Fancy flushing toilets
February 7, 2005 4:44 AM   Subscribe

Autoflush-filter: My company's new building has fancy new toilets that are supposed to flush themselves. I get there early in the morning, and for a while, the toilets appear to be 'hyper', and will flush multiple times while on the throne. Later in the day, it's almost like they become 'fatigued', and sometimes fail to flush even once per use. I also seem to get them going when I wear striped or camo shirts to work. Anyone know how these little beauties work, and what might might be making for the variations noted?
posted by ackptui to Grab Bag (17 answers total)
 
Go have a pee, take a look at the sensor, and see what the manufacturer's name and part model number are. Then we can see how it works and whether there are reports of malfunctions.

Meanwhile, remember that you're not alone. Well, you're alone on the toilet, presumably. (Or is that the source of your troubles?)
posted by pracowity at 5:37 AM on February 7, 2005


All I can see on the unit are 'SLOAN' and 'Automatic'. The housing is transparent but very deep blue plastic, and has a rubber button on top for manual flush.
posted by ackptui at 6:11 AM on February 7, 2005


When I was a young punk employed by a certain organization, there was a service doorway you could enter to access the rear of the toilets, showers, and plumbing etc.

Gladly, there was a simple way to flush the toilets - any toilet - on demand while you were inside the service cavity.

Me and my punk mates used to regularly give people a wet-bum-surprise - especially the ladies (for obvious reasons).


ackptui, this is why your toilets flush and go "hyper". Punks like me work for you.
posted by uncanny hengeman at 6:21 AM on February 7, 2005


According to the Sloan web site...

"The Flushometer is triggered by means of an active infrared Sensor. The OPTIMA Plus Sensor emits a continuous invisible light beam. When a user enters the beam’s effective range, the beam is reflected into the OPTIMA Plus Scanner Window. The user is now detected. After the user moves out of the effective range of the Sensor, a signal is sent to the Flushometer Solenoid and, after appropriate arming and/or flush delays, the flush cycle is initiated."

So, when you move while seated on the throne, the sensor sees the light and dark patterns on your shirts and thinks you've left for greener pastures.

All this technology because some boneheads out there can't be bothered to flush after making a deposit.
posted by SteveInMaine at 6:35 AM on February 7, 2005


It's probably one of these.

You can download PDFs of specs, installation guides, and maintenance guides.

I'm wondering whether the batteries are good. Or... do you lean forward a lot, maybe messing about with your shoes, far enough to fool the toilet into thinking you've stood up? (I'm assuming it's not some bastard in a service area behind the toilets.)

In any case, try writing to these people:
techsupport@sloanvalve.com
and seeing if they have a suggestion.
posted by pracowity at 6:45 AM on February 7, 2005


Is there a window in the bathroom? I ask because there's a possibility that sunlight might be affecting the sensor's ability to perceive changes in the Ir lighting level.
posted by tommasz at 7:19 AM on February 7, 2005


This is the sort of thread that makes me proud to be alive.

My wife and I were discussing this very dilemma last night, albeit in a different form. As we lay in bed in the darkness, moonlight filtering in, our fine Lab at the foot of the bed, fingers intertwined, I lamented to her my horrid, frustrating experience on hospital rounds that am, where I barely made it in time to the commode before evacuating a volcanic stream of waste in varying states of solidity. As I sat doubled over with cramps, my hand flailed behind me in vain looking for some way, anyway, to find a way to trigger the fucking flush mechanism on the toilet to try and relieve the hideous funk I had created. Finally I had to get up and duck-walk three feet to the side to get it going. Her reply? "Do you have any idea how much shit gets aerosolized straight into your ass and face when you do that?"

Next time I'll wear camo.
posted by docpops at 7:54 AM on February 7, 2005


Do you have any idea how much shit gets aerosolized...

Always, always, always close the lid before flushing. Also, use toilet paper to open and close the lid and the door latch, which are exactly what all the shite-fingered people before you have touched. The toilet rim (maybe even your rim) is cleaner than the door latch.

As for the automatic flush, I wonder what happens if you hang something over the sensor?
posted by pracowity at 8:13 AM on February 7, 2005


Maybe your body position/behaviour on the throne changes over the day (as a consequence of sitting in front of a computer for hours, e.g.).
posted by carter at 8:50 AM on February 7, 2005


, use toilet paper to open and close the lid and the door latch, which are exactly what all the shite-fingered people before you have touched.

Why on earth would you have to do this if you just wash your hands afterwards? The door to the outside, yes, but not the door to the stall.
posted by agregoli at 9:11 AM on February 7, 2005


pracowity: I stopped an auto-toilet's continual flushing at the airport by doing just that: folding a piece of scrap paper over the sensor. When I stood up to go, I removed the paper, and presto. As for using a toilet paper buffer for the stall-door latch, jeez -- what agregoli said.
posted by Rash at 9:17 AM on February 7, 2005


Always, always, always close the lid before flushing. Also, use toilet paper to open and close the lid and the door latch, which are exactly what all the shite-fingered people before you have touched. The toilet rim (maybe even your rim) is cleaner than the door latch

Too much bother. I wear one of these.
posted by TimeFactor at 10:24 AM on February 7, 2005


pracowity - Unforunately, most public washrooms I've encountered don't have a toilet lid.
posted by raedyn at 11:53 AM on February 7, 2005


Why on earth would you have to do this if you just wash your hands afterwards?

Well, I could get someone else's shit on my hand and then wash it off, or I could just not touch it in the first place. I prefer the latter. Not that I'm not washing my hands afterward anyway, but then I'm only washing away my own dirt and germs, not everyone else's. What you do is up to you. Have fun with other people's crap on your hands.

Unforunately, most public washrooms I've encountered don't have a toilet lid.

Yes, that is bad. I was thinking of the toilets at work, which, at least where I work, have lids.
posted by pracowity at 12:59 PM on February 7, 2005


If you're going to wash your hands anyway, why worry about what you're touching? Touching a door latch and then washing your hands immediately is going to have the exact same effect as not touching it directly - I guess I just don't understand. Have fun with your pointless bathroom ritual.
posted by agregoli at 1:47 PM on February 7, 2005


Uncanny hengeman, I think I love you.
The toilets were I work have a delay. They do not flush until you are out of the stall.
As for the rapid fire/fatigues flushing, ackptui, are the toilets and fixtures cleaned every day, to your knowledge? If so, the spray kicked up from the repeated flushing cohld be covering and blocking the sensor.
As for the camo and stripes, someone upthread had the right idea- the light/dark alternation confuses the sensor.
posted by oflinkey at 5:48 PM on February 7, 2005


I don't hate many people, but the ones who won't flush a urinal make my list. I once worked at a small company where one guy always worked later than anyone else, always used the urinal before he left, and never, ever, flushed it. Me, I got in early, so I got to experience his legacy every morning. Mondays were the worst, with the little flies and all. Repeated request and reminders had no effect on the boob. Hate 'em.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 3:52 AM on February 8, 2005


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