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Old 10-09-2011, 01:34 PM   #1
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Manual or Electric Head

There is a good thread on this *over in the "Californian" section, which should probably live here. (It's Electric vs Manual heads.) In any event I was asking the question on any recommendations for a manual toilet that would be reliable and quiet.

The Raritan PHII seems to come highly recommended but I'm wondering if anyone has any other suggestions?*

I'm replacing the entire head system from the raw water inlet through hull through to the toilet & holding tanks discharge through hulls.
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Old 10-09-2011, 01:37 PM   #2
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RE: Manual or Electric Head

I'll second the Raritan PHII. Have two of them and have worked flawlessly for 8-9 years.
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Old 10-09-2011, 01:53 PM   #3
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Manual or Electric Head

Quote:
Keith wrote:
I'll second the Raritan PHII. Have two of them and have worked flawlessly for 8-9 years.
*

I can also recommend the PHII, having one on this boat, and also having had one on my sailboat.* I've only had one minor problem (this boat).* The small air-vent valve was damaged, making pumping harder than I knew it should be.* The valve was easily replaced with a new part that has an improved design. ** This is not a part that's in the repair kit, but it was easy to buy.


-- Edited by bobc on Sunday 9th of October 2011 01:54:29 PM
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Old 10-09-2011, 04:39 PM   #4
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RE: Manual or Electric Head

Thanks Keith & Bob for your ringing endorsements Of the Raritan PHII!

Marin waxed eleoquent about his Groco EB which also captured my interest, although I gather it is long out of production. Their WH model looks intriquing although it appears to be 2.5 x as expensive as the Raritan. Anyone have any thoughts on it?
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Old 10-09-2011, 09:42 PM   #5
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RE: Manual or Electric Head

I think you mean the Model K...Groco's never made a 'WH" model toilet. The K is the last remaining bronze "throne" still made in the US...and it's all that bronze that accounts accounts for a good portion of the price difference between it and the Raritan PH II. The PH II, and also its predecessor the PH, have been rated best manual toilet in its class for more than 20 years.

Which to buy is strictly a matter of taste...bronze vs plastic. They're both exceptionally durable/reliable...the PH II not only has a much lower purchase price but also costs a lot less to maintain.

However, I suggest that before you rule out electric, you take a VERY hard look at the Raritan Elegance http://www.raritaneng.com/products/t...e_elegance.htm recently rated "best in show" by Practical Sailor in a comparison of all the most popular makes/models...can be found for as little as $600 with the most desirable options.
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Old 10-09-2011, 09:48 PM   #6
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RE: Manual or Electric Head

Do you mean the Groco Model KH? They don't make a WH. I have had a Groco Model KH on my boat for more than twenty years. I think I've only put one repair kit in it in that time and a few joker valves. It is one of the last of the bronze toilets still in production. The KH comes with a household size bowl which I really prefer to the smaller marine size bowls. As good as the Groco EB was, the K is even better. The EB uses a large rubber diaphram that eventually fails. The K uses a bronze piston with piston rings that outlast the EB diaphram. The K and EB use an almost identical inlet valve system with many common parts. The English made Blake seems to be well thought of. Of the plastic toilets the PHII seems to be the best currently on the market. I've been selling and occasionally repairing marine toilets for about forty years. Peggy Hall, our Head Mistress, (Peggy is that better than toilet lady?) will endorse the PHII as well.
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Old 10-09-2011, 09:50 PM   #7
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RE: Manual or Electric Head

I see Peggie types faster than I do!
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Old 10-10-2011, 04:29 AM   #8
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RE: Manual or Electric Head

The Groco K is still the king of manuals.

Electric heads are for folks that have tons of guests , that are lubbers.

"Push the Button" is fine as the boat is usually at the slip , so can be pumped often.
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Old 10-11-2011, 10:07 PM   #9
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RE: Manual or Electric Head

Hi there folks. Thanks for all of your help; of course I meant the Groco K-H model, no idea how the WH crept in.

We have decided to go with the Raritan PHII model as it looks to be *the right one to go with for our cruising style.

Peggie, thanks for the suggestion re the Elegance; I went back to my Practical Sailor issue and read up on it and it looks great although we were pretty set on a manual system at this time for reliability and quietness. No more reveille in the wee hours I hope!

*
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Old 10-12-2011, 04:29 AM   #10
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RE: Manual or Electric Head

Heads dont eat much water , so using the FW supply will cut down on maint a great deal.
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Old 10-12-2011, 08:49 AM   #11
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RE: Manual or Electric Head

You'll be happy with it. Just don't ever even THINK of putting an electric motor on i... That'll turn an outstanding manual toilet into one of the poorest excuses for an electric toilet on the planet!
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Old 10-12-2011, 09:50 AM   #12
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Manual or Electric Head

Does anybody have the Blakes levac on their boat? I'm curious if they are as problem free as advertised.


-- Edited by Sailor of Fortune on Wednesday 12th of October 2011 09:51:15 AM
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Old 10-12-2011, 08:33 PM   #13
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RE: Manual or Electric Head

They do work every bit as advertised. However, "close the lid, pump six times, release the vacuum" (which doesn't always release immediately after use) is so intimidating to children and landlubbers that the Lavac is really much better suited for use by liveaboard cruising adults than by "weekend warriors" who often have landlubber guests.
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Old 10-12-2011, 09:50 PM   #14
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RE: Manual or Electric Head

Quote:
Conrad wrote:
Marin waxed eleoquent about his Groco EB which also captured my interest, although I gather it is long out of production.
The EB was a fine marine toilet in its day and our two*still work very, very well.* However as Hopcat mentioned, there was definitely room for improvement in the design.* But ours still work, rebuild kits are still available, so we have not found any reason to go shopping for replacements.

I will second Peggie's statement about not making a manual toilet "electric" by putting a motor on it to run the manual lever arm.* Our EBs are set up this way and when they run you can hear and feel them in the next county.* To say nothing of the fact the big pump motor and*eccentric mechanism*just wail away on the lever arm and pump diaphram.* We disconnected the*connecting arm from the motor gearbox within weeks of getting the boat and have*run them manually ever since.

I don't know if the Groco K shares the same dimensions, mouting bolt patterns, and intake and discharge configuration as the EB.* But if they are physically similar, were our EBs to truly fail, like a cracked casting or whatever, I might be inclined to shop for a good used K or two as opposed to going with a brand new toilet.
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Old 10-12-2011, 10:50 PM   #15
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Manual or Electric Head

I don't think the bolt pattern on the K is the same as the EB. Don't worry, as long as Groco keeps making the rubber parts you can keep the EB working.


-- Edited by HopCar on Wednesday 12th of October 2011 10:51:04 PM
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Old 10-13-2011, 04:43 AM   #16
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RE: Manual or Electric Head

The Lavac works fine , but the pump selected is more British Junk. Tho it is easy to clear.

The Lavac bowl with an Edison 1 1/2 pump would be a close to perfection .

I went one step closer to perfection with a WWII monel liberty ship bowl with a 2 in Bronze offset Edison.

The unit has needed no maint in 30 years , BUT it pumps a gallon a stroke , so holding tanks get a workout.
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Old 11-16-2011, 07:34 PM   #17
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Manual or Electric Head

After a number of back and forths, it looks like we are going to stay with our current configuration. The Raritans simply would not fit (this is a 32 footer) and the yard convinced me to stay with the low end Jabsco electric rather than manual as it fills the holding tank at a slower rate. The rational for this is that the macerator on an electric toilet mashes up the "stuff' better than a manual flush so you don't have to get all of the "stuff into the tank rather than plug the line.

Their view also is that the raw water pump supplying the head is shot, causing low water levels in the toilet which amplifies the sound. I hope they're right.


-- Edited by Conrad on Wednesday 16th of November 2011 08:44:02 PM
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Old 11-16-2011, 09:20 PM   #18
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RE: Manual or Electric Head

Quote:
Conrad wrote:

After a number of back and forths, it looks like we are going to stay with our current configuration. The Raritans simply would not fit (this is a 32 footer) and the yard convinced me to stay with the low end Jabsco electric rather than manual as it fills the holding tank at a slower rate. The rational for this is that the macerator on an electric toilet mashes up the "stuff' better than a manual flush so you don't have to get all of the "stuff into the tank rather than plug the line.

Their view also is that the raw water pump supplying the head is shot, causing low water levels in the toilet which amplifies the sound. I hope they're right.

-- Edited by Conrad on Wednesday 16th of November 2011 08:44:02 PM
*They aren't...about anything.

Apparently you didn't notice that there's a compact version of the PH II--the PHC.*** Raritan PHC * It's a PH II pump on a compact base and with a shorter handle to fit in the same space as a Jabsco manual and other compact manuals...so if you have any manual toilet in there now, the PHC WILL fit.* Like the PH II, the pump can be mounted on either side of the bowl.

A "low end" electric toilet will actually fill up the holding tank FASTER than a manual...'cuz, unlike a manual it has no "dry" flush mode...so flush water flows for as long as you keep your finger on the flush button.

The rational for this is that the macerator on an electric toilet mashes up the "stuff' better than a manual flush so you don't have to get all of the "stuff into the tank rather than plug the line.

That's not really true either...solid waste is 75% water, so it dissolves very quickly IN water...and going through the pump breaks it up...so clogs from anything other than something that shouldn't have been flushed and wouldn't make it through an electric toilet either are VERY rare. And you DO have make sure every flush goes ALL the way into the tank if you don't want stinking hoses...'cuz waste left to sit in hoses permeates them, resulting in the stinking hoses.

Their view also is that the raw water pump supplying the head is shot, causing low water levels in the toilet which amplifies the sound

That doesn't even make sense!* ALL raw water electric toilets are noisy...some noisier than others. That's because, contrary to what most people (including your yard, apparently) falsely assume, it's not the discharge impeller and macerator that makes most of* the noise, it's the INTAKE impeller....and if the intake impeller were "shot," it simply wouldn't bring in any flush water...it would make LESS noise. If your toilet has a single flush button that simultaneously brings in flush water and discharges bowl contents, the same motor powers both the intake pump and the discharge pump and macerator...so it's gonna make the same amount of noise with or without flush water.* Toilets designed to use onboard pressurized fresh water are much quieter because they don't have an intake pump...a solenoid valve opens and closes to supply flush water.

So I'm afraid your yard doesn't really know much about marine toilets and sanitation systems.

However, If you want to go with a basic electric, the Raritan SeaEra** Raritan Sea Era is your best choice...rated "best budget buy" by Practical Sailor in their February issue this year.* It's available in both raw water and* fresh water versions, as a complete toilet or as a "conversion" (everything but the bowl, seat and lid), * Raritan Sea Era Conversion which reduces both the price and the shipping cost considerably...'cuz toilet bowls are HEAVY.* Note that it can be installed to discharge out either side or the back, which makes it easy to fit on any boat.
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Old 11-16-2011, 10:58 PM   #19
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RE: Manual or Electric Head

Quote:
HeadMistress wrote:Conrad wrote:

After a number of back and forths, it looks like we are going to stay with our current configuration. The Raritans simply would not fit (this is a 32 footer) and the yard convinced me to stay with the low end Jabsco electric rather than manual as it fills the holding tank at a slower rate. The rational for this is that the macerator on an electric toilet mashes up the "stuff' better than a manual flush so you don't have to get all of the "stuff into the tank rather than plug the line.

Their view also is that the raw water pump supplying the head is shot, causing low water levels in the toilet which amplifies the sound. I hope they're right.

-- Edited by Conrad on Wednesday 16th of November 2011 08:44:02 PM
*They aren't...about anything.

Apparently you didn't notice that there's a compact version of the PH II--the PHC.*** Raritan PHC * It's a PH II pump on a compact base and with a shorter handle to fit in the same space as a Jabsco manual and other compact manuals...so if you have any manual toilet in there now, the PHC WILL fit.* Like the PH II, the pump can be mounted on either side of the bowl.

A "low end" electric toilet will actually fill up the holding tank FASTER than a manual...'cuz, unlike a manual it has no "dry" flush mode...so flush water flows for as long as you keep your finger on the flush button.

The rational for this is that the macerator on an electric toilet mashes up the "stuff' better than a manual flush so you don't have to get all of the "stuff into the tank rather than plug the line.

That's not really true either...solid waste is 75% water, so it dissolves very quickly IN water...and going through the pump breaks it up...so clogs from anything other than something that shouldn't have been flushed and wouldn't make it through an electric toilet either are VERY rare. And you DO have make sure every flush goes ALL the way into the tank if you don't want stinking hoses...'cuz waste left to sit in hoses permeates them, resulting in the stinking hoses.

Their view also is that the raw water pump supplying the head is shot, causing low water levels in the toilet which amplifies the sound

That doesn't even make sense!* ALL raw water electric toilets are noisy...some noisier than others. That's because, contrary to what most people (including your yard, apparently) falsely assume, it's not the discharge impeller and macerator that makes most of* the noise, it's the INTAKE impeller....and if the intake impeller were "shot," it simply wouldn't bring in any flush water...it would make LESS noise. If your toilet has a single flush button that simultaneously brings in flush water and discharges bowl contents, the same motor powers both the intake pump and the discharge pump and macerator...so it's gonna make the same amount of noise with or without flush water.* Toilets designed to use onboard pressurized fresh water are much quieter because they don't have an intake pump...a solenoid valve opens and closes to supply flush water.

So I'm afraid your yard doesn't really know much about marine toilets and sanitation systems.

However, If you want to go with a basic electric, the Raritan SeaEra** Raritan Sea Era is your best choice...rated "best budget buy" by Practical Sailor in their February issue this year.* It's available in both raw water and* fresh water versions, as a complete toilet or as a "conversion" (everything but the bowl, seat and lid), * Raritan Sea Era Conversion which reduces both the price and the shipping cost considerably...'cuz toilet bowls are HEAVY.* Note that it can be installed to discharge out either side or the back, which makes it easy to fit on any boat.

*Darn. I was hoping you'd respond Peggie, but I was also hoping that we were on the right track!

I had specifically requested that they look at the smaller Raritan but was told that it was too big - the handle was the problem. And since I wasn't there at the time (some of this is being done long distance) I had no reason to doubt them.

More discussions to be had. Thanks again for your wise counsel Peggie.*

The saga continues, but definitely best to do it right.
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Old 11-17-2011, 06:28 AM   #20
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RE: Manual or Electric Head

What I did was think outside the box.* When I had to redo my shot sanitation system I wanted a few things different than most marine systems offer.* After living in my RV for a year I new what I liked about similar systems that I think the marine industry could learn from.

One thing I did was redesign the heads. I used RV toilets that drop(flush) vertically into small holding tanks under the deck and then macerators move to a large holding tank (I haven't yet but may relocate it high enough so it can gravity drain so I need one less macerator).

The advantage of RV heads is they are foot flush (easy to use), use little water and are virtually silent. No noise in the middle of the night and only a soft whir when you empty the small holding tanks to the larger one once a day or so. If your boat can handle large holding tanks under or nearly under the toilets...then the system can be simpler.

Before the "too much fresh water" guys get on me...my system can be easily plumbed to accept fresh or salt with a couple of valves labeled "dock" and "sea"...but I carry 200 gal fresh so I'm not worried yet or could even use milk jugs of salt if really on a water diet and haven't plumbed the salt yet.

Another plus...the RV toilets are inexpensive. Each head renovation cost me less than $200 with toilet and plumbing.



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