Electric Head

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Joined: Tue May 18, 2004 10:23 pm
Location: Boston, MA (36072)

Re: Electric Head

Post by Loki » Sun Jun 12, 2016 12:42 pm

Well, I'm a lot late on this thread ...
A few years ago I replaced my Lavac head with a Raritan Elegance electric head. We've been extremely happy with the new head but there were a lot of twists and turns (literally, as it turned out) along the way.

First, about the Lavac - I loved the Lavac in principal but it never functioned quite right. The pressure needed on the pump was so high my wife had trouble pumping. I replaced the pump with an electric, but it would fail to produce enough vacuum and I ended up taking it all apart every month to clear it. Not Fun! However, after I gave up on it, purchased the Raritan, and started pulling it all apart I discovered the problem - the installer at PDQ had failed to realize that the base could be pivoted in any direction and so ran about 30 feet of sanitation hose forward under the locker near the chart table and around back under the sink, down to the bilge, up to the pump, down to the bilge again, then up again to get into the holding tank. Its a wonder it ever worked at all! If the base had been rotated 90 degrees, it would have been a straight shot to the pump.

Although I gave up on the Lavac, I did pull out as much of the old hose I could get at. The new hose goes aft out the base of the head, into the space near the shower door mount and up. It passes through the shower high, near the towel rack, through a large PVC pipe, and on into the engine compartment and aft into the steering area and into the holding tank. The vertical section from the head is 3/4 in (I think) to minimize the volume of backflow. After that, its the normal 1.5 inch, angled downward all the way to the holding tank. The PVC running through the shower isn't exactly pretty but its a solid handhold and added drying rack and certainly better than raw hose. This system works great and I'm sure the Lavac would work fine if it were plumbed this way.

And now for the Raritan - I mounted the Raritan facing the sink - not facing aft as the picture above shows. There is barely enough room but it works. The downside though is that the shower door doesn't have quite enough room to swing as much as one would like. With the new plumbing setup it works flawlessly. Its been 5 maintenance free years now and I finally had to clear out the joker valve - I just purchased some replacements since the old ones leak back a bit. I did, however have a serious problem with the fancy power controller. The first once failed - I forget the what it was doing but definitely not working. Raritan sent me a replacement which worked beautifully for a few weeks, and then failed in an continuous cycle mode. If I had left it unattended, it would have filled the holding tank and proceeded to flood the boat! Needless so say, this was not acceptable and I wasn't going to allow a replacement near the boat! I replaced it with two heavy duty starter switches, one to fill and one to empty, which work just fine. This is far superior than the automatic which has to be setup with either an "overkill" pumping time (which in fact will sometimes still not be enough) or a compromise which will never be quite right. The fully manual system is exactly what I want.

One last note: the old Lavac, with various pumps and parts is sitting in my garage. Shipping would be a pain, but if anyone near Boston is interested, make an offer!
Jeff Morris, Loki 36072

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