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Old 19-10-2016, 02:20   #1
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Raritan Sea Era Toilet Tips

I have been living with this device for a few years now. It replaced a Jabsco tall toilet conversion, the really noisy one, with which I had persistent priming problems.

The Sea Era is simpler, lighter, and more cheaply built than the Jabsco, and has never had any kind of priming problems.

However, I did have the impeller and seal plate touch each other and jam and self-destruct. These are extremely lightweight, cheap parts, and a bit of flex and boom. I know now several people who have had this problem. So my first tip is to keep spares of these parts. I happened to have a second complete Sea Era kit which I had been unable to install in my forward heads, which I was able to cannibalize to get the other one working again. Even better would be to have a machine shop make up a stainless "seal plate" with proper dimensional stability; the original part is not up to the job.

The other problem I've had with this toilet is that periodically the volume of intake and the volume of discharge get out of balance, and the toilet doesn't empty. This is invariably caused by some small bit of fibrous matter getting onto the macerator blade, which seems to ruin the efficiency of the impeller. It's a PITA to deal with as you have to pull out the motor, which inevitably means spilling nastiness on your heads sole. Last time it happened to me, it was a tiny bit of seaweed -- God knows how it got there (I have two different strainers on the intake).

It's not really a good design -- having the intake volume capacity of the system, so close to the discharge capacity. Next time I buy a marine toilet (hopefully it will be for a new boat), I will definitely choose one which has separate intake and discharge pumps and motors, and which is more robustly built than this toy-like device. Maybe the Raritan Sea Elegance. The Sea Era is admirably simple -- a huge plus. It doesn't leak, and doesn't have any priming problems. But it is not really robust enough for full time liveaboard use. And it's rather expensive for what it is -- about the same cost as the far more heavily and solidly built Jabsco conversion.


As to the Jabsco -- I would not buy another one, after the headaches I had with the last one. A marine toilet should not be susceptible to mysterious hydraulic problems -- totally unacceptable. It must be said however that this very same toilet is still chugging away in my forward heads, working perfectly there, without the slightest problem (knocking on wood here) since I moved it there from the aft heads. You can operate the discharge separately from the intake, by turning the dial backwards -- a must-have feature for me from now on, something the Sea Era lacks. It's heavy and uses a lot of power, and makes a lot of noise, but it's pretty robust.
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Old 19-10-2016, 04:45   #2
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Re: Raritan Sea Era Toilet Tips

Thanks for the tip....Sea Era is/was on my to-do list. Now I'm re-thinking it....
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Old 19-10-2016, 04:53   #3
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Re: Raritan Sea Era Toilet Tips

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Thanks for the tip....Sea Era is/was on my to-do list. Now I'm re-thinking it....
If you're planning to use the boat more than just weekends and occasional holiday, I would definitely go with something heavier-duty.

I've heard good things about the Marine Elegance, but I've never even seen one, so you shouldn't take that as a recommendation.

Looking at the exploded parts diagram:

http://raritaneng.com/wp-content/upl...nceExpView.pdf

It looks as though it might have the same impeller sealing plate arrangement as the Sea Era. I would have a look at one in person before buying it. If those parts look flimsy, then I would avoid.

The Marine Elegance has a separate intake pump (very good), and has an interesting arrangement of the discharge with two joker valves and an air separator. Looks like that's designed to positively prevent the kind of problems I had with my Jabsco and looks very clever.
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Old 19-10-2016, 04:59   #4
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Re: Raritan Sea Era Toilet Tips

Re look fresh water flush, it changes things, and I believe the upgraded control panel allows separate operation of the add water and flush.
But why electric in the first place? Other than the lever we broke off, my PHII's converted to fresh heads have been completely trouble free, the main pump body part that we broke is not as robust as I would like, but it was a ten min not messy job to replace and cost was less than $10.

I had been thinking about converting the fwd head to a sea era myself. I don't know what she does, but the other half clogs / jams the head, takes excessive force on the pump lever to free the jam, eventually breaking it, I figured a macerator would chew up whatever it is she is jamming the thing with.
I figure it has to be dry TP, she says no its not.
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Old 19-10-2016, 05:01   #5
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Re: Raritan Sea Era Toilet Tips

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Re look fresh water flush, it changes things.
I am/was considering fresh water. Waiting to get watermaker before push-button head. They are both on the to-do list.
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Old 19-10-2016, 05:13   #6
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Re: Raritan Sea Era Toilet Tips

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Originally Posted by a64pilot View Post
Re look fresh water flush, it changes things, and I believe the upgraded control panel allows separate operation of the add water and flush.
But why electric in the first place? Other than the lever we broke off, my PHII's converted to fresh heads have been completely trouble free, the main pump body part that we broke is not as robust as I would like, but it was a ten min not messy job to replace and cost was less than $10.

I had been thinking about converting the fwd head to a sea era myself. I don't know what she does, but the other half clogs / jams the head, takes excessive force on the pump lever to free the jam, eventually breaking it, I figured a macerator would chew up whatever it is she is jamming the thing with.
I figure it has to be dry TP, she says no its not.
Good plan to convert to electric

I wouldn't have a manual toilet on my boat. Electric has two absolutely killer advantages -- macerates everything on the spot, so your black water lines don't have to deal with any real solids. I have no doubt that this dramatically reduces the risk of a clog. The other advantage is that electric makes it easy to get enough water through to completely clear the lines, essential for long term health of the system unless you are using fresh water flush.

But I wouldn't recommend the Sea Era.
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Old 19-10-2016, 05:17   #7
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Re: Raritan Sea Era Toilet Tips

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I am/was considering fresh water. Waiting to get watermaker before push-button head. They are both on the to-do list.
I bought one fresh and one seawater one, but was never able to install the fresh water one.

Fresh water flush will do a lot to prevent calcification of the black water lines. It's also supposed to be much better for odors, but I don't have any problem at all with odors, flushing with sea water. The key thing is just to use enough of it. I guess if I were using the holding tank much, fresh water would allow me to cut down on the volume of water used and that would be another advantage.

If I were starting over again, I guess I would do one of those with a remote sea water pump plus fresh water solenoid -- so you always have a choice. I would then normally use the sea water flush, but switch to fresh when using the holding tank. Also would be a snap to flush through the toilet with fresh water when leaving the boat for a while. Not that it's really hard with a sea water only toilet.

Not having a watermaker, I would definitely not want one which was fresh water only.
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Old 19-10-2016, 05:21   #8
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Re: Raritan Sea Era Toilet Tips

Another point about macerating electric toilets -- not only do they dramatically reduce the risk of clogs, they also eliminate "brown trout". This is better for the marine environment, for anyone feeling guilty about discharging close to shore (which is NOT illegal in most of Atlantic Europe).

In my opinion, it really makes sense to treat the waste this way, and it's one more reason why I would never have another manual toilet on any boat of mine.
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Old 19-10-2016, 06:05   #9
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Re: Raritan Sea Era Toilet Tips

My holding tanks are high with gravity discharge thru 60mm hose (40mm pump to tank). Never had a clog. But the holding tank height is part of my problem, I think. I have trouble convincing users to pump enough to empty the 5+' hose up to the tank. Jabsco Twist-and-Lock joker/foot valves when new do a good job, but they don't seem to last long. Hence, it's at least an annual ritual, sometimes more, to replace both joker and foot valves, along with lubrication several times a year.

My goal with electric is to never walk into the head and have backflow in the bowl from someone being lazy and not pumping enough.

Using fresh water vs salt water is only a little attractive. I've found the more use, the less the smell. Salt water only smells when it sits for a while.

Maybe I should look at Raritan manual pumps......
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Old 19-10-2016, 06:13   #10
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Re: Raritan Sea Era Toilet Tips

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My holding tanks are high with gravity discharge thru 60mm hose (40mm pump to tank). Never had a clog. But the holding tank height is part of my problem, I think. I have trouble convincing users to pump enough to empty the 5+' hose up to the tank. Jabsco Twist-and-Lock joker/foot valves when new do a good job, but they don't seem to last long. Hence, it's at least an annual ritual, sometimes more, to replace both joker and foot valves, along with lubrication several times a year.

My goal with electric is to never walk into the head and have backflow in the bowl from someone being lazy and not pumping enough.

Using fresh water vs salt water is only a little attractive. I've found the more use, the less the smell. Salt water only smells when it sits for a while.

Maybe I should look at Raritan manual pumps......
I agree completely about fresh vs sea water. Sea water doesn't smell if the toilet us used often and enough water is pumped through.


Concerning pumping up into your holding tank -- electric vs manual will not help with that. I have a similar problem, not from the holding tank, but from a high anti-siphon loop, and it drives me crazy.

I thought about a solenoid valve to stop the back flow, and then abandoned that idea when I visualized the incredibly nasty explosion which would take place if the valve failed (or the connection to it), while the toilet was trying to discharge

Still trying to think of a good solution. I hate the backflow. It's not nasty if you've pumped enough through, but it refills the toilet bowl -- not good on a mono subject to heeling
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Old 19-10-2016, 06:38   #11
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Re: Raritan Sea Era Toilet Tips

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I agree completely about fresh vs sea water. Sea water doesn't smell if the toilet us used often and enough water is pumped through.


Concerning pumping up into your holding tank -- electric vs manual will not help with that. I have a similar problem, not from the holding tank, but from a high anti-siphon loop, and it drives me crazy.

I thought about a solenoid valve to stop the back flow, and then abandoned that idea when I visualized the incredibly nasty explosion which would take place if the valve failed (or the connection to it), while the toilet was trying to discharge

Still trying to think of a good solution. I hate the backflow. It's not nasty if you've pumped enough through, but it refills the toilet bowl -- not good on a mono subject to heeling
You are destroying my wishes to create the utopia marine toilet! But, there is a bright side, you are saving me $500+ (times 2) for the Sea Era conversion.

The good news about the Jabsco, they are dead cheap and I can change/rebuild one in 10-15 minutes. Brand new pumps are ~$75, parts that wear out are maybe $30 a year.
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Old 19-10-2016, 06:53   #12
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Re: Raritan Sea Era Toilet Tips

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You are destroying my wishes to create the utopia marine toilet! But, there is a bright side, you are saving me $500+ (times 2) for the Sea Era conversion.

The good news about the Jabsco, they are dead cheap and I can change/rebuild one in 10-15 minutes. Brand new pumps are ~$75, parts that wear out are maybe $30 a year.
They would be brilliant, if they actually worked


I've had these. The best thing about them is you can keep an entire spare pump or even two on board, and change it in two minutes.

The worst thing, however, is that they are terrible. There is no leverage on the pump (unlike the Raritan PH), and it is immensely uncomfortable to move a small amount of water around with them. No way in hades to get guests or crew members to pump enough to clear the lines. They clog. They are flimsy and will spring a leak if someone puts a side load on them. In short, well you know.
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Old 19-10-2016, 06:53   #13
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Re: Raritan Sea Era Toilet Tips

One thing I like about the Fresh head is that adding water to the bowl and pumping out are separated, two completely different systems / valves. When you pump the handle you only pump out the bowl, adding water is a separate valve.
SO what I do when I leave the boat as I have at least a 10' run to the holding tank is to fill the bowl completely with water, then pump it dry, I think that does a decent job of flushing out the lines. We never get any back flow, I would assume that is an indication of a defective Joker?
I can't imagine a "brown trout" surviving going through a flapper valve, the pump and a joker valve? Even our TP is almost completely dissolved when we direct discharge, I have looked.
Only smell we get ever, is if your in the cockpit and the wind is just right and your using the holding tank, the odor from the vent can really get your attention, its foul.



I'm almost positive the with the Sea Era, the fresh water flush with the fancy panel, your add water can be separate from your flush
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Old 19-10-2016, 06:59   #14
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Re: Raritan Sea Era Toilet Tips

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One thing I like about the Fresh head is that adding water to the bowl and pumping out are separated, two completely different systems / valves. When you pump the handle you only pump out the bowl, adding water is a separate valve... .

You have this luxury without fresh water -- you just need the remote seawater pump version. I believe the Sea Era is available like that too.

But I believe I would do the dual fuel fresh/sea version anyway. I only have 130 liters of holding tank capacity. I don't need the holding tank all that much in the waters where I sail, but when I do use it, every liter of volume saved is precious.

Also rather nice to be able to do a fresh water rinse with the touch of a button.
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Old 19-10-2016, 08:10   #15
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Re: Raritan Sea Era Toilet Tips

I have had two Sea Era heads on our boat since 2006. We lived on the boat for four months each winter in the Virgin Islands and Bahamas. I plumbed the head with a single fresh water inlet switch and a separate exhaust switch so we can control the flow of water. Our holding tank is above the head but we only had fluids leaking past the joker valve a couple of times when unusual foreign objects went down the head. A new joker corrected the problem. I replaced the hose from the head to the holding tank with 1" solid PVC and the output from the holding tank with 1.5" PVC. The head never leaks and the system never smells.
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