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kjzerr 10-15-2012 01:12 PM

Air Head Composting Toilet or Similar Mfg.
 
Hello All:

We are refitting the interior of our recently-purchased C&C 36R. The 36R was produced as a "stripped down" racing model with a basic head that discharges straight to the sea--no holding tank. As I have been evaluating the cost of a waste management system (holding tank, pump, hoses, vents, etc.), the composting toilet option compares well from a cost perspective.

Though I have read many testimonials holding such heads in high regard, I am still not convinced that a "waterless" head such as this is the most sanitary option and is truly void of odors. I am hoping those who have experience with the Air Head composting toilet or one of similar manufacture could offer some specifics as to their use. It appears that they use some sort of a filter? How long can they go, reasonably, before needing to be emptied? Are they really sanitary given that there is no water utilized to rinse the bowl?

All thoughts and comments are welcomed.

Thanks! Kermit

Pegu club 10-15-2012 01:16 PM

Re: Air Head Composting Toilet or Similar Mfg.
 
We have looked at these as well, it would be good to get some first hand reports.

copacabana 10-15-2012 01:23 PM

Re: Air Head Composting Toilet or Similar Mfg.
 
Search the sailnet topics and you'll find a few LONG threads on composting toilets. I think it's all been said already. I have a Nature's Head and I can tell you that it works just as advertised, there is ZERO odor and I get about 60 to 80 uses before I empty it. Urine I empty every night just after dark. It's one of the best upgrades I did on my boat and I wouldn't even consider going back to a regular marine head. All in all, you'll find that people who have a composting head sing their praise, those that don't have one speculate on odors, inconveniences etc. Before you install one, go and visit a boat that has one and ask a lot of questions. If you have a specific question, just fire away.

kd3pc 10-15-2012 01:24 PM

Re: Air Head Composting Toilet or Similar Mfg.
 
most composting heads, will use a liquid diverter to keep that from the solids...solids are often collected in cheap coffee filters....which keep the mess to a minimum..and still allows decomposition..

again most will have some turning widget or agitation mechanism to shake things up...with a good peat moss, no liquids and good vents they can go a month or two of casual use even for two people...

venting is mandatory both in and around the "hold" as well as keeping the smell down.

It is all in what you are used to...better than an outhouse, but not labor free or odor free as the manufacturer would have you believe....and you still have to deal with the liquid collection...as it is illegal to simply dump it overboard, after collection

copacabana 10-15-2012 01:30 PM

Re: Air Head Composting Toilet or Similar Mfg.
 
Do you have a composting toilet kd3pc? Note that ALL composting toilets for boats separate the liquids from the solids. Only the Air Head uses a coffee filter, which you don't actually have to use. There is no odor if you use it correctly... ZERO odor. Disposing of liquids is an inconvenience. Urine is sterile- I just dump it in the sea every night. I suggest you visit a boat that has one installed to get the straight poop on it.

kd3pc 10-15-2012 01:39 PM

Re: Air Head Composting Toilet or Similar Mfg.
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by copacabana (Post 933871)
Do you have a composting toilet kd3pc? Note that ALL composting toilets for boats separate the liquids from the solids. Only the Air Head uses a coffee filter, which you don't actually have to use. There is no odor if you use it correctly... ZERO odor. Disposing of liquids is an inconvenience. Urine is sterile- I just dump it in the sea every night. I suggest you visit a boat that has one installed to get the straight poop on it.

I have two in a self sustained cabin, one airhead branded and one before airhead name and it is as you describe. Totally odor free. Months of service for the two of us. Early units did not separate liquids and solids, and every one of them, if not minded well and often...did have issues...odors, and messes. They have come a long way.

In the US, sterile or not, it is illegal to dump the urine...overboard

I have been aboard several boats where the installation was not done as well as it should and the venting, or lack there of, causes odors...or the owner has modified the vent with fans and bends and traps...several others where they just let the liquids go in to the dry stuff....which destroys the process and causes odors, bad ones.

If installed correctly and maintained correctly, they can be an option...

copacabana 10-15-2012 01:48 PM

Re: Air Head Composting Toilet or Similar Mfg.
 
I agree. The trick is to operate them correctly to be odor free. Keeping liquids out of the solids chamber is essential. The fan not so much.

Dumping the urine is a daily chore and not everyone likes to carry a jug of piss around, especially if you have to lug it to a public bathroom to dispose of. This is why I suggest the OP visits a boat with a composting toilet installed so he/she can get a real notion of what's involved exactly. I can only speak from my experience that I'm 100% happy with mine (but then I don't find dumping the urine bottle over the side a big deal or emptying the solids chamber once in a while).

eherlihy 10-15-2012 01:50 PM

Re: Air Head Composting Toilet or Similar Mfg.
 
Calling Chris&Kate...

misfits 10-15-2012 02:25 PM

Re: Air Head Composting Toilet or Similar Mfg.
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by kd3pc (Post 933875)
In the US, sterile or not, it is illegal to dump the urine...overboard

Only in a NDZ. However you can take a whizz over the side of a boat in a NDZ
& that's legal. Go figure???

Skipper Jer 10-15-2012 04:03 PM

Re: Air Head Composting Toilet or Similar Mfg.
 
https://www.sailnet.com/forums/gear-m...et-report.html

It would be nice if one could line the chamber that receives the solid with a heavy opaque plastic bag. When time came to empty the chamber all one would have to do is tie the bag closed and toss it into the dumpster. Much like the garbage can in the kitchen is lined with a plastic bag.

copacabana 10-15-2012 04:34 PM

Re: Air Head Composting Toilet or Similar Mfg.
 
Captainmeme, you can't line it as it would interfere with the agitator inside. When you have to dump it, you just turn it over into a plastic bag and then tie the bag and toss it in the garbage or carry it home to put on your plants. You don't have to clean the solids chamber after you dump it out; just add more coconut fiber and you're good to go again. It's not a big deal- it looks like dirt. I personally carry mine into the jungle and dump it where no one will step on it. It finishes decomposing quickly in the tropics.

kd3pc 10-15-2012 04:49 PM

Re: Air Head Composting Toilet or Similar Mfg.
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by misfits (Post 933912)
Only in a NDZ. However you can take a whizz over the side of a boat in a NDZ
& that's legal. Go figure???

I think you will find, and will for sure if you ask...it is NOT legal to dump urine over the side anywhere...it is "untreated sewage" as far as the EPA is concerned.

I agree that you can do either over the side legally, it is when you contain it...it becomes a problem.

miatapaul 10-15-2012 07:00 PM

Re: Air Head Composting Toilet or Similar Mfg.
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by misfits (Post 933912)
Only in a NDZ. However you can take a whizz over the side of a boat in a NDZ
& that's legal. Go figure???

Quote:

Originally Posted by kd3pc (Post 933980)
I think you will find, and will for sure if you ask...it is NOT legal to dump urine over the side anywhere...it is "untreated sewage" as far as the EPA is concerned.

I agree that you can do either over the side legally, it is when you contain it...it becomes a problem.

Well urinating and defecating in public are not legal. You can be cited for at the very least public indecency. :o:o

Brent Swain 10-15-2012 07:16 PM

Re: Air Head Composting Toilet or Similar Mfg.
 
I have been using mine for several years now, and there is no way I'd consider going back to the traditional head. No more pumps, thru hulls , valves, hoses, clogging, breakdowns, etc, etc. I built my own for under $25 worth of materials. They are quite simple to build, but C-head has one for around $400. As others come on line , expect the price to continue dropping, until China or India starts making them for under $50.
I dump my 5 litre liquids jug every two days, but have gone 6 weeks, before dumping the solids container, usually back in the bush. In hot weather, dumping is far less frequent. In winter, ading Pooh powder absorbs any liquids in the solids, and helps a lot. Google Pooh powder.
As dumping liquids overboard is environmentally harmless, doing so is no ones business but your own. Some use a cockpit drain for privacy, and to keep it from those to whom it is non of their business.

SimonV 10-15-2012 10:54 PM

Re: Air Head Composting Toilet or Similar Mfg.
 
And again, no one that owns and uses one mentions the little problem of the tinny flies.

copacabana 10-16-2012 05:56 AM

Re: Air Head Composting Toilet or Similar Mfg.
 
Simon, I've never had a problem with tiny flies and only know of a few rare cases where this has happened. I don't think it's common enough to worry about. What you have to do is read all the posts by users of composting heads and you'll see that pretty much everyone who has converted to a composting toilet is happy with it. I know of only 3 cases where people uninstalled their composting toilets (C&C being one of them). Then search threads on regular marine toilets to read all the tales of woe! All I can suggest to potential users is visit a boat with a composting toilet installed, speak to the owners about what is involved and try not to take advice from people who don't have one (but have strong opinions in spite of this).

PalmettoSailor 10-16-2012 10:00 AM

Re: Air Head Composting Toilet or Similar Mfg.
 
Based only on what I've read, I think I'd be inclined to go with a composting unit if I were faced with installing a head system from scratch. It would be much cheaper and easier to install since it avoids much of the plumbing hassle. In my experience holding tank systems are far from odor free as well, so I somewhat see it as a "pays yo' money and takes yo' chances" proposition. There are unplesantries with either system. Pumping out is not exactly a fun hobby, but neither is carrying out bottles of piss and bags of crap.

If you weren't happy with a composting system, it would also be less hassle to uninstall and replace with a traditional holding tank system than the other way 'round.

RobGallagher 10-16-2012 10:24 AM

Re: Air Head Composting Toilet or Similar Mfg.
 
It would be nice to have less holes in my boat.

If ever I was to start from scratch I would have a composting head and my sink would drain above the water line like my bilge pump.

Raw water intake for cooling the engine and prop shaft would be the only through hulls.

Maybe someone will invent a shaft log that does double duty as a stuffing box and a sea water intake for the engine (Mainesail...here is your get rich quick scheme :) )

My depth transducer would shoot through the hull and I would skip the silly paddle wheel for speed through the water and just use speed over ground via GPS.

Just sayin....

RonRelyea 10-16-2012 11:25 AM

Re: Air Head Composting Toilet or Similar Mfg.
 
I've had a Nature's Head for three seasons now. I would not go back to a regular marine toilet.

I had a fruit fly "mishap" last year - solved by putting a bit of screen over my head's vent and using coconut coir instead of peat moss. (You can buy this at Petco or similar large pet store that has reptile bedding: Zilla Coconut Husk Brick Reptile Bedding at PETCO

Absolutely no smell.

eherlihy 10-16-2012 12:55 PM

Re: Air Head Composting Toilet or Similar Mfg.
 
Because Chrisncate did not reply to this thread, here is what he (they) said in another thread about the composting head;
Quote:

Oh, and we hate the composting head. Totally hate it. Everything else seems to be alright, except for filthy marina heads which we hate almost as much as the composting head. I can't wait to re install a head and illegally pump out overboard each and every time I go to the bathroom. What a joy that'll be..
and...

Quote:

Can you give an assessment of the composting head? Strengths? Weaknesses? Opportunities? Threats?
My opinion is that they are moderately unsanitary but probably doable on a medium to large boat with hot water on tap - gross and way too "up close" on a small boat with no hot water on tap.

The hot water is easy to live without, a composting head 1.5 feet from where you sleep and lay your head is .. bad. Keep in mind we are on a SMALL small boat, an A 30 isn't like a Catalina 30, it's real personal and up close in here.

Example: I am sleeping in the V, and suppose the Admiral has to pee (or god forbid, pinch a coil) - well, she's right there, hi! Some things are just things you need to do more than three feet from another human. And the coffee filters... oh the coffee filters..

We have a small boat.

EDIT: I should note the difference in space that the Natures Head takes up as compared to her old traditional head. The N/H is tall, very tall and it makes a huge difference in our small head area. It takes up a lot of area and it's way high. It makes a difference. The old head enabled the bathroom area to be closed off and private when in use, the N/H does not allow this on our boat due to the logistics of the thing from the perspective of the V berth. It still closes off from the salon, just not the V.
and ...

Quote:

I think they might be ok to good on a bigger boat, a small boat not so much. I guess the truth about heads is nothing can compare to a house toilet. I have yet to encounter a marine head I find acceptable. You either hold it all in a gross smelly holding tank, or you try to ferment it in a composting head, or you pump overboard illegally for the least amount of fuss and hope you don't get caught.
THESE ARE NOT NECESSARILY MY VIEWS. Chrisncate lived with a composting head on their boat, so I defer to their experience.

copacabana 10-16-2012 01:26 PM

Re: Air Head Composting Toilet or Similar Mfg.
 
Sure, I remember what C&C said. I believe the problem was more related to the size and the fact they had no door on their loo rather than the head itself. At any rate, anyone thinking of installing one should visit a boat that has one installed, ask questions and UNDERSTAND how they work in real life. BTW, C&C are one of only 3 boats, that I know of, who had a composting toilet who didn't like it.

misfits 10-16-2012 02:07 PM

Re: Air Head Composting Toilet or Similar Mfg.
 
My boat is still a work in progress but I'm planning on installing an airhead.
For me this frees up the room for another water tank & I don't have to worry about dealing with pump outs.

Brent Swain 10-16-2012 02:12 PM

Re: Air Head Composting Toilet or Similar Mfg.
 
A footrest in the right spot takes care of the height problem. I live in a 31 footer, with the head aft. Having a regular marine head doesnt change its position on the boat.
A regular marine head is anything but sanitary, carrying around hoses and a pump full of wet sewage. Wait until it breaks down. Then they will find out how "sanitary " it is. Composters dont break down, and will never sink your boat.The advantage of a composter is you get to clean the area around the head every time you dump it, an area which rarely gets cleaned around a regular marine head.

LauderBoy 10-16-2012 04:32 PM

Re: Air Head Composting Toilet or Similar Mfg.
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by SimonV (Post 934172)
And again, no one that owns and uses one mentions the little problem of the tinny flies.

I've owned a Nature's Head for close to 2 years now. I'm a full time liveaboard in Florida. I've had problems with fruit fly infestations. But Raid flying insect spray takes care of it. Just spray it into the composting area bin. It doesn't at all hurt the composting process.

kjzerr 10-16-2012 09:15 PM

Re: Air Head Composting Toilet or Similar Mfg.
 
Thank you to everyone for your input. I think from what I've read that I will go with the composting toilet.

Pegu club 10-16-2012 11:29 PM

Re: Air Head Composting Toilet or Similar Mfg.
 
I am going to piggyback on this and say thanks for the range of info, I suspect The admiral and me will go the composting toilet way when the time comes to pull the trigger on a boat of our own.

richardb123 12-04-2012 07:14 PM

Re: Air Head Composting Toilet or Similar Mfg.
 
We've had ours (Nature's Head) for several years, and it has performed well. My neighbour has the Airhead, which he also likes. All marketing hoo haa aside, they are both good units that do what they are supposed to do. Some of the biased stuff said above is just not true, by the way. Advantages or disadvantages of either are minimal.

Overall, it's a great way to go. We eliminated the faint but always present odor we had with our (expensive!) holding tank system. This thing does not stink - at all. This alone is reason enough to have it, for us. You put toilet paper in it, no problem.

Pee is sterile, not a health risk and easy to get rid of. However, the CG tells me that while it is legal to pee overboard, it's not legal to pee in a bottle and pull it over board (they laughed with me on this, and saw the absurdity of it). So be sensible, and discreet.

The compost, containing recent poops, gets dumped in a toilet in a marine park or ashore. With two of us full time, this had to be done every six weeks. Or, if we are not travelling we let it fully compost in a bin at home, for a few months, then put it on the plants.

We gained a huge space when we removed the holding tank. And it felt great getting rid of all those hoses and fittings, and a pump - all of which stank, clearly, when removed. It all stinks. If we are honest, most of us have to admit with holding tank systems we get the odd whiff, especially if the boat has been closed up for a couple of weeks. These composting toilets just do not stink. No, they are not unsanitary. They are suitable for up to 2 full time users, more part time. I would never even consider going back. It's the best invention since self steering.

We had great service from this guy, but there are others. http://sustainable-solutions.info/

richardb123 12-13-2012 05:25 PM

Re: Air Head Composting Toilet or Similar Mfg.
 
Yes, they are sanitary. If there are any marks in the bowl after use, you moisten a paper towel with water, maybe a little vinegar, and clean it. Or spray a little water in the bowl, then wipe clean. I'm squeamish, so I put the paper towel on a paint stick that lives beside the toilet. It is no more unsanitary that using a toilet brush at home, and storing it beside the toilet.

Brent Swain 12-13-2012 08:16 PM

Re: Air Head Composting Toilet or Similar Mfg.
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by chrisncate (Post 961149)
We found the Natures Head to not separate at the urine diverter very well (allowing a lot of pee into the poop part). We found the whole experience of using the Natures Head (or any composting head) to be fairly gross. We are in the minority on this, but it's how we felt about it. We really wanted to like it, but just couldn't.

If I had it to do over again and had the same parameters (no through hulls), I'd go cedar bucket or plastic bucket with a seat. Buck it and chuck it, and save the $800.

\

I never liked the trap door over the big hole ( Conservative birth canal). So I just raised the lip around it, and went for a lift out stainless lid from the thrift store. No liquids getting into the compost, and a far simpler solution. I just remove it when taking a dump. The rest of the time it keeps the compost drier.
No complaints with mine. Cost me under $25 to build. I'd never go back to a traditional head.

wolfenzee 12-13-2012 08:44 PM

Re: Air Head Composting Toilet or Similar Mfg.
 
I have an Air Head, the only one similar to it is the "Nature's head" almost identical in overall design, a tad cheaper....but consrtuction quality of the "Nature's Head leaves a big gap. Everyone I know who has pucaseedd a Nature's Head either returned it or gave it away and bought an "Air Head". The foot print ismost identical to aa port-i-pottie, but it's 6" taller and more substantial. Quite simply of the composting heads available, the Air Head is the best (about $985). Mine fit perfectly where my portipottie was and the air vent came out just below my Dorade box.

wolfenzee 12-13-2012 09:30 PM

Re: Air Head Composting Toilet or Similar Mfg.
 
I was told to use commercial sized coffee filters (the type without bleach) to line the bowl. Sales rep also pointed out if you are not in a position to dump it overboard, the bags for trash compactors fit perfectly.

willyd 12-14-2012 08:16 AM

Re: Air Head Composting Toilet or Similar Mfg.
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by kd3pc (Post 933980)
I think you will find, and will for sure if you ask...it is NOT legal to dump urine over the side anywhere...it is "untreated sewage" as far as the EPA is concerned.

I agree that you can do either over the side legally, it is when you contain it...it becomes a problem.

And why waste the opportunity to generate electricity with it?

I find it interesting how alarming it is to read that one can get fined for dumping urine overboard. I even found myself thinking, "Gosh, I need to spend money to install a holding tank of some sort," etc. Driving over the speed limit is also a punishable offense, and people actually get injured and killed doing that one. I see people do it all the time. So I think I'll take my chances with the urine over the side thing.

copacabana 12-14-2012 09:23 AM

Re: Air Head Composting Toilet or Similar Mfg.
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by wolfenzee (Post 961240)
I have an Air Head, the only one similar to it is the "Nature's head" almost identical in overall design, a tad cheaper....but consrtuction quality of the "Nature's Head leaves a big gap. Everyone I know who has pucaseedd a Nature's Head either returned it or gave it away and bought an "Air Head". The foot print ismost identical to aa port-i-pottie, but it's 6" taller and more substantial. Quite simply of the composting heads available, the Air Head is the best (about $985). Mine fit perfectly where my portipottie was and the air vent came out just below my Dorade box.

Wolf, I'm curious about the construction "quality" that is lacking in the Nature's Head. Mine is a simple and solid construction that has worked perfectly for the last 2 years. It's a pretty solid piece of kit and not much to go wrong. I've never heard of anyone complaining about the quality of the product so far (you're the first).

C&C, the lip that diverts urine on the Nature's Head is a bit low and can let urine into the solids chamber if one is not careful. I have heard of people laying a bead of silicone around the lip to raise it a little. I wish it were a wee bit higher too, but I've learned to just be more careful. Guests on the other hand ...

richardb123 12-14-2012 05:35 PM

Re: Air Head Composting Toilet or Similar Mfg.
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by wolfenzee (Post 961240)
I have an Air Head, the only one similar to it is the "Nature's head" almost identical in overall design, a tad cheaper....but consrtuction quality of the "Nature's Head leaves a big gap. Everyone I know who has pucaseedd a Nature's Head either returned it or gave it away and bought an "Air Head". The foot print ismost identical to aa port-i-pottie, but it's 6" taller and more substantial. Quite simply of the composting heads available, the Air Head is the best (about $985). Mine fit perfectly where my portipottie was and the air vent came out just below my Dorade box.

The above statement is bizarre. I have the Nature's Head. It's built like a brick. It could fall off the back of a truck at 50mph and it would probably just bounce. My neighbour has the Airhead. I know a bit about plastics manufacturing and I can tell you the two toilets are made with the identical roto-molded process. They both use all stainless hardware. They are both high quality products. There is no discernible difference in quality between the two brands.

Interesting to note that Channel Cutter Yachts - a builder of very high end Lyle Hess designed 34 footers - installs composting toilets in all boats. He used to use the Airhead, but switched to Nature's Head, because he prefers some of the design features, and the fact that it costs $100 less for basically the same thing.

As I understand it, the owner of Nature's Head used to sell Airheads. But he thought it could be improved. In my opinion, the improvements are insignificant. You could argue the merits of each toilet for an hour, but it's all just splitting hairs.

I know at least 30 people with the Nature's Head, and about 20 people with Airheads. All seem happy. No one has sold one, or gone from one to the other, and no one has given one away.

You can read a review of the Nature's Head on this blog: Nature's Head

miatapaul 12-14-2012 06:31 PM

Re: Air Head Composting Toilet or Similar Mfg.
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by wolfenzee (Post 961240)
I have an Air Head, the only one similar to it is the "Nature's head" almost identical in overall design, a tad cheaper....but consrtuction quality of the "Nature's Head leaves a big gap. Everyone I know who has pucaseedd a Nature's Head either returned it or gave it away and bought an "Air Head". The foot print ismost identical to aa port-i-pottie, but it's 6" taller and more substantial. Quite simply of the composting heads available, the Air Head is the best (about $985). Mine fit perfectly where my portipottie was and the air vent came out just below my Dorade box.

Quote:

Originally Posted by richardb123 (Post 961664)
The above statement is bizarre. I have the Nature's Head. It's built like a brick. It could fall off the back of a truck at 50mph and it would probably just bounce. My neighbour has the Airhead. I know a bit about plastics manufacturing and I can tell you the two toilets are made with the identical roto-molded process. They both use all stainless hardware. They are both high quality products. There is no discernible difference in quality between the two brands.

Interesting to note that Channel Cutter Yachts - a builder of very high end Lyle Hess designed 34 footers - installs composting toilets in all boats. He used to use the Airhead, but switched to Nature's Head, because he prefers some of the design features, and the fact that it costs $100 less for basically the same thing.

As I understand it, the owner of Nature's Head used to sell Airheads. But he thought it could be improved. In my opinion, the improvements are insignificant. You could argue the merits of each toilet for an hour, but it's all just splitting hairs.

I know at least 30 people with the Nature's Head, and about 20 people with Airheads. All seem happy. No one has sold one, or gone from one to the other, and no one has given one away.

You can read a review of the Nature's Head on this blog: Nature's Head

I was kind of thinking the same thing, hey if there are free natures Heads being given away I will take one!

wolfenzee 12-14-2012 08:51 PM

Re: Air Head Composting Toilet or Similar Mfg.
 
I was given an Air Head by someone that tried to use it in a house with three people, that was also poorly heated and he cleaned out the bottom, rather than just dumping it out (according to the sales rep it does better with a little left in). What I said about construction was just something I had heard passed on by other people. Because the prices are so close I would very closely compare the two.

davidpm 12-14-2012 10:00 PM

Re: Air Head Composting Toilet or Similar Mfg.
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Brent Swain (Post 961224)
\

I never liked the trap door over the big hole ( Conservative birth canal). So I just raised the lip around it, and went for a lift out stainless lid from the thrift store. No liquids getting into the compost, and a far simpler solution. I just remove it when taking a dump. The rest of the time it keeps the compost drier.
No complaints with mine. Cost me under $25 to build. I'd never go back to a traditional head.

Have you ever posted you plans or a description of the build?
I would like to know the details.

MedSailor 12-14-2012 10:41 PM

Re: Air Head Composting Toilet or Similar Mfg.
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Captainmeme (Post 933958)
https://www.sailnet.com/forums/gear-m...et-report.html

It would be nice if one could line the chamber that receives the solid with a heavy opaque plastic bag. When time came to empty the chamber all one would have to do is tie the bag closed and toss it into the dumpster. Much like the garbage can in the kitchen is lined with a plastic bag.

The nature's head is designed to have a plastic garbage bag fit nicely over the solids collection portion. Turn it upside down and empty into said tightly fitting garbage bag and it's done.

I have a nature's head. I used it as a live aboard for 2 years and have had it for about 2 more. It's not perfect and it's not for everyone but neither is a marine head! I love it and wouldn't go back. Feel free to ask me any specific questions you like either on this thread or by PM.

MedSailor

MedSailor 12-14-2012 10:45 PM

Re: Air Head Composting Toilet or Similar Mfg.
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Brent Swain (Post 961224)
\

I never liked the trap door over the big hole ( Conservative birth canal). So I just raised the lip around it, and went for a lift out stainless lid from the thrift store. No liquids getting into the compost, and a far simpler solution. I just remove it when taking a dump. The rest of the time it keeps the compost drier.
No complaints with mine. Cost me under $25 to build. I'd never go back to a traditional head.

Agreed about the trap door and what chrisandcate says. Peeing while standing up is a really good way to ensure you get a lot of liquid in the poop part. As for the pros and cons of the trap door, it's nice that you don't have to reach into the bowl to fish out a lid, and figure out where to put said unsanitary lid, but it could use a lip to ensure urine doesn't get into the solids collection area. I may mod mine to build up the lip.

Another entrant to the market is the less sophisticated but simpler and cheaper C-head. It has a lot about it that I like....

C-Head portable composting toilets

Brent, thanks for the idea of the poop powder! I'll have to give that a try. I was planning on trying some of the liquid absorbing silica cat litter to augment my coconut coir, but that stuff looks better.


MedSailor

wolfenzee 12-15-2012 12:03 AM

Re: Air Head Composting Toilet or Similar Mfg.
 
I use a DELO oil jug for a pee jug....it's opaque (except for the handy dandy level indicator).I put an enzyme in it made by Rutland (inventors of the portipottie) so it doesn't smell.
Sales rep of Air head said that a bag designed for a trash compactor would fit perfectly to empty the air head

richardb123 12-15-2012 12:29 PM

Re: Air Head Composting Toilet or Similar Mfg.
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by MedSailor (Post 961842)

Another entrant to the market is the less sophisticated but simpler and cheaper C-head. It has a lot about it that I like....


MedSailor

The C head is a very different concept, that looks similar, so be careful there. For starters, the C head holds only 10-15 solid uses. The Nature's Head and Airhead hold 40-60. So the c-head has to be emptied far more often, which is a huge disadvantage. Empty the c-head once a week, and the Nature's Head or Airhead every 4-6 weeks.

After 4-6 weeks, much of the earlier material is dried out and composted. However after a week, the c-head will simply be a bucket full of fresh poop mixed with peat moss. The Nature's Head and Airhead, with the composting process going on strong inside, quickly break down new additions of solid matter. Emptying the NH and Airhead will be far more pleasant and far less frequent.

The c-head uses disposable milk jugs to hold urine. They won't last long, and will need to be replaced. That might be ok if you are near civilizatiopn and drink milk. The others use a sturdy plastic bottle that will last forever.

The c-head in my view is pretty much a 'bucket with a seat' system. You remove fresh turds, not compost. It also looks cheaper, in my view. The c-head is not the same thing for less money. It's another concept entirely. For another $300 or $400, I'd get a better looking, more convenient proven toilet like the NH or AH.

travlin-easy 12-15-2012 01:26 PM

Re: Air Head Composting Toilet or Similar Mfg.
 
I had the opportunity to see a composting head that a friend installed on his boat. He removed it two days after I saw it, pretty much echoing Chris' statements. There was a definite, pungent odor on the boat, but I guess if you lived with it daily, your olfactory senses would eventually block it out. Kinda' like entering a home where they owners have a couple dogs and cats - the place smells like a kennel, but the owners don't seem to notice.

As for the sanitation issue, I think this is where common sense must come into play. Those turds contain a large quantity of fecal coli-form bacteria. The definitive test would be to wipe the seat lid, inside and outside, with a sterile swab, then place the samples in an appropriate media in a petri dish. That would be the definitive test of this device.

For me, I'll stick with pumpouts when I'm inshore, and direct discharge when beyond the 12 mile limit. Oh, I asked a sheriff's deputy about peeing over the side. He said he doesn't know of any law in Florida that prohibits it, other than public nudity. He also said laws in other states may address this, but he didn't know for sure.

Cheers,

Gary :cool:

wolfenzee 12-15-2012 01:35 PM

Re: Air Head Composting Toilet or Similar Mfg.
 
I know a number of people with Air Heads, with the 12v fan, there is no smell and the constant air supply make the composing work better. As far as uses, the Air Head is rated at 60 between dumps.

copacabana 12-15-2012 02:30 PM

Re: Air Head Composting Toilet or Similar Mfg.
 
There is a lot of misinformation about composting toilets, spread by people who have never had one. Here I go again ...

Gary, if your friend had a smell problem, he was doing something VERY wrong. If composting toilets have one great benefit, it's that there is ZERO smell. Ask anyone who has one on their boat. You can pinch a proverbial loaf, turn the handle a few cranks and then open the trap door and stick your nose inside and there is no smell. You can come to your boat after being closed up for the week and you won't find ANY smell, at least not from the composter. Even if you don't hook up the fan there is no smell. The fan is to help dry and aerate the compost. Also, I find it hard to believe the guy spent 900 bucks on a composter, uninstalled his marine head and installed his composter only to give up on it after 2 days!

The other thing is the bowl is sanitary. The solids drop into a chamber below and don't touch the walls of the bowl. At first I thought it would take some special aim (with a few brown scrapes on the sides), but it is something anatomical. You just sit and it falls in the right place. In two years and many guests, not once has anyone missed! The urine is directed to a small channel at the front of the bowl and only requires a misting of vinegar and water to keep it clean. So, just to put the issue to rest- there is nothing unsanitary about the bowl (swab away if you like).

That doesn't mean there is no down side to a composting toilet. You still have to dispose of the urine jug (for us, daily, for others perhaps every 2 or 3 days). I just dump it over the side before I go to bed every night. It's sterile and don't we all pee off the rail anyway? The solids you have to dump every month or so (living aboard) or perhaps as little as every 6 months for weekend use. Remember that the solids are drying out into almost nothing so over time the volume doesn't increase if the use is limited to weekends. Again, unless you are very squeamish, dumping the solids is no big deal: just put a trash bag over the box and turn it over. It looks and smells like dirt. No big deal for most people. I actually dump mine in the jungle (not where people will walk) or at sea when well off shore. You have so many options for dumping with a composting toilet, including a garbage bag and the dumpster. Is a composting toilet "strange" for people used to a flush toilet? Yes, but the short learning curve is worth the effort for the many benefits.

What are the benefits? As I see them, they are:

Safety: You remove 2 through hulls and the potential for sinking they represent. I read somewhere that the single greatest cause of boat sinking is the seawater toilet (back siphoning being a big one!).

Space: You gain a lot of space when you remove the holding tank, hoses etc. The footprint of the composting toilet is the same or even less than a water toilet. It's just a bit taller.

No odors. (see above)

Many options for managing your waste (see above)

Simplicity. Nothing can break, leak, explode etc. The absolute worst that can happen is that urine gets into the solids chamber (a male guest standing to pee a few times in a night of beer drinking). This turns the composting chamber into a wet mess that can smell. The solution is to just dump the contents and fill with fresh coconut fibre and you're good to go again. Compare this "fix" to the typical "toilet disaster" involving a regular marine toilet (blocked toilet, pump leaks, holding tank leaks, stinky hoses to change etc.).

Price. A Nature's Head or Air Head is going to run you about 900 bucks or less. That's it. Add all the various plumbing bits, holding tank, pump, toilet etc. of a wet head and see what comes out cheaper.

I won't get into the ecology debate as it will just incite arguments. One can make a pretty good argument for the composting toilet being much more ecological, especially if you dispose of the compost in your garden or in the woods (and not in the dumpster).

A final word about them is this: if you are contemplating installing one on your boat you owe it to yourself to get opinions from people who have one installed. Visit a boat with one, talk to the owner and do a little research and see what is involved in using one in real life. Composting toilets are not for everyone, but you won't find many (almost any!) people with regrets who have installed them. I know of exactly THREE cases of people un-installing theirs (C&C being one). If you have a specific question, there are a few Sailnetters here with them, myself included.

copacabana 12-15-2012 02:37 PM

Re: Air Head Composting Toilet or Similar Mfg.
 
RichardB123, I agree 100% with your comments on the C-Head. Apples and oranges.

wolfenzee 12-15-2012 02:49 PM

Re: Air Head Composting Toilet or Similar Mfg.
 
I was instructed by the sales rep to use commercial size non-bleached coffee filters in the bottom of the bowl before I use it and the footprint is the same as a port-i-pottie (but 6" higher).
I lived on my boat for 5 years without using the port-i-pottie in it....I used the "shore head instead, as soon as I get my air head installed I will be using it.
I recycled the bronze pump from the original head as an auxiliary manual bilge pump and/or sink sump pump (my galley sink is below the waterline). Nice shinny bronze pump at the base of the companionway step

copacabana 12-15-2012 02:58 PM

Re: Air Head Composting Toilet or Similar Mfg.
 
Wolf, using the coffee filter is optional on the Air Head (many don't use it). I think you'll find the solids just drop into the chamber with no fuss. The coffee filter will just fill the composting chamber faster.

wolfenzee 12-15-2012 03:38 PM

Re: Air Head Composting Toilet or Similar Mfg.
 
Thanks, finding commercial sized bleach free coffee filters in bulk has proved difficult anyway. I don't live near a big city and don't drive.

richardb123 12-15-2012 05:19 PM

Re: Air Head Composting Toilet or Similar Mfg.
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by travlineasy (Post 962086)
I had the opportunity to see a composting head that a friend installed on his boat. He removed it two days after I saw it, pretty much echoing Chris' statements. There was a definite, pungent odor on the boat, but I guess if you lived with it daily, your olfactory senses would eventually block it out. Kinda' like entering a home where they owners have a couple dogs and cats - the place smells like a kennel, but the owners don't seem to notice.

It sounds like your friend installed or used his toilet incorrectly. There is a tight seal on the compost chamber. A fan creates negative pressure, so there is literally no way odor can escape into the boat. Even when sitting on the throne, the air is sucked into the bowl, away from the user. You don't even smell your own poop. There is less odor than the toilet at home. Your friend should call the dealer, and they can figure out what he has done wrong.

Now, there is some misunderstanding out there regarding how to deal with the solids. After the toilet is full (about 6 weeks for us), you'll need to store the solids somewhere else for another 12 weeks, for the composting process to fully complete.

This is what we have found works best, after years of experience. Take a compostable plastic bag (cheap from the hardware store) large enough to go over the lower solids bin. Invert the soilds bin and dump the contents into the compostable plastic bag. You don't need to clean out the toilet - left over material helps start the composting process again. Add peat moss and close the toilet. This is a fast job, and not unpleasant at all.

Then take the bag, and put it in a 5 gallon bucket (usually free from a restaurant). Leave the bag open, through some dirt on the top. Put the lid on the plastic bucket, and punch some small holes in the lid for ventilation. That's it. In 12 weeks, put it on plants. For a coastal cruiser this is about as easy as it gets. No pumpouts!

If we are on a long cruise, we can't take the material home. So, we try to visit a marine park where the solids can be safely and legally dumped into their pit toilet. In the event we can't find a place ashore to dump, we store the bucket in the lazarette until we can. This has always worked. It doesn't stink at all.

Obviously, when offshore you can dump over the side. Outside of the US, laws are much more logical. In most countries, it's 3 miles out to dump, and as far as "practical" in Canada and New Zealand. That means if you are in the deep channel between islands, you can dump it. US laws are zany when it comes to boating sewage.

wolfenzee 12-15-2012 07:36 PM

Re: Air Head Composting Toilet or Similar Mfg.
 
I believe the laws refer to "raw" sewage, I would check into the legality of dumping composted sewage, but it should be legal.
The Coast Guard regulations cover three types of MSDs.[4] Large vessels use either Type II or Type III MSDs. In Type II MSDs, the waste is either chemically or biologically treated prior to discharge and must meet limits of no more than 200 fecal coliforms per 100 milliliters and no more than 150 milligrams per liter of suspended solids. Type III MSDs store wastes and do not treat them; the waste is pumped out later
Section 312 of the Clean Water Act, which is also known as the Federal Water Pollution Control Act of 1956, requires a certified operable MSD on every vessel with an installed toilet to prevent the discharge of untreated or inadequately treated sewage into U.S. waters.
A properly functioning composting head would fall under the catagory of a Type II MSD. Though it is not being "discarded" because it does not go through a through hull.

davidpm 12-15-2012 10:00 PM

Re: Air Head Composting Toilet or Similar Mfg.
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by copacabana (Post 962104)
There is a lot of misinformation about composting toilets, spread by people who have never had one. Here I go again ...

You certainly seem to be well experienced so I have a couple of questions I have not seen addressed before.

1. What happens you use the boat for a weekend then leave during the week and you get a hard frost? The pee jug can be emptied before you leave of course but what happens to the solid tank? Will it freeze solid and their for can't be used.

2. What happens if you have some severe diaria for a while or for example have to take the prep for a colonoscopy that means you have diaria for at least 24 hours.

I'm not knocking the product and if the above questions don't have fun answers the scenarios they represent may be so rare as to not matter but I was wondering what you have found out.

3. Do men have to sit to get the urine to go in the correct place?

MedSailor 12-15-2012 11:17 PM

Re: Air Head Composting Toilet or Similar Mfg.
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by wolfenzee (Post 962226)
I believe the laws refer to "raw" sewage, I would check into the legality of dumping composted sewage, but it should be legal.
The Coast Guard regulations cover three types of MSDs.[4] Large vessels use either Type II or Type III MSDs. In Type II MSDs, the waste is either chemically or biologically treated prior to discharge and must meet limits of no more than 200 fecal coliforms per 100 milliliters and no more than 150 milligrams per liter of suspended solids. Type III MSDs store wastes and do not treat them; the waste is pumped out later
Section 312 of the Clean Water Act, which is also known as the Federal Water Pollution Control Act of 1956, requires a certified operable MSD on every vessel with an installed toilet to prevent the discharge of untreated or inadequately treated sewage into U.S. waters.
A properly functioning composting head would fall under the catagory of a Type II MSD. Though it is not being "discarded" because it does not go through a through hull.


The problem is that the unit needs to be coastguard certified as a type II MSD. I asked about this with the designer of the Nature's head. Both the Nature's head and Airhead are type III, which is the same as a portapotty as far as the USCG is concerned. You can't (legally) dump the contents of a type III overboard within US waters.

Also, the Nature's head and Airhead don't compost the fecal matter to a safer level than fresh fecal matter. Mostly they store and dry it. In order to safely compost human manure it must be composted at high temperature. See also: "thermophilic composting". For further reading I HIGHLY recommend "The Humanure Handbook."

MedSailor

copacabana 12-16-2012 04:00 AM

Re: Air Head Composting Toilet or Similar Mfg.
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by davidpm (Post 962308)
You certainly seem to be well experienced so I have a couple of questions I have not seen addressed before.

1. What happens you use the boat for a weekend then leave during the week and you get a hard frost? The pee jug can be emptied before you leave of course but what happens to the solid tank? Will it freeze solid and their for can't be used.

2. What happens if you have some severe diaria for a while or for example have to take the prep for a colonoscopy that means you have diaria for at least 24 hours.

I'm not knocking the product and if the above questions don't have fun answers the scenarios they represent may be so rare as to not matter but I was wondering what you have found out.

3. Do men have to sit to get the urine to go in the correct place?

David, others here have more experience with composting toilets. As I mentioned, I've had mine for over 2 years and am 100% happy with the choice. To answer your questions:

1) A hard frost (say just below freezing) I believe would be no problem. Solid water freezes and expands, breaking the walls of pipes. In the case of the composting chamber, we are dealing with a light, fluffy pile of coconut fibre which I can't see causing any problem even if were to freeze. I live in Brazil so freezing never enters my thoughts!! :D. Perhaps someone from more northern states or Canada will chime in with their experience or you can contact Nature's Head or Air Head directly.

2) Severe diarrhea will be a messy problem with ANY toilet David! The bowl of the composting toilet can be cleaned with a paper towel and the cleaner of your choice. You can put the paper in the composting chamber, although it will fill it quicker and will require much more time to compost. I routinely clean the bowl with a paper towel and a misting of vinegar and water (although as I mentioned above, never has anyone "missed" the hole to the solids chamber). Unless you have a medical condition that gives you frequent diarrhea, I wouldn't worry about it.:eek:

3) Yes, you have to sit to pee, at least with the Nature's Head (others I can't speak of). I think standing to pee is the main cause of urine finding its way into the composting chamber as it flows up over the lip with the pressure of the delivery. Most boat guys sit to pee anyway, don't they?

I hope this helps.

MedSailor 12-16-2012 12:36 PM

Re: Air Head Composting Toilet or Similar Mfg.
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by copacabana (Post 962371)



3) Yes, you have to sit to pee, at least with the Nature's Head (others I can't speak of). I think standing to pee is the main cause of urine finding its way into the composting chamber as it flows up over the lip with the pressure of the delivery. Most boat guys sit to pee anyway, don't they?

I hope this helps.

Agreed on the first 2 points.

No, unless I'm sailing on someone else's boat and it's dictated by the captain or I'm in a serious seaway I stand to pee. I'm just stubborn that way. It DOES cause liquid to enter the solids chamber and has caused me tome toilet problems such as having to add more fiber or empty the toilet sooner than I otherwise would have.

I plan to install a small urinal in the separate shower area and build up the lip that separates the diverter in the Nature's Head. I could solve the problem instantly by sitting to pee, but I'm stubborn....:rolleyes:

As for number 2 (your second point, not THAT number 2, well, actually yes that kind of.... oh never mind!) diarrhea will add more liquid to the solids chamber but not usually enough to cause problems. I've often wondered what I would do if I drank too much rum, or got a stomach bug or seasick and had to barf? That seems like too much liquid to compost! Luckily for me I keep the rum consumption in enough moderation, haven't got a stomach flu aboard yet and haven't gotten seasick. I guess I'd go for the kitchen sink...

:puke:puke:puke

MedSailor

Brent Swain 12-17-2012 07:46 PM

Re: Air Head Composting Toilet or Similar Mfg.
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by willyd (Post 961369)
And why waste the opportunity to generate electricity with it?

I find it interesting how alarming it is to read that one can get fined for dumping urine overboard. I even found myself thinking, "Gosh, I need to spend money to install a holding tank of some sort," etc. Driving over the speed limit is also a punishable offense, and people actually get injured and killed doing that one. I see people do it all the time. So I think I'll take my chances with the urine over the side thing.

Dumping it thru a cockpit drain, after dark, is an anonymous way to do it

Brent Swain 12-17-2012 07:49 PM

Re: Air Head Composting Toilet or Similar Mfg.
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by MedSailor (Post 962331)
The problem is that the unit needs to be coastguard certified as a type II MSD. I asked about this with the designer of the Nature's head. Both the Nature's head and Airhead are type III, which is the same as a portapotty as far as the USCG is concerned. You can't (legally) dump the contents of a type III overboard within US waters.

Also, the Nature's head and Airhead don't compost the fecal matter to a safer level than fresh fecal matter. Mostly they store and dry it. In order to safely compost human manure it must be composted at high temperature. See also: "thermophilic composting". For further reading I HIGHLY recommend "The Humanure Handbook."

MedSailor

Anything which doesn't discharge overboard is legal, as it is none of the coast guard's business, if it doesn't enter the ocean..

KelleyG 12-17-2012 08:03 PM

Re: Air Head Composting Toilet or Similar Mfg.
 
At the beginning I was very anti composting toilet - the idea just creeped me out. Then when we got our 31' Seafarer it had one already on board. Have to say, I was pleasantly surprised. No odor at all!

Kelley
sailingchance.com
facebook.com/sailingchance

troy2000 04-07-2013 06:40 PM

Re: Air Head Composting Toilet or Similar Mfg.
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by richardb123 (Post 962062)
The C head is a very different concept, that looks similar, so be careful there. For starters, the C head holds only 10-15 solid uses. The Nature's Head and Airhead hold 40-60. So the c-head has to be emptied far more often, which is a huge disadvantage. Empty the c-head once a week, and the Nature's Head or Airhead every 4-6 weeks.

After 4-6 weeks, much of the earlier material is dried out and composted. However after a week, the c-head will simply be a bucket full of fresh poop mixed with peat moss. The Nature's Head and Airhead, with the composting process going on strong inside, quickly break down new additions of solid matter. Emptying the NH and Airhead will be far more pleasant and far less frequent.

The c-head uses disposable milk jugs to hold urine. They won't last long, and will need to be replaced. That might be ok if you are near civilizatiopn and drink milk. The others use a sturdy plastic bottle that will last forever.

The c-head in my view is pretty much a 'bucket with a seat' system. You remove fresh turds, not compost. It also looks cheaper, in my view. The c-head is not the same thing for less money. It's another concept entirely. For another $300 or $400, I'd get a better looking, more convenient proven toilet like the NH or AH.

I installed a C-Head in my motor home about four months ago, as a test run to see if it would be suitable for the boat I'm building. And it seems to me you're passing on some misinformation....

For starters, I empty my C-Head about once a month, not once a week. I get a lot more than 10 or 15 uses each time. And it most definitely isn't 'a bucket of fresh poop' I pull out. The C-Head is a desiccating toilet, which means the solids dry out rapidly. As you churn the contents after each use, you wind up with balls of material up to the size of a baseball, that mostly look and smell like plain old peat moss.

The C_Head is easy to empty, too. I just open the unit's lid, grab the bin's handle and pull it out. Then I take it outside, pop the lid off my accumulation bucket, and pour the stuff out of the container. Set it back in the toilet, add peat moss, and I'm good to go for about another month. It takes me less than five minutes, and there's none of this stuff about slipping plastic bags over the bin, then turning it upside down to empty it -- which sounds like a guaranteed recipe for a spill sooner or later, to me.


The gallon jugs work just fine. They're easier to handle than the two-gallon custom units used in the Air Head and Nature's Head -- and a whole lot cheaper. I replace them regularly anyway, so I'm not worried about how durable they are. And since I buy milk and water anyway, I have a never-ending supply of them....

If by 'looking cheap' you mean the C-Head doesn't look as fancy as the others, I suppose you're right. But it looks fine to me with its clean, simple lines. It also cost me a whole lot less; it takes up less room; it weighs less; it works fine; and I bought it so I could sit on it -- not so I could leave the door open and admire it between uses.;)

The hard part is going to be deciding whether to install this C-Head in my boat as planned when my build is complete, and reinstall the original toilet in my motor home, or keep this one where it is and spring for another one to install in the boat. Decisions, decisions.....

add: those 'sturdy plastic bottles' the others use last forever? Don't you believe it. I've read a couple of posts on other forums from people who said theirs started leaking, and they aren't cheap if you have to replace them -- or if you simply want a couple of spares for convenience.

troy2000 04-07-2013 07:07 PM

Re: Air Head Composting Toilet or Similar Mfg.
 
Here's a shot of my C-Head installed in my beat-up, ancient motor home. The only problem is that when someone rewired and re-plumbed the old beast years ago, they ran a wiring and plumbing chase across the back of the toilet stall, that holds the unit out from the wall. So the toilet seat lid doesn't lean back on its hinges far enough to touch the wall. Eventually I'll install a small shelf on the wall at a convenient height to act as a lid stop; meanwhile it hasn't been a problem. I don't normally lean back like I'm in an easy chair anyway, when I'm on the pot.\.

By the way, keep in mind that this toilet only gets used by one person. And even when I move it to the boat, it shouldn't get more than occasional weekend use by a couple. If I were plumbing for a crowd, I might go with something bigger and fancier...
...
...
Well, ratz. Apparently I don't have permission to post images yet, because I haven't made the required minimum ten posts.

mad_machine 04-07-2013 07:11 PM

Re: Air Head Composting Toilet or Similar Mfg.
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by MedSailor (Post 962468)
Agreed on the first 2 points.

As for number 2 (your second point, not THAT number 2, well, actually yes that kind of.... oh never mind!) diarrhea will add more liquid to the solids chamber but not usually enough to cause problems. I've often wondered what I would do if I drank too much rum, or got a stomach bug or seasick and had to barf? That seems like too much liquid to compost! Luckily for me I keep the rum consumption in enough moderation, haven't got a stomach flu aboard yet and haven't gotten seasick. I guess I'd go for the kitchen sink...


MedSailor

I like the idea of the composting toilets.. that but that is my question. I have Crohnes disease so watery deposits are a way of life for me. Not to get gross.. but it varies from day to day from almost normal to the worst case of the runs you can imagine.

So you can understand my wondering if a composting toilet can handle that?

troy2000 04-07-2013 08:35 PM

Re: Air Head Composting Toilet or Similar Mfg.
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by mad_machine (Post 1013420)
I like the idea of the composting toilets.. that but that is my question. I have Crohnes disease so watery deposits are a way of life for me. Not to get gross.. but it varies from day to day from almost normal to the worst case of the runs you can imagine.

So you can understand my wondering if a composting toilet can handle that?

I think one should. I had a bad case of something a couple of weeks ago, and was basically liquid for a couple of days. My toilet handled it just fine.

At worst, you might have to add some extra medium (peat moss, coir or whatever) on your bad days, so your toilet might neeed to be emptied a little more often.

mad_machine 04-07-2013 09:28 PM

Re: Air Head Composting Toilet or Similar Mfg.
 
that doesn't sound so bad. I might get the cheaper one talked about earlier for the sea sprite I am buying to give it a try

MedSailor 04-07-2013 10:49 PM

Re: Air Head Composting Toilet or Similar Mfg.
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by mad_machine (Post 1013420)
I like the idea of the composting toilets.. that but that is my question. I have Crohnes disease so watery deposits are a way of life for me. Not to get gross.. but it varies from day to day from almost normal to the worst case of the runs you can imagine.

So you can understand my wondering if a composting toilet can handle that?

I think that the pooh powder (mentioned earlier in the thread) would be the solution if things got too wet for the compost to handle. Haven't tried it yet, but plan to get some.

<iframe width="640" height="360" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/ESxJ6EWyD6c?feature=player_detailpage" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>

MedSailor

richardb123 04-07-2013 11:33 PM

Re: Air Head Composting Toilet or Similar Mfg.
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by MedSailor (Post 962331)
The problem is that the unit needs to be coastguard certified as a type II MSD. I asked about this with the designer of the Nature's head. Both the Nature's head and Airhead are type III, which is the same as a portapotty as far as the USCG is concerned. You can't (legally) dump the contents of a type III overboard within US waters.

Also, the Nature's head and Airhead don't compost the fecal matter to a safer level than fresh fecal matter. Mostly they store and dry it. In order to safely compost human manure it must be composted at high temperature. See also: "thermophilic composting". For further reading I HIGHLY recommend "The Humanure Handbook."

MedSailor

Good points...but if I may clarify a bit...according to the Humanure Handbook, the hot composting is only required to make absolutely 100% certain that absoultely no pathogens whatsoever exist in the material. This is only required when the stuff is going on edible plants. After 12 weeks of summertime temperatures, the material should be very much compost, and quite suitable for non-edible plants. The Nature's Head and others do require secondary composting for this 12 week period, when no fresh matter is added. When I empty my Nature's Head after 6 weeks or so, only the most recent deposit or two looks anything like poop. The composting of the older matter is well underway.

richardb123 04-07-2013 11:49 PM

Re: Air Head Composting Toilet or Similar Mfg.
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by troy2000 (Post 1013405)
I installed a C-Head in my motor home about four months ago, as a test run to see if it would be suitable for the boat I'm building. And it seems to me you're passing on some misinformation....

For starters, I empty my C-Head about once a month, not once a week. I get a lot more than 10 or 15 uses each time. And it most definitely isn't 'a bucket of fresh poop' I pull out. The C-Head is a desiccating toilet, which means the solids dry out rapidly. As you churn the contents after each use, you wind up with balls of material up to the size of a baseball, that mostly look and smell like plain old peat moss.

The C_Head is easy to empty, too. I just open the unit's lid, grab the bin's handle and pull it out. Then I take it outside, pop the lid off my accumulation bucket, and pour the stuff out of the container. Set it back in the toilet, add peat moss, and I'm good to go for about another month. It takes me less than five minutes, and there's none of this stuff about slipping plastic bags over the bin, then turning it upside down to empty it -- which sounds like a guaranteed recipe for a spill sooner or later, to me.


The gallon jugs work just fine. They're easier to handle than the two-gallon custom units used in the Air Head and Nature's Head -- and a whole lot cheaper. I replace them regularly anyway, so I'm not worried about how durable they are. And since I buy milk and water anyway, I have a never-ending supply of them....

If by 'looking cheap' you mean the C-Head doesn't look as fancy as the others, I suppose you're right. But it looks fine to me with its clean, simple lines. It also cost me a whole lot less; it takes up less room; it weighs less; it works fine; and I bought it so I could sit on it -- not so I could leave the door open and admire it between uses.;)

The hard part is going to be deciding whether to install this C-Head in my boat as planned when my build is complete, and reinstall the original toilet in my motor home, or keep this one where it is and spring for another one to install in the boat. Decisions, decisions.....

add: those 'sturdy plastic bottles' the others use last forever? Don't you believe it. I've read a couple of posts on other forums from people who said theirs started leaking, and they aren't cheap if you have to replace them -- or if you simply want a couple of spares for convenience.

Glad you like it. The main thing is that it is working for you. The emptying once a week bit comes from the builder, not me. If you are getting more out of yours, that is great. The longer you can wait before emptying, the less like poop the contents will be. My Nature's Head holds 6 weeks worth of material, with two people almost full time (not large people, mind you, and we will use a toilet ashore if the opportunity presents itself, so our success rate might be skewed a bit high). But 6 weeks! That is soooo good. The head on my boat went from being the biggest pain in the butt, after the engine, to being an almost unnoticed thing. And, I now have 30 gallons of fresh water where that holding tank used to be. (in a new tank, of course!)

Regarding leaks from the bottle...hmmm that is strange. I would think they overfilled it. The extra bottles, if you chose to buy one (I did not, no need) are $40, I think. It's nothing like a milk jug, it's quite heavy duty, and I like that. To make it leak, I think I'd need a drill or a saw. It's heavy, molded plastic (there are no seams) so there is really no way for it to leak.

troy2000 04-08-2013 01:06 AM

Re: Air Head Composting Toilet or Similar Mfg.
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by richardb123 (Post 1013516)
Glad you like it. The main thing is that it is working for you. The emptying once a week bit comes from the builder, not me. If you are getting more out of yours, that is great. The longer you can wait before emptying, the less like poop the contents will be. My Nature's Head holds 6 weeks worth of material, with two people almost full time (not large people, mind you, and we will use a toilet ashore if the opportunity presents itself, so our success rate might be skewed a bit high). But 6 weeks! That is soooo good. The head on my boat went from being the biggest pain in the butt, after the engine, to being an almost unnoticed thing. And, I now have 30 gallons of fresh water where that holding tank used to be. (in a new tank, of course!)

Regarding leaks from the bottle...hmmm that is strange. I would think they overfilled it. The extra bottles, if you chose to buy one (I did not, no need) are $40, I think. It's nothing like a milk jug, it's quite heavy duty, and I like that. To make it leak, I think I'd need a drill or a saw. It's heavy, molded plastic (there are no seams) so there is really no way for it to leak.

If I remember correctly, Sandy (the builder) says the unit is good for 10 or 15 uses per person if a couple is using it. Which sounds about right: a couple using one for two weeks equals a single person using it for a month. Although I could use it longer than that, if I needed to. I empty it whenever I start feeling some resistance to the paddle as I crank, but that's just a convenient signal... I'm guessing I could fill it twice as full. As easy as it is to empty, though, there's no real point in doing so.

No, the complaints about leaky urine containers were definitely because they were leaking, not because they were overfilled. I was surprised myself, when I read them. Do they have some sort of valves or slip fittings that can go bad?

Milk jugs and water jugs are also molded in one piece, you know... I've never had one leak on me in the fridge, unless it had been severely mangled before it got there. So I don't expect them to leak in the C-head either, especially since I replace them whenever I have an extra jug handy. I do so because I'm too lazy to rinse them out, not because I'm afraid they're going to fall apart on me.

I'll admit that because I'm using one-gallon jugs, I usually empty them every other day. And if two of us were using the C-Head, I'd probably empty them daily as part of my morning ritual. But all I have to do is (again), just lift the lid and grab them. Then I can either cap them for later disposal and throw a spare in, or empty them and stick them back in the toilet.

When I take to the water with my new boat, I plan to stash drinking water in a row of the same type of one gallon jugs (I won't be making any ocean passages; it's going to be a lake boat). So I don't anticipate any future shortage of urine jugs...:)

As far as actual composting goes, I've been doing that in my secondary collection bucket, which has a vented lid. I just dump the new batch into it, and sprinkle a little water in to get things going.

edit: oops, my bad. The owner's manual does say 10-15 uses. But I definitely get a lot more than that out of mine, with no problems.

wolfenzee 04-08-2013 11:50 AM

Re: Air Head Composting Toilet or Similar Mfg.
 
My air head goes 60 uses, the top removes to get access to the bottom half which has handles, it can either just be dumped or where this is not possible, the sales rep pointed out the bags designed for trash compactors fit perfectly to dump it into.
The Nature's head failed miserably with the previous owner for several reasons, [1] he cleaned it out rather than just dumping it (removing all of the "starter" [2] It was used in a house with poor heating in winter [3] It was used by one man and two woman, which didn't give it time to "do it's thing".
Interestingly enough a composting head is classied the same as a "port-i-pottie", techinically it is not legal to dump it overboard, even though it is legal to pump out macerated waste.

krisscross 04-08-2013 12:23 PM

Re: Air Head Composting Toilet or Similar Mfg.
 
I wonder how would sawdust work in composting toilets?
Is there a preferred ratio of poop to coconut fiber or peat moss?
Which one of the composting toilets is the smallest (best able to fit in a small boat)?

wolfenzee 04-08-2013 01:27 PM

Re: Air Head Composting Toilet or Similar Mfg.
 
DO NOT USE SAWDUST
I asked the sales rep if it needed a special peat moss and he said he was not trying to sell me something I could get anywhere....any peat most work (he said get a big bag, separate it into 1gal ziplock bags and if it is dry spray with a little water before using it (I just kept an eye out for when landscapers were doing work around the the marina or some other planters and take a little here and there). Some people use coconut fiber, sawdust has too many chemicals in it and exotic woods can be toxic.
I was advised to put a commercial size coffee filter in the bowl before each use (nothing sticks to the side) but you have to be careful and get the ones that do not have bleach.

outbound 04-08-2013 01:52 PM

Re: Air Head Composting Toilet or Similar Mfg.
 
4 Attachment(s)
Sounds like this makes great sense for a small boat. But:
1.Every since I found out I could write my name in snow I stubbornly stand.
2. Even sitting would be concerned about getting #1 where it's needs to go and same for #2 when it's bouncy. Concerned if thing will work correctly on a passage.
3. When coastal use fresh water in my heads and flush with salt straight overboard when offshore. No smell ever.
4. Have two people on board 95% of time. Have two heads with large holding tanks tucked away. Flush whenever we go in for water or diesel or for a sail. Not an issue.

?Has anybody use one of these on a passage making boat.? How did it work out for you.

wolfenzee 04-08-2013 02:06 PM

Re: Air Head Composting Toilet or Similar Mfg.
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by krisscross (Post 1013681)
I wonder how would sawdust work in composting toilets?
Is there a preferred ratio of poop to coconut fiber or peat moss?
Which one of the composting toilets is the smallest (best able to fit in a small boat)?

Sales rep for Nature's head said 1 gallon zip lock bag full of peat moss. You can also buy stuff to spray in it after each use, I am guessing some sort of enzyme as a "helper" (some sources of this can be extremely expensive).

troy2000 04-08-2013 03:09 PM

Re: Air Head Composting Toilet or Similar Mfg.
 
Per suggestions in the owner's manual for my C-Head, I keep my peat moss in plastic wide-mouth jars that hold about a quart each. I pre-fill them outside with a scoop from the bucket I keep my peat moss in, stash them on a shelf, and use about 1 1/2 jars each time I empty the unit. They're just the right size for dumping into the C-Head without making a mess.....

Brent Swain 04-08-2013 04:52 PM

Re: Air Head Composting Toilet or Similar Mfg.
 
My book has the dimensions and details on building a composter. A sheet of newspaper
( with a picture of a politician you hate on it) works as well as a coffee filtre.
The stuff you find under old, moss covered logs works as well as peat moss. I put it in a cloth bag and hang it over my wood stove for a while, to dry it.

wolfenzee 04-08-2013 10:51 PM

Re: Air Head Composting Toilet or Similar Mfg.
 
Even though I am poor and on a budget, my boat came with a port-i-pottie and that just had to go. The ""proper head" along with through hull, holding tank, etc was gone and was to complicated to replace. I was willing to bite the bullet and buy a new air-head (about $975). But a friend had tried one out in a land setting and it failed miserably, none of the fault was the air head, he just used it wrong in the wrong environment with too many people, etc...so he gave it to me.
The foot print is the same as the port-i-pottie, but it is 6" higher and would no longer fit under the bunk....so I installed a bulkhead giving more places to install shelves and bins and giving me an enclosed head (woohoo).

troy2000 04-08-2013 11:04 PM

Re: Air Head Composting Toilet or Similar Mfg.
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by krisscross (Post 1013681)
I wonder how would sawdust work in composting toilets?
Is there a preferred ratio of poop to coconut fiber or peat moss?
Which one of the composting toilets is the smallest (best able to fit in a small boat)?

I don't know that there's any ratio quoted; you charge your unit with the amount specified by the instructions, then add more if it doesn't seem to be doing the job. My C-Head takes 1 1/2 to 2 one-quart jars of peat moss; the others are larger and take more.

Of the three we've been talking about here (Air Head, Nature's Head and C-Head), the C-Head is definitely the smallest and lightest. That doesn't mean it's flimsy, though; it's solid as a rock.

There are basically three models, if I remember right. The original, which I have, is great for setting against a vertical bulkhead. There's another one with a smaller footprint in the back, for fitting into corners better. And the third one has the bottom clipped at an angle in the back, so it'll fit better against the sloped side of a boat.

I'd post links or pictures, but I haven't reached the magic number of ten posts yet.... :o

fryewe 04-08-2013 11:19 PM

Re: Air Head Composting Toilet or Similar Mfg.
 
For me one of the key things that sold me on a C-head was I no longer had to use that flimsy single ply tissue. Soft double-ply luxury is available and affordable and doesn't plug the plumbing!

troy2000 05-01-2013 11:09 AM

Re: Air Head Composting Toilet or Similar Mfg.
 
1 Attachment(s)
Quote:

Originally Posted by troy2000 (Post 1013959)
I don't know that there's any ratio quoted; you charge your unit with the amount specified by the instructions, then add more if it doesn't seem to be doing the job. My C-Head takes 1 1/2 to 2 one-quart jars of peat moss; the others are larger and take more.

Of the three we've been talking about here (Air Head, Nature's Head and C-Head), the C-Head is definitely the smallest and lightest. That doesn't mean it's flimsy, though.

There are basically three models, if I remember right. The original, which I have, is great for setting against a vertical bulkhead. There's another one with a smaller footprint, that fits into corners better. And the third one has the bottom clipped at an angle in the back, so it'll fit better against the sloped side of a boat.

I'd post links or pictures, but I haven't reached the magic number of ten posts yet.... :o

I think I'm allowed to post pic's now... let's give it a try.

The problem with my installation was that there's a plumbing and electrical chase against the back wall that holds the toilet out about four inches (thanks, dad-in-law who never saw a job you couldn't mickey-mouse....). The space was so small to begin with that even with the old RV flushing toilet I had to open the door to wipe my bottom without leaving a forehead print on said door. With the C-Head being four inches closer to the door than the old toilet that flared out over the chase, I just leave it ajar now. No biggie; I'm the only one here.

The other problem with the chase holding the toilet off the back wall was that it left the toilet lid unsupported in the up position. I took care of that by installing a pocket shelf on the back wall, that's just low enough to catch the top of the toilet lid. End of problem - and I wound up with a handy place to stash toilet-related supplies, like the spray cleanser with vinegar I use for the urine catcher and the baking soda I mix into the peat moss.

It's also a great place to stow the crank and lid when I'm using the toilet.. No more just dropping them on the floor, or leaning them in the wash basin.....

And by the way, I shouldn't rag on my father-in-law; I was mostly joking. He originally picked this motor home up cheap somewhere and put an ungodly number of hours into bringing it back from the dead, intending to sell it for a profit. Then he decided I needed it because I work away from home - and just flat gave it to me. I've never added up what he's saved me in rent for the last 12 years by doing that, but it's gotta be a bundle.

wolfenzee 05-01-2013 11:15 AM

Re: Air Head Composting Toilet or Similar Mfg.
 
I found a source of "bleach-less" commercial coffee filters to line the inside of the bowl with (WalMart about $8 for 200 Melita I think). I have also heard of people who had an old holding tank replaced the pee jug with a hose to the holding tank.

troy2000 05-01-2013 11:19 AM

Re: Air Head Composting Toilet or Similar Mfg.
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by wolfenzee (Post 1013956)
Even though I am poor and on a budget, my boat came with a port-i-pottie and that just had to go. The ""proper head" along with through hull, holding tank, etc was gone and was to complicated to replace. I was willing to bite the bullet and buy a new air-head (about $975). But a friend had tried one out in a land setting and it failed miserably, none of the fault was the air head, he just used it wrong in the wrong environment with too many people, etc...so he gave it to me.
The foot print is the same as the port-i-pottie, but it is 6" higher and would no longer fit under the bunk....so I installed a bulkhead giving more places to install shelves and bins and giving me an enclosed head (woohoo).

Congrats, I'd say you made out like a bandit. You should've been wearing a bandanna over your face when you picked it up.:p

But of course your post is worthless without pic's.....

troy2000 05-01-2013 12:03 PM

Re: Air Head Composting Toilet or Similar Mfg.
 
1 Attachment(s)
Quote:

Originally Posted by wolfenzee (Post 1023868)
I found a source of "bleach-less" commercial coffee filters to line the inside of the bowl with (WalMart about $8 for 200 Melita I think). I have also heard of people who had an old holding tank replaced the pee jug with a hose to the holding tank.

Don't need coffee filters with a C-Head. It has a low-tech lid that just sets in place in place when the toilet isn't in use. When the toilet's in use and the lid's out of the way, it's a straight drop into the darkness....

Here's a pic that shows the lid I'm talking about. While we're at it, I remember a suggestion I got from someone; I don't remember whether it was here or at boatdesign.net. But he said I should add a fold-out urinal in the cabinet wall under the wash basin, with a drain that tied into the basin's drain. So the urine would mysteriously disappear, just like the grey water does.

Gotta admit, I'm for anything that reduces how often I have to empty pee jugs. But it would be downright embarrassing for someone official to notice that gizmo....

Skipper Jer 05-01-2013 12:16 PM

Re: Air Head Composting Toilet or Similar Mfg.
 
I've been following these composting toilet threads for a while now. My boat needs a toilet, and I'm convinced it will be a composting one. I'm just not about to spend almost a grand for a plastic bucket with a stirring stick. Just not gonna do it. So I guess I'll have to build one, can't be that hard. I have a few questions. In the picture above why is there a lid covering the collection chamber? If its to provide a seal why not put a gasket on the backside of the seat and the surface of the lid that mates with the seat? That would form an air seal. Second, why are these units taller than a porta-potty or a conventional water toilet? I understand the purpose of the stirring stick is to break up the solid material and mix it with the peat moss or coconut fiber.

wolfenzee 05-01-2013 12:21 PM

Re: Air Head Composting Toilet or Similar Mfg.
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by troy2000 (Post 1023870)
Congrats, I'd say you made out like a bandit. You should've been wearing a bandanna over your face when you picked it up.:p

But of course this post is worthless without pic's.....

I've gotten good at that, like the pair of bronze Barient 2-speed winches ($140), RayMarine RL_72 Plus ($125), Dickinson stainless barbeque and wood stove ($0), 180% Genny w/ roller furling gear, 180% Genny hank-on, 35' luff Yankee, 25' luff Yankee, 35' luff working jib (total $450), all new 1/4" 316ss standing rigging ($250), Tamaya no2 Sextant ($40), Flat compass w/5" card and bronze binnicale ($200), 7" bronze bell ($0), running & stern lights 4 1/2" w/bronze cap $50, etc....

troy2000 05-01-2013 12:25 PM

Re: Air Head Composting Toilet or Similar Mfg.
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Captainmeme (Post 1023895)
I've been following these composting toilet threads for a while now. My boat needs a toilet, and I'm convinced it will be a composting one. I'm just not about to spend almost a grand for a plastic bucket with a stirring stick. Just not gonna do it. So I guess I'll have to build one, can't be that hard. I have a few questions. In the picture above why is there a lid covering the collection chamber? If its to provide a seal why not put a gasket on the backside of the seat and the surface of the lid that mates with the seat? That would form an air seal. Second, why are these units taller than a porta-potty or a conventional water toilet? I understand the purpose of the stirring stick is to break up the solid material and mix it with the peat moss or coconut fiber.

Judging from pic's at C-Head's website, it looks like Sandy (the owner) tried attaching the sealing lid to the toilet lid at one time. I can think of a couple of reasons that might not have turned out to be practical, including the precision needed to make the lid fit properly. For example, just a small shift in the plastic bolts attaching the toilet lid and seat could have moved the sealing lid enough to keep it from doing its job.

Sometimes simple solutions are so practical there's no sense getting fancy.... it isn't exactly a hardship to grab the lid and set it out of the way, and I'd say it beats having to use a coffee filter every time you go.

And unlike the Air Head or Nature's Head, the C-Head does happen to be the same height as a standard toilet.

You're right; it isn't really that hard to build your own - assuming you have a work space and the time, and are reasonably handy with tools. In fact, it sounds like a good idea. But in my life, time to fiddle around building stuff instead of buying it has been shrinking for years now. When I retire I'll theoretically have plenty of time, but I'm hoping to have my boat in the water by then. Taking on sub-projects along the way would just complicate things....

troy2000 05-01-2013 12:28 PM

Re: Air Head Composting Toilet or Similar Mfg.
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by wolfenzee (Post 1023900)
I've gotten good at that, like the pair of bronze Barient 2-speed winches ($140), RayMarine RL_72 Plus ($125), Dickinson stainless barbeque and wood stove ($0), 180% Genny w/ roller furling gear, 180% Genny hank-on, 35' luff Yankee, 25' luff Yankee, 35' luff working jib (total $450), all new 1/4" 316ss standing rigging ($250), Tamaya no2 Sextant ($40), Flat compass w/5" card and bronze binnicale ($200), 7" bronze bell ($0), running & stern lights 4 1/2" w/bronze cap $50, etc....

If one'a dem winches disappears, I don't know nuttin' about it. OK? So don't come boderin' me...:D

wolfenzee 05-01-2013 12:32 PM

Re: Air Head Composting Toilet or Similar Mfg.
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by troy2000 (Post 1023906)
If one'a dem winches disappears, I don't know nuttin' about it. OK? So don't come boderin' me...:D

I made the winch mounts out of 2" thick silver bali (90bf was given to me by the same guy who gave me the 7" bronze bell), the only way to get them out is with a chain saw.

troy2000 05-01-2013 12:41 PM

Re: Air Head Composting Toilet or Similar Mfg.
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by wolfenzee (Post 1023910)
I made the winch mounts out of 2" thick silver bali (90bf was given to me by the same guy who gave me the 7" bronze bell), the only way to get them out is with a chain saw.

I'm not da only guy in da world what owns a chainsaw, y'know? I'm just sayin'....;)

But in reality, I'm probably more envious of the BBQ, the wood stove and the brass bell.

troy2000 05-01-2013 01:15 PM

Re: Air Head Composting Toilet or Similar Mfg.
 
1 Attachment(s)
A pic of the C-head in use. Well, right after use, anyway... this is supposed to be a family-friendly forum.:)

katsailor 05-01-2013 03:06 PM

Re: Air Head Composting Toilet or Similar Mfg.
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by copacabana (Post 962371)
Most boat guys sit to pee anyway, don't they?

I hope this helps.


Ahhhhh NO

troy2000 05-01-2013 03:29 PM

Re: Air Head Composting Toilet or Similar Mfg.
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by katsailor (Post 1023972)
Ahhhhh NO

If I'm in my underwear, and sometimes if I'm just wearing pants instead of coveralls, I'll sit. Otherwise it isn't that hard to use a C-Head standing up, as long as your aim is reasonably good.

miatapaul 05-01-2013 05:37 PM

Re: Air Head Composting Toilet or Similar Mfg.
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by troy2000 (Post 1023989)
If I'm in my underwear, and sometimes if I'm just wearing pants instead of coveralls, I'll sit. Otherwise it isn't that hard to use a C-Head standing up, as long as your aim is reasonably good.

Yea, and how many drinks you have had! But everyone knows real sailors sit!:laugher

I really like the idea of the C-Head, just not sure if I like the home depot parts element to it. In some ways they look more finished than an air head or a Natures head, but the stirring mechanism looks a bit homebrewed. I plan on living aboard in the winter when pump-outs are not really available and I don't see taking a boat with shrink-wrap 3 miles out!

Brent Swain 05-01-2013 05:43 PM

Re: Air Head Composting Toilet or Similar Mfg.
 
I just drop in a stainless pot lid from the thrift store, over the raised lip around the big hole. Doesnt matter if you miss, it wont go in the solids. I set the lid aside when taking a dump. Simple .

Brent Swain 05-01-2013 05:47 PM

Re: Air Head Composting Toilet or Similar Mfg.
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Captainmeme (Post 1023895)
I've been following these composting toilet threads for a while now. My boat needs a toilet, and I'm convinced it will be a composting one. I'm just not about to spend almost a grand for a plastic bucket with a stirring stick. Just not gonna do it. So I guess I'll have to build one, can't be that hard. I have a few questions. In the picture above why is there a lid covering the collection chamber? If its to provide a seal why not put a gasket on the backside of the seat and the surface of the lid that mates with the seat? That would form an air seal. Second, why are these units taller than a porta-potty or a conventional water toilet? I understand the purpose of the stirring stick is to break up the solid material and mix it with the peat moss or coconut fiber.

I've used urethane foam, coated with resin for a mold for the seat and separator. I've also used a stainless mixing bowl, cut the first fibreglass dome in half and inserted a couple more inches between the two.

miatapaul 05-01-2013 05:50 PM

Re: Air Head Composting Toilet or Similar Mfg.
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Brent Swain (Post 1024067)
I just drop in a stainless pot lid from the thrift stor,e over the raised lip around the big hole. Doesnt matter if you miss, it wont go in the solids. I set the lid aside when taking a dump. Simple .

Note to self, don't eat Brent's world famous beef stew! :laugher

Brent Swain 05-01-2013 06:02 PM

Re: Air Head Composting Toilet or Similar Mfg.
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by miatapaul (Post 1024073)
Note to self, don't eat Brent's world famous beef stew! :laugher

My boxing coach said "Brent , you have lost weight."
I said "I'm on the Brent diet. With my cooking, you have no inclination to go back for seconds."

troy2000 05-01-2013 11:35 PM

Re: Air Head Composting Toilet or Similar Mfg.
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by miatapaul (Post 1024063)
Yea, and how many drinks you have had! But everyone knows real sailors sit!:laugher

I really like the idea of the C-Head, just not sure if I like the home depot parts element to it. In some ways they look more finished than an air head or a Natures head, but the stirring mechanism looks a bit homebrewed. I plan on living aboard in the winter when pump-outs are not really available and I don't see taking a boat with shrink-wrap 3 miles out!

If it works, it works - home-brewed looking or not. And it does...

katsailor 05-02-2013 09:21 AM

Re: Air Head Composting Toilet or Similar Mfg.
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Brent Swain (Post 1024080)
My boxing coach said "Brent , you have lost weight."
I said "I'm on the Brent diet. With my cooking, you have no inclination to go back for seconds."

You have to remeber to cook the piss out of it.

krisscross 05-02-2013 09:49 AM

Re: Air Head Composting Toilet or Similar Mfg.
 
The more I read about these composting toilets the more I think that for light use the same thing can be accomplished in a 5 gallon pail or bucket. Do your business, cover the skat with a bunch of peat moss, close the lid, shake and swirl for a minute. That might be adequate for short periods of stay on a boat at least.

Skipper Jer 05-02-2013 11:55 AM

Re: Air Head Composting Toilet or Similar Mfg.
 
Can someone describe the agitator mechanism for me? Does one rotate the crank 360 degrees or is it a back and forth action?

katsailor 05-02-2013 12:30 PM

Re: Air Head Composting Toilet or Similar Mfg.
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Captainmeme (Post 1024478)
Can someone describe the agitator mechanism for me? Does one rotate the crank 360 degrees or is it a back and forth action?


Remove stainless steel thrift store pot lid, insert stainless steel thrift store spatula or spoon in composting resevoir , while trying not to dump out the pee in the lid. Give her a few stirs in a 360 ccw direction if you are in the northern hemisphere then install the pot lid. Dip your spoon in a vinegar and water mix, let drain then sit back and think about stew. :laugher

Skipper Jer 05-02-2013 12:35 PM

Re: Air Head Composting Toilet or Similar Mfg.
 
Mmmm.........kat, that option won't fly with the admiral. She'll want something not so, ah, closely involved. Also I really don't want the "thrift store spoon" flying around the cabin or having a guest inadvertently using it as a kitchen utensil. But thanks for the suggestion.


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