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Old 10-10-2016, 14:46   #1
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Raritan PHIIE Install Problem

I have a one-year old PHIIE which has never worked right. My installation is as depicted in the attached diagram. There is no holding tank and the toilet is used only at sea. I recently replaced the entire pump when the pump O-rings failed and I was short on time.
The sanitation hoses, vented loops are new as is the seacock valve. Liquids discharge fine but solids do not unless the vented loop air intake on the discharge is purposely sealed by a finger or piece of tape (see photo). I know there is no blockage in the hoses since I just replaced them to make sure.
The previous installation had the same plumbing arrangement and worked very well but the head was a Jabsco Manual Twist-n-Lock. I don't think the PHIIE is faulty so I am really puzzled why I have this problem. I really don't want to give up on the Raritan as the other head on the boat is also a PHIIE and works fine albeit with more complicated plumbing with Y-valve, holding tank and deck pump-out.
Any suggestions would be very much appreciated.
-Matt
SV Tumbleweed
Honolulu, HI
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Old 10-10-2016, 14:56   #2
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Re: Raritan PHIIE Install Problem

Quote:
Originally Posted by svtumbleweed View Post
I have a one-year old PHIIE which has never worked right. My installation is as depicted in the attached diagram. There is no holding tank and the toilet is used only at sea. I recently replaced the entire pump when the pump O-rings failed and I was short on time.
The sanitation hoses, vented loops are new as is the seacock valve. Liquids discharge fine but solids do not unless the vented loop air intake on the discharge is purposely sealed by a finger or piece of tape (see photo). I know there is no blockage in the hoses since I just replaced them to make sure.
The previous installation had the same plumbing arrangement and worked very well but the head was a Jabsco Manual Twist-n-Lock. I don't think the PHIIE is faulty so I am really puzzled why I have this problem. I really don't want to give up on the Raritan as the other head on the boat is also a PHIIE and works fine albeit with more complicated plumbing with Y-valve, holding tank and deck pump-out.
Any suggestions would be very much appreciated.
-Matt
SV Tumbleweed
Honolulu, HI
Did you replace the joker valve? Obviously the head is pulling back on the intake cycle.
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Old 10-10-2016, 15:06   #3
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Re: Raritan PHIIE Install Problem

Thank you for the reply. I did replace it when I recently replaced the pump. We have noticed a small amount of back-flow that accumulates after several hours. Maybe the joker has failed already. I have new spares so I perhaps I should replace it again.
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Old 10-10-2016, 16:18   #4
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Re: Raritan PHIIE Install Problem

Whyizzit that no matter what the problem with any toilet, the joker valve is the first thing that someone will blame for it???

It doesn't appear that there's an air valve in either of your vented loops...which isn't surprising because they're items that are sold separately from the loops, so it never occurs to most boat owners that they're needed.

If you look carefully at the inside of the hole in the nipple at the top of the loop, you'll see that it's threaded...that's where the air valve goes. (See photo. They're not all red, btw and are several shapes and sizes.) Install them and you won't have to put your finger over the hole any more.
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Old 11-10-2016, 08:48   #5
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Re: Raritan PHIIE Install Problem

Peggie, if the loops didn't have valves he'd have water shooting out of them when he pumped.
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Old 11-10-2016, 09:14   #6
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Re: Raritan PHIIE Install Problem

Sarcastic much?

I've never seen a loop sold naked. Weird. It would explain why it never worked right. It is certainly possible that the liquid did not shoot out the vacant hole if pumped reasonably slowly.

But when I zoom in I see what looks like the valve. I supose the internal duckbill could be missing. He should look.

But missing parts is just too... obvious? An air leak should have been noticed the first day and resolved. Oh well.
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Old 11-10-2016, 09:36   #7
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Re: Raritan PHIIE Install Problem

OK this thing is just a siphon break, right?
if so then if it were working properly then putting your finger over it should have no effect when there is pressure in the pipe.
I agree if there were no valve then water would leak out when pressure existed, in fact the siphon break should have no effect at all on discharge, so I'm confused.

Peggie, I guess people jump on the Joker as its so often failed. Another reason I love my Fresh Head is that the Joker is external and installed / removed with just two hose clamps. I'd go so far as to say that most Joker valves leak, just we tolerate them until it gets so bad that they have to be replaced, it is an apparent weak link, or seems to be.
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Old 11-10-2016, 10:22   #8
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Re: Raritan PHIIE Install Problem

A64 expressed what has been bothering me. Why would blocking the vent affect the discharge?

On the upstroke of the piston a partial vacuum is created in the cylinder. Air pressure pushes the bowl contents through the bottom valve, into the cylinder. At the same time the joker valve is pushed closed by the pressure of the water or air in the discharge hose which prevents back flow into the cylinder.

What if the weight of the water in the discharge hose is not enough to close the joker valve completely and back flow is happening? By covering the air intake on the vented loop, your are allowing the full water pressure from the seacock to push the joker valve closed. This would prevent back flow and increase flow out of the bowl.

So after burning up all those brain cells thinking that through, I'm back to the damn joker valve.
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Old 11-10-2016, 11:16   #9
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Re: Raritan PHIIE Install Problem

The loop does have the cap with duckbill installed correctly, nothing shooting out.

Raritan tech support got back to me and suggested converting the toilet over to manual pump instead of electric. Tech said : "While I love the electric operation of the PHII head the one downside is that the electric gear box knows nothing about pressure. If you were to hand pump the toilet and you felt a little resistance you could push down harder the gearbox has no brains it just keeps pumping away albeit perhaps not so efficiently when there is back pressure." Hopefully installations like mine are rare where discharge is straight to sea.
It's a simple conversion so I will try that first. If that doesn't work I will replace the joker valve. If I try more than one thing at a time I won't know what fixed it. I will report back. What a great forum, I am so grateful to everyone.
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Old 11-10-2016, 11:16   #10
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Re: Raritan PHIIE Install Problem

I have the same head, they do recommend a macerator pump on the discharge line, I have one installed, also for about 6 months mine was acting weird at discharge, pumping very slowly with a lot of back pressure, then I replaced the air valve assembly at the front of the pump, near the top ($25). Solved the problem immediately. Good Luck!
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Old 11-10-2016, 12:05   #11
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Re: Raritan PHIIE Install Problem

Peggie, I guess people jump on the Joker as its so often failed.

Actually, they rarely fail, but they do wear out. However, I even see the joker valve blamed for problems in the toilet INTAKE!
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Old 11-10-2016, 12:17   #12
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Re: Raritan PHIIE Install Problem

Sarcastic much?

No sarcasm intended (ok, maybe a little jab about the joker valve).

I've never seen a loop sold naked.

Except for the expensive bronze loops, I've rarely seen one that wasn't (price may have something to do with that). That they squirt in any line through water is being pushed is the reason why so many people put a vent line on 'em. They don't know there's any other solution to the squirting.

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Old 11-10-2016, 12:21   #13
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Re: Raritan PHIIE Install Problem

I have the same head, they do recommend a macerator pump on the discharge line,

Who recommends that?
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Old 11-10-2016, 14:10   #14
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Re: Raritan PHIIE Install Problem

Tumbleweed, I don't understand the logic of removing the electric conversion as all it does is move the pump handle up and down. It is easy enough to try. All you have to do is remove one bolt to disconnect it from the handle.

Is it jamming when there are solids? You need to eat softer food.
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Old 11-10-2016, 15:00   #15
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Re: Raritan PHIIE Install Problem

I don't understand the logic either for the same reason. However, after having done so I am declaring this problem SOLVED. I can't seem to block it with gobs of toilet paper along with several cans of goopy food. A 'real' test will have to wait until I put to sea as I'm in a marina in a lagoon. I wonder what materials engineers use to perform adequate tests.

So to summarize my experience, the Raritan PHII is not effective on electric mode when discharging to a seacock just 16" below the water line. The pump handle was never hard to actuate and it is much quieter. Another benefit of going manual is that the pump housing doesn't rock nearly as much as it did with the electrically actuated arm. Our other PHII (type III system) is still setup as electric and rocks noticeably especially when working hard to draw in seawater. The manual says this is normal. The housing cracked at the base but some thickened epoxy has repaired it for now. It gets used far more so I am not surprised. I do keep spare pump assemblies and rebuild kits.

Thanks to all who chimed in. I was really out of ideas and about to go back to the Jabsco Twist-n-lock which worked great under our 25 day passage from French Polynesia.
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