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Old 08-19-2015, 11:54 AM   #1
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Raritan salt feed issues???

We have a Raritan electroscan with salt feed.

I was wondering if anybody else has had issues of overfilling using their salt feed system??? The symptom of this problem is that we are using MUCH more salt than would be rational based on the usage of the electroscan.

I have worked extensivly with the factory support team at Raritan whom are great BTW, but there has been no resolution. The reason for this is not because of any problem with the Raritan equipment, per se, it is a problem with how their equipment integrates into my boats potable water system.

So... Here's the results of my research into this frustrating issue.

The Raritan salt feed system keeps a level of water in a container similar to a 5 gallon bucket. In that bucket goes the Solar Salt. The electroscan when it has a low amperage condition powers a small pump which moves the concentrated salt water into the electroscan facilitating waste treatment.

The problem is that occasionally the float valve in the salt feed tank sticks causing the salt tank to overflow into the bilge via its overflow hose. Replacing the float valve did not help.

I isolated the problem to the fact that Raritan uses a Hudson Valve Co compact float valve.



The challenge is that this float valve relies on water pressure to keep it closed. Even if the water level is at the target level the valve will open if the water pressure drops dramatically. A good example of this pressure drop is if two high usage faucets are used on the boat at the same time.

My first step was to replace my water pump with a higher flow unit. The largest 12V pump i could find was a 60 psi 6 GPM pump. That did great for my water pressure but did not solve the overflow and salt usage problem.

So, my next step is to replace the float valve. After doing allot of searching and pondering I decided to just use a float switch and solenoid valve. This is in part due to the compact nature of the float valve needed. I am certain this will solve the original problem.

So, has anybody else experienced what they feel is excessive salt usage out of their Raritan salt feed system? If so, possibly this can help you as well.
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Old 08-19-2015, 12:45 PM   #2
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I hooked mine into the salt water washdown system...no problems noted so far...


I go all week without adding salt as the water entering the tank is already the salinity of salt water...yet still gives low amps warning quite often without the salt feed.


I figure about 40 pounds (a bag) of salt every 2 months where I am for the summer...more as I travel and pass though fresh and brackish areas.


What float switch are you using? 12V and 12V solenoid valve?
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Old 08-19-2015, 12:53 PM   #3
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I hooked mine into the salt water washdown system...no problems noted so far...


I go all week without adding salt as the water entering the tank is already the salinity of salt water...yet still gives low amps warning quite often without the salt feed.


I figure about 40 pounds (a bag) of salt every 2 months where I am for the summer...more as I travel and pass though fresh and brackish areas.


What float switch are you using? 12V and 12V solenoid valve?
I was having to refill the tank every couple of days and going through a 40 lb bag of salt in less than a week.

For the float switch I bought a Madison M8800 and for the solenoid valve I'm using a ASCO red hat unit.

Just got these in, and will be installing in the next couple of days.

I thought of several ideas to solve this issue before deciding on this solution. One thought was a dedicated pressure pump. Another was a air bladder and a check valve.
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Old 08-19-2015, 01:10 PM   #4
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The answer to my question to Raritan about how many flushes using fresh water and salt feed was 40 flushes from a full tank.


That should be about 160 flushes per bag of salt.
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Old 08-19-2015, 01:19 PM   #5
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I'm not even in that range of salt use.
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Old 08-19-2015, 01:51 PM   #6
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Assuming you are using way more salt? Have you logged how many flushes per tank/pounds salt?


How much salt do you put in at a time? The recommended amount seems pretty small...a little vague if I remember correctly.
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Old 08-19-2015, 02:01 PM   #7
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I have not logged the flushes per filling.

The book says 10 lbs per load on the salt.

With the overflow issue I can load it up then the next morning I'm getting low amp alarms. Look into the unit and no salt left but tank is at overflow level.

Sometimes I have observed water running out of the overflow until i turn off the supply to it to kinda "reset" the float valve.
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Old 08-19-2015, 02:13 PM   #8
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I dread the same.....fiddling with a new system supposed to make life easier...


I love it when I get flack for trying to do manufacturers one better...even though their "new", "well engineered" product doesn't perform as advertised....then we have to reengineer it because the "techs" are out of answers.


Fortunately, speaking with other experienced, smart boaters...I just decided to keep the salt toilets and hook the salt tank t the salt water washdown/head supply system.
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Old 08-19-2015, 02:53 PM   #9
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I have the same problem. I have replaced the float switches well per tartan. No fix. I am sure they have had many complaints so you think they would come out with a retrofit kit. Let us know how this works with pictures of how you do the installation. Thanks much.
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Old 08-19-2015, 03:00 PM   #10
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YES!!!

I figured I was not the only one!

I'll be doing the modification later this week. Will post photos of it, and the results.

On this issue, its easy for Raritan to say, not a problem with their equipment and they would be right.

Then again...

Boat water pressure is not a given, like in a house. For example when my washer is filling, that takes ALL the water from our pump. I have even thought about restricting the flow to the washer for this very reason.
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Old 08-20-2015, 06:58 AM   #11
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Thanks Kevin. If you could include how you choose to wire the solenoid also that will help. I will go with a similar setup if it works for you. In my case the valve is not shutting off sometimes and when that occurs I drian a lot of takn water into my sump and then overboard. Since I do not have a working watermaker that is a big deal. On shore power I have a large AC pump with alot of pressure and do not have the issue.
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Old 08-20-2015, 11:08 PM   #12
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I'm in fresh water. I threw out the Raritan 5 gal bucket and converted a small herbicide sprayer tank designed to be carried on an ATV. I installed a float valve to control potable water inflow to maintain level at about 2/3 tank. It will hold 30# salt. Raritan instructions cover how to wire the tank pump to deliver brine on demand.
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Old 08-20-2015, 11:23 PM   #13
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ill be doing the mod this weekend and will follow up with photos, etc...

The float switch will drive a 12V relay that will run the solenoid valve.
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Old 08-21-2015, 10:34 PM   #14
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Well, the problem is solved!!!

What I did was to replace the Hudson float valve with a float switch.

This float switch powered a 12V relay.

The relay powers an ASCO Solenoid valve.

The end result is a salt feed system that will not overflow, wasting valuable water and salt.

As you can see all I have left to do is add a hose clamp to the water tube and I'll be good to go!

All total about three hours labor.
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Old 08-21-2015, 11:40 PM   #15
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Interesting solution

A problem I'm having is Calcium build up actually closing off my through hull. My original Galley Maid toilets used a 1" bronze through hull. According to Raritan electrifying the brine solution calcifies the water creating a calcium rich solution. Regular acid flushes are supposed to handle this problem. Maybe so but I have blown up two of the mixing tanks so far. The old Galley Maid toilets use positive displacement pump which moves a lot of water. To much according to Raritan. That combined with the calcium plugging the through hull has had disastrous consequences. I will be changing to new toilets with 1.4 gallon flush cycles. My brine tank it totally different from Ksanders a flimsy square unit with a snap on top. no problem yet with the float, yet.
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Old 08-22-2015, 01:01 AM   #16
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A problem I'm having is Calcium build up actually closing off my through hull. My original Galley Maid toilets used a 1" bronze through hull. According to Raritan electrifying the brine solution calcifies the water creating a calcium rich solution. Regular acid flushes are supposed to handle this problem. Maybe so but I have blown up two of the mixing tanks so far. The old Galley Maid toilets use positive displacement pump which moves a lot of water. To much according to Raritan. That combined with the calcium plugging the through hull has had disastrous consequences. I will be changing to new toilets with 1.4 gallon flush cycles. My brine tank it totally different from Ksanders a flimsy square unit with a snap on top. no problem yet with the float, yet.
Steve, I think you have the newer model tank, probably with a different valve.

I'll be watching for flow issues, but we have the standard 1.5" through hull. We do not have direct head to electrosan flow. We have a 15 gallon holding tank that uses a macerator pump to move waste to the electroscan.

All I'm hoping for is no more trouble with the salt tank. Fingers crossed.
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Old 08-22-2015, 06:50 AM   #17
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Kevin, great job!
Where did you pull the 12 volts for the relay and the 12 volts for the solenoid? I was thinking of pulling the 12 for this from the 12volt feed on the main lectra san? Also was the current rating not sufficient to be able to run the 12 volts for the solenoid direct through the float? And last question, I hope , what relay did you use? Thanks much.
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Old 08-22-2015, 11:07 AM   #18
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Kevin, great job!
Where did you pull the 12 volts for the relay and the 12 volts for the solenoid? I was thinking of pulling the 12 for this from the 12volt feed on the main lectra san? Also was the current rating not sufficient to be able to run the 12 volts for the solenoid direct through the float? And last question, I hope , what relay did you use? Thanks much.
I used the main electroscan feed and a inline fuse for the power.

Actually I set up my electroscan at installation to receive its power from a set of buss bars. That way I could more easily tap into the power feed for things like the macerator, and the hold n treat controller.

The solenoid valve says 6 watts for the coil. I did not take a ohm meter reading though, so thats from the label. The float switch is only rated fro 500MA I beleive, so I used a 12V relay.

The distance from the hudson valve float line to the top of the tank was 6.75". Since the float switch is shorter I added a 2" extension, shown in the photos.

When I tested it, the water came to just below the white plastic unit that the salt rests on. I beleive that the two for lack of a better word inserts in that unit provide what Raritan considers to be the proper amount of salt in contact with the water to provide the brine solution.

If you look at the photos of the tank, the water level is artificially high due to my testing of the unit.
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Old 08-28-2015, 11:55 AM   #19
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For anyone concerned...just got off the phone with Raritan.


My salt feed unit was installed in May.


It started slowly overfilling....maybe a cup or two a day...but the drumming of the saltwater washdown pump that feeds the tank was notifying me something was amiss.


Turns out the little rubber stopper that is like the needle valve in a carb became deformed enough to leak a bit.


Raritan said they would send me a newly designed system (just out last month) and all I was responsible for was returning the old part.


In the mean time, I wiped everything down put a tiny spacer under the deformed stopper and everything is working like new.


Hate to send back a system I now know and can fix easily that is very simple...but hoping the new one will be longer living between maintenance cycles.


Just info... if anyone having issues as Raritan said they were getting calls.


If the new one doesn't last, I'll will be redesigning yet another manufacturer issue like Kevin.
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Old 08-28-2015, 12:07 PM   #20
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FWIW, Dave "The Head Guy" Rigby strongly recommends ditching the saltwater injection system and just throw some salt into the bowl. But maybe the new, new design is less failure-prone.
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