I fitted a Jabscoelectric conversion kit back in 2009 which worked well for a while - if you could put up with the noise. Last year it died (siezed) due to water seepage from the pump through to the bearings. The positive was we were able to switch back to manual quickly. It is repairable but I am looking at other alternatives.
A friend has a Vacuflush unit on his boat and I am very impressed. My son (a marine electrician) also says their experience is that they are very reliable. And they are SILENT!
They use very little water which means a: Your holding tank lasts longer (the Jabsco filled it up in no time) and b: it is practical to go to fresh water flush with all its benefits. I have a watermaker installed so a few extra litres is not a big issue.
They also meet the local regulations regarding maceration etc.
As usual you pay a premium but by all accounts they will last.
I am interested in whether anyone has feedback on the Vacuflush units and in particular if anyone has fitted one to a Mahe. I plan to use the standard holding tank. I am in the process of looking at practical options to locate the vacuum unit before I commit to it.
We wanted a little more organized storage in the heads, so we had our cabinet maker build two of them for us. One for the port and one for the starboard head.
They cost us $350 each. They are made from maple with the rounded corners and a few coats for satin poly. The mirrors cost $45 for both with the shatter proof backing applied.
I have attached a blueprint below for anyone that would like to make their own cabinets.
The hardest part of the whole project was the removing the old mirrors. I thought they were plastic, but in fact they are glass. They where bonded on with four strips of double face foam tape and four blobs of 5200 adhesive. It will not come off in one piece. I put on safety glasses and taped it up with painters tape and clawed it off with a hammer. It takes about 1-1/2 hours just to remove one of the old mirrors.
Here is what the Starboard head cabinet looks like installed. It really gives you a lot more organized storage. With the larger mirror you can now see down below your waste. Much better viewing area and closer to your face.
My starboard head pump handle kept rising recently during pumping, so I think I have a blockage even though the through hull fitting is open. I'm going to buy a plumbers snake, but what's the best way to access the holding tank? There're a number of access ports topside of the tank, but I want to get to the best one. Suggestions?
Take a toilet plunger and pump on the 1-1/2 hole where it empties outside your boat.
Have someone inside open the valve all the way and listen for the bubbling pressure as you pump the plunger against the exit hole outside.
If the plunger starts leaking sewage, have the person inside close the large sewage valve.
We had the same issue. I feel Dotdun is right in his post.
The standard Jabsco, being an old design, is not designed for resisting the back pressure in the column of water in the hose going to the top of the black water tank. Cleaning (in cleaning vinegar or citric acid) or replacing the joker valve AND the flap valve below the piston will help somewhat. Better solution is to modify the Jabsco: nowadays they have a "twist and lock" handle which solves the problem.
We just bought a new toilet, 150 euro, this includes of course new components and gives you spares! This solves the issue.
That is why Jabsco came out with the twist and lock handle. The Mahe is especially prone to this problem since the holding tank is mounted to the wall, there is a lot of "fluid" in that stand pipe. I always carried spare Joker valves.
BTW, if the discharge is blocked then you will need to try the "waterjet" method, just don't be the one doing the jetting.
However, I have never had a blockage in 7 years of owning our Mahe, did go through 8 or 10 Joker valves, can rebuild one of those puppies in the dark, sometimes it is better not to see what your working on.
I will note that I did run into another Mahe while cruising the Bahamas that had to remove the entire tank because both the inlet and outlet had crystalized shut. They used only the Starboard head for urine and flushed with seawater, the salt in the seawater reacts to the urine to form crystals. The poor guy was breaking out the crystal with a knife on his sugar scoop, what a mess.
Yes, joker valves and base valve gasket (mention by Jef) are changed at least annually on our boat. I carry 3 or 4 spares of each. And, the twist and lock pumps are an improvement over the older model.
I did have a blockage problem in the 1st 6 months. When fitting the tank and cutting the blanked off ports open they dropped one of the resulting discs in the tank and this blocked the outlet.
Recently fitted a vacuflush toilet - expensive but fantastic! Works well with the existing holding tank a) no odors as it is fresh water flush and B: (the biggest Plus)the holding tank lasts 3 times as long as each flush is smaller than manual or std electric bowls.
It is a Jabsco manual head. I'm fairly certain I have a blockage in the outlet hose because sewage doesn't come out the outlet hose through hull but does come out the vent through hull. I took the toilet to tank and vent hoses off the tank today and the deposits have reduced the ID of both hoses to about half. My concern is I need the tank emptied before I can remove all hoses to clean/replace them but pumpuot is closed for season. The boat is stored in water, shrinkwrapped.