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Old 05-10-2011, 06:38   #1
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Which Electric Toilet?

One of my top-priority projects this winter is to replace my forward heads toilet (the one guests use) with an electric one.

During my long summer cruiser this year, I got really tired of the manual Jabsco toilet, with its flimsy plastic pump which squeaks and takes a lot of force to operate correctly. My guests have always been too polite to say anything, but it dawned on me that the toilet was a source of discomfort to them. An electric one will be much easier to use.

An electric macerating toilet is also better for non-boaters as it is much less susceptible to clogging, as far as I know.

My initial impulse would be to pop on a Jabsco electric conversion pump, which is what I have been using in my after heads (my own ensuite heads) with reasonable satisfaction. The advantages are:

1. No need to change the toilet or any of the plumbing -- easy installation.
2. Can be converted back to manual in 3 minutes using a spare pump - in case the electric pump fails.
3. Reasonable cost.

Disadvantages:

1. Incredibly noisy -- sounds almost like a bow thruster operating.


I know the Toilet Lady has some strong opinions about the relative merits of different marine toilets -- maybe she could share some of these. Anyone else have good or bad experiences to report about converting manual to electric?
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Old 05-10-2011, 09:02   #2
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Re: Which Electric Toilet?

I think Peggy Hall will recommend the Raritan Elegance toilet. It's not cheap but if you want a well made toilet you can't go wrong with Raritan.
Raritan Engineering | Marine Elegance
It would be a lot cheaper to convert your Jabsco to electric. Peggy doesn't like them but I think they are a good value for your pounds.

I'm a distributor for both Raritan and Jabsco in the USA. It would be interesting to see if I could save you some money. I expect that the shipping charges on the Elegance would make it cheaper to buy from a UK distributor but the Jabsco conversion could go in the mail and with the weak dollar, I might save you some money.

Peggy will be along shortly to correct me.
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Old 05-10-2011, 09:06   #3
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Re: Which Electric Toilet?

We have fresh-water-plumbed macerating toilets that came as a standard feature on our boat. Wouldn't go back to manual toilets under any circumstances.
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Old 05-10-2011, 09:16   #4
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Re: Which Electric Toilet?

Another consideration is the required electrical circuit for the toilet...Mine is surprisingly heavy.
I love my electric heads...they are also normally fresh water (no smell) and a doddle for guests.
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Old 05-10-2011, 12:28   #5
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Re: Which Electric Toilet?

My initial impulse would be to pop on a Jabsco electric conversion pump, which is what I have been using in my after heads (my own ensuite heads) with reasonable satisfaction. The advantages are:

1. No need to change the toilet or any of the plumbing -- easy installation.

2. Can be converted back to manual in 3 minutes using a spare pump - in case the electric pump fails.
3. Reasonable cost.

Disadvantages:


1. Incredibly noisy -- sounds almost like a bow thruster operating


Other disadvantages:

2. Flimsy construction, jams/clogs easily

3. Flimsy construction, short life expectancy

4. Draws a whopping 24 A, compared to 16 for most other sea water macerating electric toilets...most pressurized flush water toilets only draw 10 a.

5. I don't consider £234 ($361.63 USD) to be a reasonable price for it...especially compared to prices as low a $329USD (£212.88) for the Raritan SeaEra conversion Raritan Sea Era Conversion which Practical Sailor rated "Best Budget Buy" in their Feb issue.

Available in both sea water and pressurized flush water versions...a few pence more and you can add an optional 3-way flush button to the pressurized fresh water version that lets you bring in water ahead of use, flush dry, or combo flush. ...and I'll bet HopCar can even beat the prices I just quoted. Without a bowl, it wouldn't weigh much, so shipping should be reasonable.

So why buy a Yugo when you can have a Mercedes for less money?

Or...we can discuss various "Rolls-Royce" toilets, but I don't think you need to spend that much to be happy.
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Old 05-10-2011, 13:27   #6
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Re: Which Electric Toilet?

Thanks -- very useful. Will the Sea Era conversion work with my Jabsco full sized (domestic size) bowl? I'll be spending Christmas in the US, so I could easily bring such a thing back with me in my luggage.

And what are the "Rolls Royce" options? Worth the extra cost?

Thanks again for the advice, and I bet it will help others as well.
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Old 05-10-2011, 15:03   #7
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Re: Which Electric Toilet?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dockhead View Post
During my long summer cruiser this year, I got really tired of the manual Jabsco toilet, with its flimsy plastic pump which squeaks and takes a lot of force to operate correctly.
Pour some olive oil into the bowel and pump. Suddenly the squeak goes (mine was more like "squeals like a pig" in Deliverance) and it pumps easily.
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Old 05-10-2011, 15:15   #8
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Re: Which Electric Toilet?

Dockhead, I dealt with the Jabsco electric conversion toilet for several years and not a year passed that I didn't have to replace things on it. The design isn't very good and Jabsco seems to make more money in replacement parts than anything else. And, they are noisy, too!

I finally got fed up and took Peggy's advise, replacing with the SeaEra conversion. I'm very happy with it. It fit the Jabsco bowl with no modification. Took about 30 minutes to do the whole job. The quality of construction is readily apparent. It is much quieter, too.

Sure, you can spend more -- lots more, but the SeaEra conversion kit does the job and a very reasonable price.

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Old 05-10-2011, 15:44   #9
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Re: Which Electric Toilet?

Thanks! Looking like Sea Era!

Hop Car -- would you like to make a proposal for a 24v Sea Era conversion with three-way switch, fresh water? I would be happy to receive your PM.

Cheers, Dockhead
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Old 05-10-2011, 15:58   #10
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Re: Which Electric Toilet?

Take off the hand pump...replace with a plate...
Unscrew the end cap and get a threaded pvc insert with 1 1/2 hose barb
Buy hose and/or pipe to go to an inexpensive macerator pump
$69 chugger macerator pump off ebay
Buy 1 inch reinforced hose to pump wherever (holding or overboard or both with a couple 1 inch valves)
Buy 15 amp pushbutton switch
Total cost to me was a little less than $100...any macerator can be used (not toilet specific)
Macerator is bolted to underside of floor right under toilet so it is very quiet compared to most electric flush models.
Flush with a couple cups of fresh or salt water...shower wand nearby can be used too and really cleans the bowl!
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Old 05-10-2011, 17:16   #11
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Re: Which Electric Toilet?

Will the Sea Era conversion work with my Jabsco full sized (domestic size) bowl?

Yes!

And what are the "Rolls Royce" options? Worth the extra cost?

The best choice today is another Raritan--their "Marine Elegance" Raritan Elegance toilet --which PS rated "best in show" in the same Feb issue in which they rated the Sea Era "best budget buy."

People who have 'em love the SeaLand VacuFlush. A good system but WAAAAY overpriced for what it is.

When the the Italian Tecma (now owned by the European division of Thetford Norcold ) it the market about 10 years ago, it quickly became the "gold standard" by which every other macerating electric toilet was measured, revolutionizing the industry...EVERY mfr introduced a clone of it. It created two major improvements in toilet tech: a pump that could shoot bowl contents (I'm NOT exaggerating) up to 100 yards and a "grinder" (they don't call it macerater any more) that can even chew up a tampon.

When it comes to price, start at about $600 and work your way up to more than double that amount. While I'm a big fan of the all-china "thrones", they weigh a bunch and cost a bunch and some of 'em draw a WHOLE bunch more power...and since I also believe there is no "best" toilet, only the best toilet for a particular boat and its owner, I'm convinced that the SeaEra is the perfect answer for anyone who'd seriously consider the Jabsco 29200 "conversion."

Thanks again for the advice, and I bet it will help others as well.[/QUOTE]
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Old 05-10-2011, 17:27   #12
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Re: Which Electric Toilet?

Yup..it's amazing how much a little bit of lubrication can do to improve manual toilet performance. However, waiting to lube it till it starts to squeak is tantamount to waiting till your engine starts to smoke to add any oil to it. 'Cuz that squeaking is the sound of the edges of rubber seals and o-rings beings rubbed off against the inside of the pump cylinder.

But OLIVE oil??? Plain ol' baby oil, corn oil, canola, Wesson will do just fine...and ONLY a tablespoon. Any more will just wash out in the first flush. However, anything thin enough to pour down the toilet is only gonna wash out in a few flushes anyway. Thick Teflon grease is what's in every toilet when it leaves the factory...which why new toilets don't need any lubrication for at least a year. So if you want to do it right, and only once a year as PREVENTIVE maintenance, buy a tube of thick Teflon grease (SuperLube is best) Super Lube source and take the top of the pump. Stick the tube nozzle in it, give it a healthy squirt...pump a couple of times to spread it all over the inside of the pump housing...put the top back on. You're good to go for a year.
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Old 05-10-2011, 17:31   #13
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Re: Which Electric Toilet?

I know the Toilet Lady has some strong opinions about the relative merits of different marine toilets -- maybe she could share some of these.

"Toilet Lady????"
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Old 05-10-2011, 18:35   #14
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Re: Which Electric Toilet?

That Marine Elegance sure looks pretty, but all the emphasis on leaving water in the bowl makes me think it is NOT intended for use on keelboats.
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Old 05-10-2011, 19:29   #15
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Re: Which Electric Toilet?

They're only emphasizing that you CAN leave water in the bowl--amazing how many people want the toilet on their boat to do that "like the one at home," or bring water into the bowl ahead of use--a VERY useful feature, but most marine toilets aren't designed to do that. You don't want water in the bowl, just use dry bowl to finish each flush. The optional 3-way flush is essential...the optional 4 way "smart flush" is even smarter.

It really is an outstanding toilet. And btw, I have -0- vested interest in it or another product...I "calls 'em as I sees em," and I really like this one.
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