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Old 07-29-2008, 08:21 AM   #1
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Black Tank Macerator Recommendations?

My 71 Tradewind has a leaking dump valve and is overdue for a change out. While I am in the bowels of my Aistream I wonder if I should replace the valve with a macerator? Questions:
1. Does a macerator replace the dump valve?
2. Pros and cons?
3. Other thouights and recommedations?

FYI My 71 does not have a gray water tank
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Old 07-29-2008, 08:29 AM   #2
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The macerator is definitely a good idea. Much rather wrestle a garden hose than a slinky.
You still must put in a drain valve, in case the pump needs to be serviced and the tank is full. I recommend putting in a tee, with the pump on one side and an "emergency off-loading valve" on the other leg.

There's a picture of this im my photo gallery.
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Old 07-29-2008, 08:37 AM   #3
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I think that...............

You would still want a valve. Some maceraters can be easily removed just as you would hook up a slinky sewer hose. Permanant instalation requires a vertically mounted dump valve. Mine comes out straight down.

Cons...You need power to run the macerator.

Pros.....You can dump into any toilet or Porta John, which are way easier to find than a dump station
They use a standard garden hose , which I think are easier
than the slinky, and they are longer than a slinky.

members please correct me if I am wrong
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Old 07-29-2008, 09:04 AM   #4
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No dump valve in my 56

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lumatic View Post
My 71 Tradewind has a leaking dump valve and is overdue for a change out. While I am in the bowels of my Aistream I wonder if I should replace the valve with a macerator? Questions:
1. Does a macerator replace the dump valve?
2. Pros and cons?
3. Other thouights and recommedations?

FYI My 71 does not have a gray water tank
I'm renovating a 56 caravanner and decided to skip the whole gravity drain system. Instead I installed a dometic t-pump (transfer pump) to discharge my black and grey tanks. Each has their own pump.

These pumps are diaphram pumps and are pretty heavy duty. Unlike a macerator, the pumps don't grind the poo but suck and pump it out of the tank. it works on my system since I have a vacuflush toilet that does the "grinding" of the waste prior to it being pumped out. Frankly speaking though, most times that black water is pretty fluid so I would not be surprised that a t-pump would work just fine.

The guy to call is Mike at Northeast Sanitation. Sealand Vacuflush - Holding Tank Vent Filter, General Ecology Products

Mike deals mostly with boats but could certainly point you in the right direction of what pump would be the best. I have no affiliation with Mike other than I bought my kit from him.

I have heard of guys using macerator pumps and the only draw backs that they say are:
- The pumps are not water tight so you cannot have it at the bottom of the tank without a valve or some other means of keeping the poo from leaking out.
- The macerators heat up and under heavy load will stop running to cool off. No harm is done, but the pump needs to cool before continuing.


HTH

Doug
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Old 07-29-2008, 12:24 PM   #5
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Neat idea, but I myself am sticking with the factory dump valves. This setup has worked in the RV industry for decades. Unless you regularly clog the system, I myself would be inclined to keep it the way it is, but that's just me.
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Old 07-29-2008, 12:59 PM   #6
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In my experience, mascerators work great when they work, but they are finickey and delicate. I had to replace no less than 5 this last season with burnt out motors (you have to buy the entire unit as they are not field serviceable!) or jammed, broken or distorted impeller fins. Too much paper in the tank will clog them and cause a motor overload. Sometimes they overheat and shut down before the damage occurs.....sometimes they just burn up!
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Old 07-29-2008, 03:14 PM   #7
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Just service the dump valve

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lumatic View Post
My 71 Tradewind has a leaking dump valve and is overdue for a change out. While I am in the bowels of my Aistream I wonder if I should replace the valve with a macerator?
I have a portable macerator which I used to use before building my full-hookup pad.

While I did not research the subject, it appears to me that if you mount a permanent macerator, you have to use it. I find it much faster to dump my 17 gallon tank directly into the sewer than to grind up everything slowly through a garden hose. Also, with a macerator in the way, you get no benefit from the tank emptying quickly through a a 3-inch pipe (like solids washing out).

I'd never part with my portable macerator though. Keeping it means I can offer full-hookup courtesy parking, and (if #1 Son is not hogging bandwidth) WIFI to Airstreamers passing through North AL.

Tom
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Old 07-29-2008, 03:22 PM   #8
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Try mascerating some prunes!

(the devil made me say it)
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Old 07-29-2008, 05:15 PM   #9
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If you eat prunes, you don't need a mascerator.
Al
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Old 07-29-2008, 05:20 PM   #10
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Even more potty humor

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If you eat prunes, you don't need a mascerator.
Al
There's still the TP...

Tom
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Old 08-04-2008, 01:37 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lumatic View Post
My 71 Tradewind has a leaking dump valve and is overdue for a change out. While I am in the bowels of my Aistream I wonder if I should replace the valve with a macerator? Questions:
1. Does a macerator replace the dump valve?
2. Pros and cons?
3. Other thouights and recommedations?

FYI My 71 does not have a gray water tank
Lumatic

Look at my macerator and waste hauling system when we get to the 4CU rally on Labor Day.
A leaking dump valve may be caused by paper between valve blade and seal.It is hard to clean out but can be done with out taking valve out.I have had this problem.
We can also talk about the pros & cons and I do have some cons
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Old 08-04-2008, 10:54 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lewster View Post
In my experience, mascerators work great when they work, but they are finickey and delicate. I had to replace no less than 5 this last season with burnt out motors (you have to buy the entire unit as they are not field serviceable!) or jammed, broken or distorted impeller fins. Too much paper in the tank will clog them and cause a motor overload. Sometimes they overheat and shut down before the damage occurs.....sometimes they just burn up!
Hi,

Not trying to be confrontational here but I am having a hard time dealing with the concept of 5 macerators going bad in a year. WOW!!!

Knowing that they are sold as intermittent duty pumps with the ability to "chew" small "soft" stuff into much smaller pieces I cannot help but wonder what is going into your black tank.

We fill our 40 gallon black tank every ten to fourteen days with just two of us in the trailer. I never let the pump run when there is not a full supply of liquid going into it; running it without sufficient liquid is a very good way to destroy the impeller blades that drive the pump. How many of your failures involved impeller failures?

And yes, running it for too long a period of time can cause it to overheat; ambient temperature plays a very big role in this area. If it is hot outside (80+) I never pump the tank in one go. I always stop and let the pump rest for a loooong period of time so the motor can cool. I also will set up a sun block so the unit is not in direct sunshine or time my chore so that the trailer shades the macerator when in use. How many were motor failures?

I have used our macerator more than 20 times to dump our black water tank. And this means that it then has to pump another 40 gallons of gray water when the black tank is empty as part of my hose cleaning procedure. Plus, and additional bit of fresh water once the gray water is empty.

Does the pump get warm? YES. But I monitor it as the instructions that came with it suggest and do not run it to the point that it overheats.

We use nothing but single ply tissue; I know many think this is not necessary but I'm a true believer. We've had too many septic tank problems thanks to guests who "don't get it" at places we've lived. I have never had a problem with tissue being "chewed" and pumped through the hose; it's 5/8" by the way.

For 5 months we were camped in my in laws driveway and we had to pump about 75+ feet uphill to a clean out about 24 inches above ground level at the house. We have never had a problem.

Now, having said all that it could be that the next time I pump the tank the macerator will die. It is just a mechanical device with a limited lifetime.

I suspect many people turn on the pump and walk away and do not make sure there is always lots of liquid going into the pump. And I suspect that many do not want to take the time it takes to let the pump cool before they carry on. And I suspect many don't alter their regimen when the ambient temperature is above 80 degrees.

And one last VERY important thing. I ran 6 gauge wire from my battery to my refer compartment where I connect the macerator. This too was in the instructions for the unit. Long wire runs with small gauge wire are a very good way to cause an electric motor to die an early death. Given the problems you have had I cannot help but wonder if you have insufficient voltage at the motor due to a long wire run with too small gauge wire. This certainly would cause lots of problems "chewing" things because the motor would not operate with sufficient amperage leading to all of the symptoms you have described.

Of course, I could be wrong.

As always, YMMV.

Jim
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Old 08-04-2008, 11:42 PM   #13
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another thought- try a Sewer Solution. I really like mine, just powered with a pressurized garden hose! google for their web site, camping word used to sell them also.
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Old 08-05-2008, 12:31 AM   #14
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Hi,

Not trying to be confrontational here but I am having a hard time dealing with the concept of 5 macerators going bad in a year. WOW!!!

Jim
I think what Lewster is saying is that 5 people hired him to replace their pumps.
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