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Old 08-06-2015, 17:39   #1
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Self flushing head. Joker?

I have an electric macerating head (Newport 1600) that was installed by the PO some years ago. It uses fresh water for flushing. Works well, but I'm not sure if one characteristic of the head is a "feature" or a "flaw."

The bottom of the bowl is just a bit higher than the top of the holding tank. It's a short (2.5 feet) straight downhill run to the tank and liquids drain right out into the holding tank (leaving maybe 3/4 cup or less of water in the very bottom of the bowl). That is a neat feature, except if someone *wants* to put more water in the bowl before doing his/her business to help grease the skids so to speak.

I have no idea when the joker was changed or what condition it is in. I have not replaced it in the 2.5 years I've owned the boat, but have not used the head that much since then. (There is zero smell in the head, so no gases from the tank back up.)

My understanding is that the real purpose of the joker is to keep the water in the drain line from backing up into the bowl--not a concern in my case. But would a new joker valve help keep water in the bowl when desired? Or would it just let it drain out, albeit maybe more slowly than now?

Should I try replacing the joker? Or leave it alone?
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Old 08-06-2015, 18:18   #2
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Re: Self flushing head. Joker?

Replace the joker valve...it should be done at least every 2 years, annually if you're a liveaboard.
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Old 09-06-2015, 04:40   #3
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Re: Self flushing head. Joker?

Thanks. I've ordered a replacement joker and will install.

Will that help keep water in the bowl?
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Old 09-06-2015, 14:21   #4
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Re: Self flushing head. Joker?

Yes...until use stretches the slit enough that it no longer seals tightly any more. Then water will start to seep out, first very slowly...then more quickly as the slit turns into a hole. How long that takes depends on how much the head is used.

There is a way to replumb the discharge to keep water in the bowl: run the discharge up and over a vented loop and remove the joker valve altogether. Water that doesn't make it over the top of the loop will run back down into the bowl and stay there. How high to put the loop depends on how much water you want in the bowl. This is fairly common on trawlers, houseboats and other vessels that don't heel or get bounced around much, especially those on protected inland waters....it's rare on sailboats because heeling and heavy seas will send any water in the bowl all over the head.
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Old 10-06-2015, 09:54   #5
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Re: Self flushing head. Joker?

Laying a few sheets of toilet paper in the dry bowl will also "grease the skids", as you put it, when the toilet is flushed.
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Old 10-06-2015, 10:30   #6
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Re: Self flushing head. Joker?

Quote:
Originally Posted by contrail View Post
Laying a few sheets of toilet paper in the dry bowl will also "grease the skids", as you put it, when the toilet is flushed.
Not the best plan because the pump and plumbing need water, not more TP, to break up and dissolve solids and move 'em through to their destination.

Is it really THAT much trouble to put a cup full of water from the sink in the bowl before use??? That much isn't gonna fill up your holding tank enough to make a difference.
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Old 10-06-2015, 10:40   #7
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Re: Self flushing head. Joker?

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Originally Posted by peghall View Post
Not the best plan because the pump and plumbing need water, not more TP, to break up and dissolve solids and move 'em through to their destination.

Is it really THAT much trouble to put a cup full of water from the sink in the bowl before use??? That much isn't gonna fill up your holding tank enough to make a difference.
I was assuming that the actual flush would be accompanied by sufficient water....just trying to avoid skid marks on the bowl!

I think the OP said that water added to the bowl just goes straight down to the holding tank, as there is no joker valve and the tank is lower.
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Old 10-06-2015, 11:55   #8
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Re: Self flushing head. Joker?

Hi Peggie, I like the loop idea. You create a trap that holds water in the bowl and blocks any gases from returning. It took me a minute to figure out why you need a vent in the loop, but it finally dawned on me you need it to prevent a siphon forming and sucking the bowl dry. The height of the loop will set the water level in the bowl. A simple and elegant solution.
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Old 10-06-2015, 13:01   #9
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Re: Self flushing head. Joker?

I have been putting a layer of TP in the bowl prior to using - crap only - it works great. The paper doesn't really grease the skids, but it does prevent skid marks. I sail in the Great Lakes and like to extend the capacity of my tank so that I run out of water, holding tank capacity, ice for the icebox and beer at just about the same time.

Fluid still ends up in the bowl - hello! If there isn't enough, I add a little. I use very little water to flush and there are no skid marks on the bowl.

Sorry for the drift, but you get my drift.

Replace the joker valve - it'll help.
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