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Old 28-08-2011, 05:02   #1
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The Best Marine Toilet

Hi..we recently fitted an electric head made by Jabsco. Reading discussion on the forum, it seems only a matter of time (and not necessarily much time) before it will fail. What do people think is the best marine toilet - manual or electric. We had a vacuum toilet on a previous boat and that seemed to work well. The vacuum was provided by a substantial hand operated pump. I think the brand was Lavac.
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Old 28-08-2011, 05:18   #2
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Re: The best marine toilet

Ive heard this story about many everyday items and i disagree
one friend told me not to get a laptop as the lid breaks off after 6 months, 9 years later, its still ok.

My jabsco electric flush is going well after 5 months but of course, i treat it with respect and guests who use it do so on the understanding they clean it out if they break it, so I see it lasting a long time.

On the other hand, if you treat it like a shoreside bog, you get what you give.
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Old 28-08-2011, 05:25   #3
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Re: The best marine toilet

We had two VacuFlush heads for five years while cruising full-time. The vaccum is created by a small electric motor that runs for 10 or 15 seconds after you flush. We never had any significant problems and obviously worked them out pretty hard. I cleaned a duck bill valve or two over time, but never had to replace one. Very rarely, I had to clear obstructions in the vaccum pump (toilet paper), but was able to do that without dismantling anything. I replaced one seal in the bottom of one head where the ball seated. I carried lots of spares, but really never had to use them. VacuFlush worked great for us. One possible negative (depending on your situation) is that the heads use fresh water. Fresh water keeps fouling very low and you don't get the sea water rotten egg smell, but you need a water maker to keep up with the fresh water demand. When you flush, the head uses about a pint of water, but that can add up.
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Old 28-08-2011, 05:42   #4
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Re: The best marine toilet

Just installed an RV toilet (only one moving part and totally silent).
Gravity fall into a small holding tank or just enough pipe with water in it that the macerator mounted in the sound insulated engine room pumps to the major holding tank (maceratoronly needs to be used evey 4-5 flushes).

I plumbed with fresh water but could easily have used salt water.

Its the quietest setup on a boat I've ever seen and the total price was about $250.

Works great...
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Old 28-08-2011, 05:47   #5
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Re: The best marine toilet

LAVAC!.........i2f
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Old 28-08-2011, 05:52   #6
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Re: The best marine toilet

Quote:
Originally Posted by anjou View Post
. . . My jabsco electric flush is going well after 5 months but of course, i treat it with respect and guests who use it do so on the understanding they clean it out if they break it, so I see it lasting a long time. . . .
I will second that as my Jabsco electric has been in service and is still working after 35 years. It still has its original motor but I have replaced seals and impellers several times.

For a good compromise there is the Raritan PHEII which is a basic hand pump toilet with an electric motor add-on. Should the motor fail, you slip out a single connecting bolt and then insert the pump hand and away you go.
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Old 28-08-2011, 06:37   #7
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Re: The best marine toilet

Quote:
Originally Posted by psneeld View Post
Just installed an RV toilet (only one moving part and totally silent).
Gravity fall into a small holding tank or just enough pipe with water in it that the macerator mounted in the sound insulated engine room pumps to the major holding tank (maceratoronly needs to be used evey 4-5 flushes).

I plumbed with fresh water but could easily have used salt water.

Its the quietest setup on a boat I've ever seen and the total price was about $250.

Works great...
psneeld,
Very clever! We have an Airstream with the simple, reliable RV toilet, and I've been thinking the same about using one on the boat. The macerator solves the liquid/solids transfer issue. Assuming that you activate the macerator manually, how do you monitor the level of the small receiving tank?
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Old 28-08-2011, 06:40   #8
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Re: The best marine toilet

Two words, Natures Head. No electric anything, no pump, no maserator, no holding tank, no hoses and very easy to maintain.
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Old 28-08-2011, 06:53   #9
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Re: The best marine toilet

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psneeld,
Very clever! We have an Airstream with the simple, reliable RV toilet, and I've been thinking the same about using one on the boat. The macerator solves the liquid/solids transfer issue. Assuming that you activate the macerator manually, how do you monitor the level of the small receiving tank?
It would depend on each particular setup but for me...every couple flushes and only takes a few seconds to pump clearing it out....
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Old 28-08-2011, 08:02   #10
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Re: The best marine toilet

Best manual toilets: Raritan PHII (PHC is the compact version that uses the same pump) or Lavac. Don't even THINK of adding an electric motor to either one!

Practical sailor recently rated the Raritan Marine Elegance "best in show" among macerating electric toilets and the Raritan SeaEra "best budget buy."

You can read all about the Raritans here: Raritan Toilets

And all about the Lavac here: Lavac Marine Toilets
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Old 28-08-2011, 08:23   #11
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Re: The best marine toilet

My 2c
Jabsco electric are great
if you jamb it up, reverse the wires to run the motor backwards for just a second
do not put anything in the toilet other than what comes out of your body
do not use toilet paper, wash yourself with a small spray on a hose [ imagine how pleasant it would be if instead of bathing people would just wipe themselves with a piece of dry paper once or twice a day ]
plumb your toilet directly to a large holding tank and pump out only where appropriate
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Old 28-08-2011, 08:30   #12
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Re: The Best Marine Toilet

I would not dare have anything but a Wilcox and Crittenden Skipper head onboard with the number of strangers that I have onboard. It's a real shame it has been discontinued. The last price I saw was $1000 for one. It has no plastic parts to break or small orifices to clog. Pretty much the whole thing is silicon bronze or porcelin.

You might be able to find one used. There are rebuild kits still available.
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Old 28-08-2011, 08:37   #13
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Re: The Best Marine Toilet

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Old 28-08-2011, 08:44   #14
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Re: The Best Marine Toilet

best manual toilet i ever found was a baby blake. for the money, it better be.
these days any toilet that reliably functions is the best. but i will not have a composting head as they are not what i want in my boat.
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Old 28-08-2011, 08:47   #15
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Re: The best marine toilet

Quote:
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Two words, Natures Head. No electric anything, no pump, no maserator, no holding tank, no hoses and very easy to maintain.
I'd agree with this; I'm a big composting head fan. We had a Lavac previously. In theory I really liked it, but the hoses would clog every year or two and although it's better than other wet systems it's still a wet system itself.

A couple that went cruising for a few years in the Carribean I spoke with told me they had the cheapo Raritan PHII plumed for direct discharge. They replaced the head and all the hoses every year whether they needed to or not.
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