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You know there are times when I think the service industry is going down the pan.

Right… the prologue

We had driven down to Chapel Lane caravan site to do a bit of partaking of the Christmas Markets in Birmingham and to do a bit of filming with the Venerable Andy Harris of motorhome fame (more about that in the next post though!). We had set up and I was pottering round outside sorting the guy ropes for the awning or the Christmas lights, I can’t remember which, when Sue popped her head out of the door and announced with some consternation… “The toilet won’t flush”

I went in and pushed the button… yep it wouldn’t flush, no pump noise, nothing. I emerged from the bathroom and announced “The toilet won’t flush” at which point Sue gave me the “did you think I was pushing the button wrong or something” look.

Right… check the fuses first, all OK. Out came the tool bag and the multimeter. Voltage going to the loo OK… check the fuse in the bottom of the loo behind the cassette. That was OK too.

Now I don’t believe in coincidences and it just so happened a couple of weeks before the caravan had been in to Glossop Caravans to have a spot of damp sorted and they had replaced the wall board that the loo backs onto. It’s got to be that I thought and said to Sue “I’ll bet it’s when they did the damp and took the loo out”

“Give them a ring now while they are still open”

I spoke to one of the service centre receptionists and they said they would get the workshop manager to ring me back and in due course he did. After a brief conversation he assured me it was nothing they had done and if the loo was getting voltage and the fuse in the loo was OK it must be the circuit board. While he was on the phone I managed one handed to peel back the Thetford sticker on the top of the loo and extract the circuit board. A quick voltage check of the pins that connect to the motor revealed that it was zero volts when the button was pushed.

“It defiantly the circuit board then” he said.

The old circuit board top, with the new one below.

The old circuit board top, with the new one below.

I thanked him and started thinking about our next move while answering an email from the afore mentioned Andy Harris. I just happened to say “loos not working need a new circuit board” and Andy emailed back “Try Jonathan at CAK Tanks” A quick phone call and they did have one in stock… just one. I asked them to reserve it and would pop over mid morning. CAK Tanks was only about 18 miles away and took us 30 minutes to get there. After some double checking to make sure it was the right board… Thetford had very usefully changed the part number and not told many people about it. Handily the new part number was a lot cheaper and it cost £19.36 including the non voluntary contribution to the Chancellor of the Exchequer.

Now, you remember when I said I don’t believe in coincidences.  For some reason I thought I’d just check the connections that Glossop Caravans service people would have disconnected.

Its easy to extract the connector through the hole in the floor of the cassette compartment and check the connections….


On checking the connections it was apparent that they had been connected the wrong way…. i.e reverse polarity!


The plug that was fitted by Thetford is designed to be connected one way, but the wiring harness in the caravan used two spade connectors that could be connected in any orientation and this time the person re-fitting the loo had a 50/50 chance of being right or wrong and in this case got it wrong. I re-connected the two space connectors the right way and went and fitted our old circuit board. It worked!

So the morel of this story is there are no such thing as coincidences and before setting out on a round trip of 36 miles and spending £19.36 on a new circuit board… check the polarity!

I think I’ll go a flush the loo again…. just because I can.