Cruisers Forum
 


Join CruisersForum Today

Reply
 
Thread Tools Rate Thread Display Modes
Old 19-11-2010, 17:19   #301
Registered User

Join Date: Oct 2010
Posts: 679
Quote:
Originally Posted by 4arch View Post
Some of us don't have that option. My cruising grounds are the Chesapeake Bay. I'd have to sail 175 miles to get to the three mile line!
Okay, fair point that. I guess there has to be some penalty for having such amazing cruising grounds.
__________________

__________________
Wand is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 19-11-2010, 17:26   #302
Registered User

Join Date: Oct 2010
Posts: 679
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tellie View Post
More personal observations and opinions...I just recently emptied my AirHead for about the sixth time.
Thanks tellie, i agree with minggat re yr testimonial but just one thing further. Could you run through in the same detail the emptying process(es) mentioned above. Cheers.
__________________

__________________
Wand is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 21-11-2010, 15:58   #303
Registered User

Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: Wells, Vt
Boat: 42ft Colvin Gazelle - TLA HLA
Posts: 504
Quote:
Originally Posted by At sea View Post
Thanks for those responses to my post. I want to believe because simple systems are always the best but alas haven't got there yet.

To conradg, nice story but i'd query why the holding tank load wasn't dumped with a flick of the y-valve at the three mile mark on the first day of the journey, and direct discharge used thereafter. Would've saved a big fun cleanup. Also, allowing a cracked plumbing hose to remain in situ is just faulty maintenance, is it not? Lucky the crack was there and not in the standing rigging.
.
This time (not my boat) the crack was in the pump housing. According to the owner it had happenned before. When discovered we were a day out and there wasn't a replacement aboard. In fact, we couldn't find one in Bermuda. And, yes, better the head than the rigging! (There is always the bucket! ) On this setup the head pumps into the tank which can then be discharged overboard. It always needs the pump no matter what....and furthermore, the pump is proptrietary and part of the head, not bypassable with a generic one. Other instances I have witnessed-pump seal on Blake spewing raw sewagw towards the face-I supose that could be considered faulty maintenance as the seal wasn't replaced before it started leaking..For me it is the plain simplicity of the bucket (composting head) and avoiding maintenance that is a major draw. There's enough to fix in exotic places. I'd rather dump a container of dry contents once in a while than have to deal with the maintenance and problems associated with conventional pump heads. That another below waterline thru hull is welded up, the space and weight that would be used for a holding tank can be used for stores, the nasty anerobic septic smell is no longer, the interval between needing to empty the holding tank is increased and the need to find a pumpout facility ever again is gone... all are nice too. Personally I can't see much practicle use in composting the stuff for use in a garden when cruising as most places don't allow you to bring in live plants and even if I could I don't have enough space anyway. The seperation of liquids in the system (to reduce odor) greatly slows the decomposition process and also removes a primary source of nitrogen (urine) which doesn't help especially because extra carbon is added in cover material (carbon/nitrogen balance in addition to moisture content being the influencing factors in optimizing arobic bacterial growth) so, although they are arobic instead of anerobic, perhaps the name 'composting head' is what causes confusion. Heck, regular holding tanks and septic tanks will decompose albeit with different bacteria and byproduct in different form. We don't call them biogas producing composting heads. Although the potential is there to capture methane rich biogas that could be used in cooking, heating or even for engines, it just isn't practicle to do so on a boat. The decomposed sludge from sepic tanks is regularly used as fertilizer but, again, what use does a cruiser have for it? I think 'composting heads' would be better called 'dry heads'. Or even more to the point 'simple heads that are legal and designed with features to minimize smell and many other drawbacks associated with conventional heads'...
__________________
ConradG is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 23-11-2010, 17:36   #304
Registered User

Join Date: Nov 2010
Posts: 30
Nature's Head

I recently saw the Nature's Head on a Falmouth Cutter 34. The owner said it works pretty well most of the time, but needs a bit of attention. You need to get the amount of coconut fiber right, and you need to place the solid material into another container to finish composting for another 12 weeks or so (depends on temperature). He says it doesn't stink. It's pricey at about $850 (new on ebay), but looks well made. I will probably order one and let everyone know what happens. My boat is small, and I will gain a big space when I yank out that holding tank.
__________________
brad torrence is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 23-11-2010, 17:46   #305
Registered User

Join Date: Nov 2010
Posts: 30
composting toilet vs holding tank

Quote:
Originally Posted by ConradG View Post
The decomposed sludge from sepic tanks is regularly used as fertilizer but, again, what use does a cruiser have for it? I think 'composting heads' would be better called 'dry heads'. Or even more to the point 'simple heads that are legal and designed with features to minimize smell and many other drawbacks associated with conventional heads'...
Not exactly. A true composting toilets produces...compost. The contents of your holding tank is raw sewage. Nasty, stinky and toxic. With a composting roilet, the solid material begins composting from the first use. When you empty it, there is a bit of a musty smell, but it is already well-composted. After storing for another 12 weeks in your lazarette or garage it can go on flowers, or if necessary out with the garbage. (there's not much there - it shrinks drastically). You sure can't do that with the contents of a holding tank, which must go to a pumpout station and then to a sewage treatment facility. Not only is that more inconvenient, but it takes more energy and produces more greenhouse gases.
__________________
brad torrence is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 27-11-2010, 03:09   #306
Senior Cruiser
 
rebel heart's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 6,190
Images: 3
We've had ours installed for a week now. I got it in there right before we left for the Channel Islands (we're still here). It's a Nature's Head, and I'll do a full write up, but basically:

- You need to be more involved in its operation than any other head. It's hard to explain but basically you need to know how to pee, how to poop, and what to do with it all. This is not normally something you think about it, but you need to in order to make composting work.

- It doesn't stink. When I yanked our wet plumbing system out (Lavac), the stink went with it. Even after a grown man uses the toilet for... solid reasons.. it doesn't stink at all, anywhere. There are some slight wiffs here and there if you stick your nose directly where someone just crapped, but in 20 minutes it's gone, and it's certainly not in the general head interior space.

- It's huge. The dimensions might be technically correct, but you need a cut out that is several inches wider than what is stated on the manual. I ended up taking a saw to my head compartment which still looks like a bomb went off in there. I'm not happy about it, but it was worth it. Just need to figure out how to finish it.

- Slightly hard to use on a tack that tilts the toilet backwards.


All in all I'm happy as hell to have switched. My wife likes it as well, although it takes ladies a little longer to figure out how to use because of the "mechanics", so to speak. Great piece of gear, never going back to a wet system.
__________________
rebel heart is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 27-11-2010, 05:50   #307
Registered User

Join Date: Nov 2007
Posts: 71
In regards to partially composted human waste , it is great to dump it on the ground in a flower bed or forested area. When I worked on large commerical hog farms it was quite an experience. Hogs are now raised in massive buildings with slats over a giant pit. All the feces runs between the slats and into the pit below. As the pit fills it is sucked out and put in a large " honey wagon" which is pulled out into the fields and shot out . The stench inside the hog house and in the fields is horrific., Workin around hog crap for weeks upon end and never got sick . A composting head is a great improvement over the bucket or holding tanks.
__________________
cvondo is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 27-11-2010, 14:24   #308
Registered User

Join Date: Nov 2010
Posts: 30
Regarding measurements, I would not call it huge. The one I saw is 20" high, 17 3/4 long and 13" wide. You need 2" clearance at the back to tilt up the top when you remove it, so realistically it is going to take up just under 20" X 13" of floor space. For comparison, my Jabsco marine toilet takes up about 14" X 14" of floor space. It's also 2" shorter. But think of the huge locker space when you yank out the old holding tank!
__________________
brad torrence is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 27-11-2010, 17:52   #309
Senior Cruiser
 
rebel heart's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 6,190
Images: 3
The thing with the width is that you need space to get your hand to operate the levers too. Having them come to within 1/8" of a bulkhead isn't going to work. And because you're going to be moving the thing around pretty frequently for dumping it, the closer it is the more likely you'll nick the paint on the way in and out. Again, I love it, but it's huge.
__________________
rebel heart is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 27-11-2010, 21:57   #310
Registered User

Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: Olympia, WA
Boat: Northstar 1000 1972 Hull #14 30' "Firebird"
Posts: 15
Our "Nature's Head" composting toilet has been installed for the last two months. So far I am very impressed. Updates to follow!
__________________
Firebird is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 30-11-2010, 09:55   #311
Senior Cruiser
 
rebel heart's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 6,190
Images: 3
Quote:
Originally Posted by Firebird View Post
Our "Nature's Head" composting toilet has been installed for the last two months. So far I am very impressed. Updates to follow!
How are you breaking up your COIR? I'm sawing a block in half, then adding water and breaking it up in a gallon ziplock with my hand. Takes a good 15-20 minutes to do, so I'm looking for a better bulk method for accomplishing this.

I google'd around and this place says to toss them in water and let them expand.

Organic Garden: Unlock The Secret of Coir..Best Alternative To Any Growing Media | Your Organic Gardening Blog
__________________
rebel heart is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 30-11-2010, 12:02   #312
Registered User
 
Bloodhound's Avatar

Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: Lake Texoma, Oklahoma
Boat: Westsail 32
Posts: 277
Smile

Quote:
Originally Posted by rebel heart View Post
I google'd around and this place says to toss them in water and let them expand.
Yes, that's the recommended way and that's how I do it. Measure the right amount of watre into a bucket, place brick of fiber into bucket, and let it expand on its own, then dump into toilet.
__________________
Bloodhound is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 30-11-2010, 12:12   #313
Senior Cruiser
 
rebel heart's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 6,190
Images: 3
How wet are you letting it get? I'm thinking that drier is better? I know you need to use water regardless when expanding it, but I've noticed that a drier brown color can emerge as opposed the to more dark black-ish color when it's really moist.
__________________
rebel heart is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 30-11-2010, 12:37   #314
Registered User
 
Bloodhound's Avatar

Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: Lake Texoma, Oklahoma
Boat: Westsail 32
Posts: 277
Hard to describe in words, but it's really quite damp. When you pick the fresh stuff up in your hand some of it will stick to your hand and your hand will feel moist --- but not wet. You should not be able to squeeze water from it. With the muffin fan running constantly drawing air slowly into the toilet the fibre will slowly dry. It takes us a long time to reach the changeout point and I have to add a bit of water now and again to keep things sufficiently moist. You don't want it really wet, but it shouldn't be semi-dry either. Seems to work best when its very damp. The gardening website you pointed to has a "recipe" for how much water to use and it looks pretty close to what the AirHead instructions were.
__________________
Bloodhound is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-12-2010, 07:56   #315
Senior Cruiser
 
rebel heart's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 6,190
Images: 3
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bloodhound View Post
Hard to describe in words, but it's really quite damp. When you pick the fresh stuff up in your hand some of it will stick to your hand and your hand will feel moist --- but not wet. You should not be able to squeeze water from it. With the muffin fan running constantly drawing air slowly into the toilet the fibre will slowly dry. It takes us a long time to reach the changeout point and I have to add a bit of water now and again to keep things sufficiently moist. You don't want it really wet, but it shouldn't be semi-dry either. Seems to work best when its very damp. The gardening website you pointed to has a "recipe" for how much water to use and it looks pretty close to what the AirHead instructions were.
Thanks for that. We were on a passage the other day on a starboard tack (the head is mounted on the port side, aimed to starboard) so the trap that normally keeps urine back was way too inverted, and we ended up getting pee in the poop area. Our formally non-smelling head started to smell like a septic tank within an hour.

Fortunately all it took was emptying the solids and adding more COIR and poof-walla it smells fine again, but I got a little gun shy about getting it too wet from that.

I never thought I'd be interested in the finer points of drying and composting human feces. Oh, sailing.
__________________

__________________
rebel heart is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes Rate This Thread
Rate This Thread:

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Dry Composting Head - Installed and in Use Simes Liveaboard's Forum 9 07-08-2009 16:19
Composting Toilets Maren Plumbing Systems and Fixtures 38 16-05-2009 11:21
Composting Toilets? markpj23 Plumbing Systems and Fixtures 34 23-09-2008 09:17
Dry Composting Marine Toilet? Simes Plumbing Systems and Fixtures 0 21-09-2008 09:26



Copyright 2002- Social Knowledge, LLC All Rights Reserved.

All times are GMT -7. The time now is 23:46.


Google+
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Social Knowledge Networks
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.

ShowCase vBulletin Plugins by Drive Thru Online, Inc.