Why not a portpotty? - SailNet Community
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post #1 of 23 Old 12-11-2006 Thread Starter
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Why not a portpotty?

The boat I bought this summer (a Bristol 29.9) came with a Raritan head and a Lectrasan. Sounds good on paper, but I don't think the Lectrasan really does what it's supposed to and to make things worse, it leaks whenever the toilet is flushed, with unpleasant consequences. I was thinking of getting the Lectrasan fixed or replaced, but I'm not sure that's the best option because: i) I've heard that Lectrasan electrodes are only good for about 500 uses; ii) I suspect, based on my own experience, that Lectrasans are naturally leak-prone; iii) a Lectrasan draws a lot of current when used; iv) even if the Lectrasan worked and was leak-tight, there'd be other things to worry about that can't be avoided with a waste system plumbed to through-hulls. I've also thought about ditching the Lectrasan and getting a holding tank, instead, but I imagine the conversion would be expensive and there are plenty of things to worry about with holding-tank systems, too.

Then I started to think about getting an Airhead composting toilet, which would eliminate the need for hose plumbing and through-hulls. The main problem with that, as I see it, is that the Airhead requires a 24/7 fan and lightbulb.

So why not go to a Portapotty? Sure, it would have to be emptied fairly often, but that seems less of a problem than the problems I've encountered with the Lectrasan, and there sure would be a lot less to go wrong! Am I overlooking something?
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post #2 of 23 Old 12-11-2006
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A lot depends on how you use the boat, and how many people you have on board. If just daysailing, then a portapotty would make sense. If you're out for longer periods of time though, some type of holding tank would be better, in my estimation.

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post #3 of 23 Old 12-11-2006
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It all comes down to your tolerance level with hauling your waste (and crew's) down the dock & dumping it into your home toilets, or into the marina heads, then washing out the potti after each use (yuck!). If this repulses you (but it appears that it may not) than install the holding tank and have it pumped out regularly.

It's possible your Bristol was originally commissed with a deck plate, raw water intake through-hull and appropriate tank space. If so, you're already halfway there.

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post #4 of 23 Old 12-11-2006
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i think thetford makes a porta pottie with a pumpout. i have a porta pottie on my boat, but its pretty much a daysailer, sometimes camping on it for a few days. works well for me, but im not real squeemish.
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post #5 of 23 Old 12-11-2006
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Try the porta-potty. You can get one at most any hunt/fishing store for about $80. In terms of boat-bucks this is a cheap experiment and if it doesn't meet your needs you can save it and use it on long road trips with the family. Just duct-tape the kid with the smallest bladder right to the seat.
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post #6 of 23 Old 12-11-2006
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Henry, the Lectrasans do work as claimed. And all marine heads will jam or leak if neglected or misinstalled. The only problem with a Lectrasan is that the discharge from them, sanitary or not, is still prohibited as "discharge" in many places. And once you need a holding tank, the purpose of the Lectrasan is defeated.
Current? Yeah, they take power, but for a very short period. Do the math, it isn't much power consumption overall.
Airhead? On a small boat? Dunno why, the mass industry hasn't found them to be attractive. Hmmm...maybe because of size, price, effectiveness versus everything else?

If you are ready to use a portapotty you may as well look into a plastic bucket with a toilet lid top, sold in camping stores. Line it with a plastic bag, pour a handful of absorbent kitty litter in the bottom (honest!) and you've got something evern simpler and cheaper, and it won't leak or spill. Which are the two complaints against portapotties, sooner or later, the blue goo gets on you.

There's nothing wrong with a conventional head, other than some cheapskate owner picking one that's too small for real human beings to sit on, and then failing to perform routine maintenance for 20 years. There are parts--including the hoses--that simply need to be replaced on a regular basis.
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post #7 of 23 Old 12-11-2006 Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hellosailor
Henry, the Lectrasans do work as claimed. And all marine heads will jam or leak if neglected or misinstalled. The only problem with a Lectrasan is that the discharge from them, sanitary or not, is still prohibited as "discharge" in many places. And once you need a holding tank, the purpose of the Lectrasan is defeated.
Current? Yeah, they take power, but for a very short period. Do the math, it isn't much power consumption overall.
Airhead? On a small boat? Dunno why, the mass industry hasn't found them to be attractive. Hmmm...maybe because of size, price, effectiveness versus everything else?

If you are ready to use a portapotty you may as well look into a plastic bucket with a toilet lid top, sold in camping stores. Line it with a plastic bag, pour a handful of absorbent kitty litter in the bottom (honest!) and you've got something evern simpler and cheaper, and it won't leak or spill.
I think I'd rather have a Portapotty full of goo than a pile of plastic sh*t-sacks!

Last edited by wumhenry; 12-12-2006 at 01:05 AM.
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post #8 of 23 Old 12-12-2006
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Kitty litter isn't elegant, but it is much easier to contain than sloshing blue liquid. I don't consider either one a good solution--but if you need to rig a neat clean toilet in hurry, with zero spillage, I know the bags and litter with a 100% score. You won't find many fans of the blue liquid who will gamble on 100%, everyone just kinda moves a bit further away from them "just in case".
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post #9 of 23 Old 12-12-2006
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Thankfully, we haven't had to deal with a portapotti's sloshing blue liquid since the late eighties. However, ever have to unclog a manual head valve, after a crew member dumped then wiped up with half a roll of tp? Not a task for the faint of stomach.

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post #10 of 23 Old 12-12-2006
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TB-
I was once told "flush early and flush often, pump the handle ten times because if you clog it you'll have to clean it." I'm not ashamed to remind folks of that while they are getting the "It's a marine head not a home toilet" tour.

So far, knock wood, the point has been made.
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