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Old 09-08-2014, 10:31   #61
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Re: Your Experiences with Composting Heads?

They could have used charcoal, it's about the closest thing.
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Old 09-08-2014, 10:38   #62
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Re: Your Experiences with Composting Heads?

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They could have used charcoal, it's about the closest thing.

Funny story about that....they did try a bag of Charcoal but screwed up and bought a bag of that "Match Light" stuff with lighter fluid already added. He reported back that he was afraid to fart in the head or risk blowing up the boat with the combination of methane gas and lighter fluid fumes..ha ha ha...come on...now that's funny.
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Old 09-08-2014, 11:05   #63
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Re: Your Experiences with Composting Heads?

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I've had enough friends with them to have gathered all the info I need to know to make my own decision. Isn't that how things work since we can't buy and use every piece of gear personally? I also don't have first hand experience with the bucket and Chuck-it approach. I don't need first hand experience to know that a roll up floor dinghy wouldn't work for our lifestyle, I can see and watch folks at the dinghy dock to form a pretty darm good opinion. Cruising without refrigeration would not work, or only having a 3.5GPH water maker would not work for me. I don't have to cruise without a water maker to know that I would personally never want to do it. I think that 7yrs of full time cruiser/living aboard makes me qualified to have and share an opinion on what I think will work an won't work for me. What's with this eveyone has to have the same opinon on thing or people get offended?

Look, people's gear choices and lifestyles are personal choices and people always seem to take offence when other think their choices/decisions are crazy or not the choices they would make (heck my entire family thinks we are crazy for going to Mexico and now still living aboard). If you love a composting head, fabulous. Share that experience and all of us with holding tanks and Lectrascans are happy for you. We love our lectrascan, but I don't treat people that don't have a Lectrascan as Boobs for expressing an opinon about them if they haven't had one, maybe they have done their homework and decided on another approach?
Sorry, didn't mean to raise your hackles. You made some good points and I believe others have as well. We have owned the typical marine head and holding tank setup, the Lectrasan and the composting head. For US, the composting head is by far our favorite choice for numerous reasons.
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Old 09-08-2014, 11:59   #64
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Re: Your Experiences with Composting Heads?

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Funny story about that....they did try a bag of Charcoal but screwed up and bought a bag of that "Match Light" stuff with lighter fluid already added. He reported back that he was afraid to fart in the head or risk blowing up the boat with the combination of methane gas and lighter fluid fumes..ha ha ha...come on...now that's funny.
Hehe, well I made by people kind, not the processed into briquettes kind

Charcoal lighting fluid is just kerosene otherwise known as lamp oil. It's a lot harder to light than gasoline.

As proof, soak a long stick in it. Light the end and see how long it takes for the flame to creep across. At room temp it burns slower than deisel, any oill warmed up past smoke point will ignite and burn quickly though.
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Old 09-08-2014, 12:16   #65
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pirate Re: Your Experiences with Composting Heads?

I'm struck by how ... er ... un self-reliant the charcoal people were. How'd they make it to Mexico? Why didn't they find some sawdust, or sand, or just plain ol chuck it? Dang, that's dumb.
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Old 09-08-2014, 13:36   #66
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Re: Your Experiences with Composting Heads?

Curious as to why they want to dump charcoal in the head. All of the three we evaluated, said use peat or coir bricks. None of the three mentioned charcoal.

So, why? Isn't that kinda like complaining that they couldn't get kerosine for their outboard?

As for the bug issues, the Nature's Head comes with little screens for both the air intake and the exhaust. Simple solution.
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Old 09-08-2014, 13:37   #67
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Re: Your Experiences with Composting Heads?

Charcoal and carbon can absorb odors
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Old 09-08-2014, 13:40   #68
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Re: Your Experiences with Composting Heads?

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Curious as to why they want to dump charcoal in the head. All of the three we evaluated, said use peat or coir bricks. None of the three mentioned charcoal.

So, why? Isn't that kinda like complaining that they couldn't get kerosine for their outboard?

As for the bug issues, the Nature's Head comes with little screens for both the air intake and the exhaust. Simple solution.
They had an air vent that used Activated Carbon as an oder control filter.

As to dumb people making it out cruising...ha ha ha ....I have lots of stories Amigo...you would be shocked at some of the stupidity that makes it out to first stop places like Mexico.
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Old 09-08-2014, 14:14   #69
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Re: Your Experiences with Composting Heads?

Day 29 on our current NH setup. Still churning fine, and the only smell is a lovely earthy one, and that only when in direct use. For a full time crew of two it is a great cruising solution. I think having more than two full time might over tax the system, but a larger fan/vent could probably be used.

As has been said, those who diss these heads almost never have direct experience. There are pros and cons to both approaches. A dessicator does require that one be a bit more intimate with your outflows. And it it probably won't work for more than two people full time. But they are simpler, safer and cheaper (unless you're always dumping over the side). The benefits of not having a big toxic waste tank on board, along with all the hoses and thru hulls, is all enough to make dessicators the clear winner for a short handed crew.
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Old 09-08-2014, 14:23   #70
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Re: Your Experiences with Composting Heads?

What happens when a crew member gets sick and has to take a round of antibiotics and it kills all your good bacteria in the head that are eating the waste or heaven forbid you get a case of bottle flu and barff in the composting head?...not that it would ever happen mind you....
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Old 09-08-2014, 15:26   #71
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Re: Your Experiences with Composting Heads?

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What happens when a crew member gets sick and has to take a round of antibiotics and it kills all your good bacteria in the head that are eating the waste or heaven forbid you get a case of bottle flu and barff in the composting head?...not that it would ever happen mind you....

What happens when the jockey valve craps out from bunged up toilet, or you get a crack in the hose or the holding tank? What happens when you can't get a pump out?...

Endless scenarios. Silly argument.
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Old 09-08-2014, 15:31   #72
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Re: Your Experiences with Composting Heads?

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What happens when the jockey valve craps out from bunged up toilet, or you get a crack in the hose or the holding tank? What happens when you can't get a pump out?...

Endless scenarios. Silly argument.
So you don't want to or can't answer then?
To your questions I FIX the head, hose, or joker valve, what's the drama?
What do you do when your bacteria die? Without those friendly bactera you don't have a composting head, you have a box-o-crap, so this is a serious question.

I have spare parts...what do you have? If you don't want to answer fine...but then how will I (and others) learn about these great composting heads if litigitmate questions can't be answered?

(By the way...7yrs of full time living aboard for 4 people and we have never had a failed Joker Valve, Cracked hose, or the like...but maybe as Dirtty Harry Said..."do you feel lucky punk". A fresh water head does make a big differce to maintenance)
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Old 09-08-2014, 16:03   #73
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Re: Your Experiences with Composting Heads?

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With all due respect to the folks that love their composting heads....to take of of these cruising is...well...a shitty mistake as the folks on Zero to Cruising Found out!

Rich I Live aboard full time, I charter part time. I just returned from 3 months aboard with up to 7 us aboard for a week at a time. This statement is just not accurate. That said there is a learning curve and as long as you can follow simple instructions the units are fool proof and odor free. But hey what do I know? I've only had them on 2 boats over the last 6 years. Yes With 7 people aboard you have to empty about once every 10 days. It is a chore that takes about 5 minutes, is not what I would say is pleasant bit not horrible either. Right before emptying the holding bin you cover the contents with a fresh layer of compost material, remove upper seat. Assembly and lower urine tank cover place large plastic bag over the bin and invert. We store the bag in a sealable plastic bucket until reaching shore where we can dispose the contents. This whole process takes about 5 minutes. With Just the wife and I aboard we can literally go for months without having to empty the contents. I will add that my systems urine container is plumbed to the ships holding tank that now only receives urine i.e. no salt water no solids. With this arrangement several months can go by before needing to pump out or go offshore for dumping.
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Old 09-08-2014, 16:25   #74
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Re: Your Experiences with Composting Heads?

We like our AIRHEAD. Cruising the Great Lakes is ZDZ. We can operate with two people for 2 to 6 weeks or more depending on shore opportunities for real toilets. I find an unpopulated, desolate area to go ashore & bury the contents. I have used peat moss, potting soil but most often, dry leaves from near the burial site. I have a solar powered vent connected to the vent hose. Keep a good battery in the fan. Most of these come with really junky rechargeables.
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Old 09-08-2014, 16:50   #75
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Re: Your Experiences with Composting Heads?

These are some great votes of confidence, I'm always looking for a better way to do things and I'll be the first to admit that I was wrong about something, heck I tell my wife that every morning in advance just to prime the pump!

We have two heads aboard (One Holding Tank and One LectraScan). We use the lectrascan head for going Pee and the holding tank for No2. Maybe I can finagle a boat show special while working the circut this season, but with a 16yr old teen boy aboard that eats and poops in large quantities, I'm just a bit nervous, like I guess many folks are, that a composter would work for us.

Not having to goto the dock for a pump out once/10 days would be nice. Any issues with high temperatures....like if the boat cabin is 100degs? That's where I was in La Paz, Mexico when I was seeing some negative reports and one cruiser actually repalced his composting head with the old school set-up.

Any thoughts on what brands are better than others? I see another "R&D" company expense for our floating product demo boat...ha ha ha
ShaktisBoy What brand do you have, it certainly sounds like it can handle the volume, which was always my concern (being as my wife says, I'm so FOS).
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