing it mounted in it wouldn't work. Been very pleased with the Raritan heads they flush well, are quieter and absolutely no back flow. Have you checked the voltage at the motor while in operation? Low voltage would cause slower rpm and less pumping capacity.


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Old 23-01-2016, 20:14   #4
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Re: Jabsco Electric Toilet Conversion vs. Raritan Sea Era -- Four Years On

If you have power, an Incinolet is the way to go. Just a vent, no plumbing, doesn't plug, it can take what would be too much paper and can handle women's products.
I run mine off an inverter when not in port or no generator is running.
Only the sound of a small vent fan. Costs about 7˘ a flush.
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Old 23-01-2016, 22:11   #5
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Re: Jabsco Electric Toilet Conversion vs. Raritan Sea Era -- Four Years On

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Originally Posted by Lepke View Post
If you have power, an Incinolet is the way to go. Just a vent, no plumbing, doesn't plug, it can take what would be too much paper and can handle women's products.
I run mine off an inverter when not in port or no generator is running.
Only the sound of a small vent fan. Costs about 7˘ a flush.
I've never heard of those before! How much do they draw, and for how long?

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Old 24-01-2016, 02:05   #6
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Re: Jabsco Electric Toilet Conversion vs. Raritan Sea Era -- Four Years On

Quote:
Originally Posted by peghall View Post
Why did I have that weird priming problem with the Jabsco before I moved it?

I suspect it's because the problems with both aft toilets are in the plumbing, not the toilets themselves. Starting with...a 4 yr old joker in ANY marine toilet would have been completely worn out for at least a couple of years, unable to prevent backflow in any discharge line that runs even slightly uphill....worse if it's it long uphill run. Complex plumbing runs or a kinked hose create resistance, which could make any toilet appear to be less robust.
Thanks for this, Peg, and these are good things to keep in mind.

In my case, however, I don't think this is the problem. The original Jabsco worked perfectly before the motor burned out. The replacement one works fine now in a different location. It must have been something about the installation, some air leak somewhere, or something, although I took it apart and resealed it numerous times, with no result. Plumbing is mysterious sometimes.
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Old 24-01-2016, 05:48   #7
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Re: Jabsco Electric Toilet Conversion vs. Raritan Sea Era -- Four Years On

For what its worth, we also have a Jabsco Electric Motor conversion kit on an original equipment Brydon Boy toilet in the aft head of our boat. The current motor is a replacement of the original which died after 16 years. While the old motor might have been repairable, subsequent to its manufacture Jabsco made some improvements that, purportedly, make the newer version more reliable/longer lived (hopefully so!). The one thing that is problematic is the effort required to replace the water pump">raw water pump impeller, a rubber impeller similar to that on the Jabsco "Water Puppy" and other pumps. It can be done but it seems to be an all day job and so becomes an item of breakdown-verses preventative--maintenance. In our case I have found that using a squirt bottle filled with a mixture of fresh water and "SaltAway", and adding a few squits of this to the water in the bowel one it has cleared aft use, and pumping the mix into the discharge hose with a few pulses of the motor seems to help preserve the hose and Joker Valve. We also have a raw water filter on the intake hose and I periodically clean the filter screen and fill the plastic case for the screen with "Head Lube" (which appears to be nothing more than Olive Oil) before closing the filter up. The foregoing makes the pump run more quietly, at least for awhile, and seems to preserve the impeller somewhat. IN our case the raw water line runs to an anti-siphon loop above the water line with a small solenoid operated vent seal on the top of the loop that is activated when the pump is activated, sealing the loop and allowing water to be sucked into the bowel. Without, the vent seal, little water will be drawn in by the pump and the impeller will suffer an early death.

FWIW...
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Old 24-01-2016, 19:10   #8
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Re: Jabsco Electric Toilet Conversion vs. Raritan Sea Era -- Four Years On

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dockhead View Post
My boat was delivered with one of those incredibly noisy Jabsco electric toilet conversions in the aft (my) heads. It worked fine until the motor burned out. Then the replacement never worked right. It would fail to prime and fail to discharge. It drove me crazy.

Why did I have that weird priming problem with the Jabsco before I moved it? I have no idea. I drove me absolutely crazy. But it disappeared after I moved it.
We have Jabsco 'Quietflush' units on our boat (the person who came up with that name was obviously a comedian !). That aside, they work very well, and always pump. I suspect the priming issue you experienced was due to an airlock with a below-water outlet not allowing that air out.
With ours, they pump to the top of the holding tanks so there can be no airlock (then you just open a valve for gravity discharge at sea, or else vacuum pump-out at an equipped dock).
As to maintenance, it is a 15 minute job to totally remove the macerator pump at the base of the bowl, replace the shaft-seal and re-install. Just a few clean flushes before-hand, with the last containing disinfectant, and the small (100ml or so) amount of water released when the pump is removed, is no issue.

The only problem we have had so far is crevice corrosion on the stainless steel shaft of one of the macerator pumps during off-season lay-up. A PTFE sleeve on the shaft where it penetrates the seal would solve that problem.
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