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I'm going through old video footage and getting caught up on publishing:

For those who don't want to bother watching the video, here's the quick highlights:
  • Used the toilet exclusively for about a month
  • Used it as my primary with shore facilities as backup for another month
  • For me, it works well and achieves the goal of being a good system that takes up less space
  • It does smell a little, but the smell is more like garden soil and I don't find it offensive
  • It can gross very quickly if I don't keep up on the maintenance
  • I don't feel like the regular maintenance is any more disgusting than the regular cleaning of a pump head
  • The liquid bottle is a bigger issue than the solids bucket when it comes to maintenance
 

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Thank you for sharing the video and Summary Bill!

Mike / Bill, Did either of you install the recommended electric fan with your head? If so, do you leave it running full time or just circulate it periodically?

Thanks!
Dave
 

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Mike / Bill, Did either of you install the recommended electric fan with your head? If so, do you leave it running full time or just circulate it periodically?
Yes, my head (Nature's Head) recommends the fan, and I'm quite sure that this is a key part of how it works. These heads are more accurately called desiccating or drying heads. They do compost, but the main action involves diluting and drying the feces material. This is where air flow really helps.

This brings up a key difference between the main commercial composting head options out there. Both Nature's and Air are very similar. C-head (which I believe Bill has, but I'm not 100% sure) uses a slightly different approach. The first two have holding tanks are nearly the same, they both recommend venting, and have about the same cycle period on the main tank of; about a month for two people, full time.

C-head's tanks are about 1/2 the size, do not require external venting (although certainly can use it), and have a cycle period of about 2-weeks. They're smaller tank sizes simple require more frequent dumping. The main BIG advantage of C-head is that is uses standard bins for its collection tanks. Nature's and Air use proprietary tanks. So with C-head you can use normal gallon jugs for urine and a standard bucket for the main tank.

I chose Nature's Head because it fit a little better in my existing head space, but also because it has the largest holding bins. I prefer the longer periods between dumping, but there's nothing wrong with going with more frequent dumps.
 

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Thank you for the info Mike! Sounds like venting is the key...and possibly the toughest part to install unless you have an extra hole already. As you know, I've been looking at these for years. We sold our old Pearson and bought a slightly newer Tartan about a year ago. Would love to gain back the space that the holding tank occupies, specially since its right below the V-birth. The standard head and tank are working pretty good as is, but could use a new set of hoses and ventilation...figure it may be time for a change. Do you use the coconut husks or the standard peat moss? Also, can you give me an idea how much you go through living full time for half the year?
 

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Old soul
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Most people just use the existing deck pump out hatch to run the vent to. That's what I've done. I just installed a simple mushroom vent where the pump out used to be. Easy, peasy.
 

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Great idea! Mine is up near the anchor locker...a little exposed, but maybe I could seal it while under way. Might even be able to fabricate (mickey mouse) a threaded base for a solar fan that I could easily swap out for the cap. Hmmm...
Thanks!
 

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Old soul
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Great idea! Mine is up near the anchor locker...a little exposed, but maybe I could seal it while under way. Might even be able to fabricate (mickey mouse) a threaded base for a solar fan that I could easily swap out for the cap. Hmmm...
Thanks!
I use a sealable mushroom vent. I've learned, through bitter experience :oops:, to close the vent whenever we head into lumpy seas. It's not hard to do. Just gotta remember ;).
 

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Nice balanced video review thanks.
I'm seriously considering one of these when I get my boat.
If I have to have a holding tank on my boat I'd rather it be grey water just from showers and sinks than to know that other stuff is floating around onboard.

Re: the bomb site issue- I read somewhere that somebody used a compostable version of basically big coffee filters and just throw one in the toilet before you go. Also makes the experience nicer for guests. Apparently the paper just breaks down with the rest of it.

By the way if you're a liveaboard, can't you just direct the pee tank to a through hull somewhere, like wherever your original sea toilet used to go? There must be some way to rig that up.
 

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Old soul
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Re: the bomb site issue- I read somewhere that somebody used a compostable version of basically big coffee filters and just throw one in the toilet before you go. Also makes the experience nicer for guests. Apparently the paper just breaks down with the rest of it.
I believe Air Head actually recommends the use of coffee filters. Nature's Head and C-head does not. I can tell you in my near decade use of Nature's Head, the "bomb" situation has happened to me perhaps a 1/2 dozen times. In other words, it doesn't seem to be an issue for me, nor my spouse. Nothing wrong with using coffee filters, but it would add more material to the main tank.

By the way if you're a liveaboard, can't you just direct the pee tank to a through hull somewhere, like wherever your original sea toilet used to go? There must be some way to rig that up.
You could, and some do. I've not found dumping the urine bucket to be much of a chore, but if you want to avoid this then your idea would work.
 

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Old soul
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Nope. Illegal in any non-discharge zone. Good thing everyone goes three miles off shore before discharging. And certainly no one would ever pee over the side... ;).
 

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Nope. Illegal in any non-discharge zone. Good thing everyone goes three miles off shore before discharging. And certainly no one would ever pee over the side... ;).
I don't have the reference handy but I remember reading that there is a legal difference between peeing over the side (legally OK) and using a device to do so (legal no-no). The latter would be classified as an MSD and it would not be one of the three approved classes of devices (in US waters).

We can discuss to what extent this makes sense...
 

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Old soul
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I don't have the reference handy but I remember reading that there is a legal difference between peeing over the side (legally OK) and using a device to do so (legal no-no). The latter would be classified as an MSD and it would not be one of the three approved classes of devices (in US waters).

We can discuss to what extent this makes sense...
I've read this Internet wisdom as well, but never had it verified in law. I suspect the actual law varies, although if you're observed peeing over the side by officials I suppose you could be charged with indecent exposure, so either way, not legal.

The POINT is, it's silly to get all pissy :) about peeing over the side (or peeing in a container, and then dumping over the side). Reasonable people do neither while in company that could be bothered or offended. And neither practice makes any measurable impact on the environment.
 
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