Bus Conversion Magazine Bulletin Board

Bus Discussion => Bus Topics ( click here for quick start! ) => Topic started by: Old Scool Bus on November 26, 2009, 12:32:17 PM



Title: Composting Toilet
Post by: Old Scool Bus on November 26, 2009, 12:32:17 PM
In my quest both in being green & getting rid of the messy, smelly and bulky space robbing black tank I would like to build a composting toilet. Not a bucket to poop in but a true fast composting toilet such as the commercial models you find for $3000.00.

They claim full time usage by a family of 2 or 3 for 6 months to a year before needing dumped and no odor. Anybody have any first hand experience or knowledge of how these operate and ideas of building one. If I could find a used or reasonably priced base that does the composting I would consider buying that part but have my own plans and design for the toilet itself. 


Title: Re: Composting Toilet
Post by: Just Dallas on November 26, 2009, 12:46:00 PM
Removed


Title: Re: Composting Toilet
Post by: Old Scool Bus on November 26, 2009, 12:51:37 PM
Solar


Title: Re: Composting Toilet
Post by: Just Dallas on November 26, 2009, 01:11:46 PM
Removed


Title: Re: Composting Toilet
Post by: John316 on November 26, 2009, 01:18:16 PM
how much solar?

Lots!


Title: Re: Composting Toilet
Post by: Old Scool Bus on November 26, 2009, 03:59:23 PM
Sorry I asked ???


Title: Re: Composting Toilet
Post by: Just Dallas on November 26, 2009, 04:21:22 PM
Removed


Title: Re: Composting Toilet
Post by: Bestekustoms on November 26, 2009, 04:24:17 PM
Dont Be SORRY...Just Answer The Question. We Are Trying To Answer Your Question But Need More Info First.

Plays Well With Others...10-4

JOHN


Title: Re: Composting Toilet
Post by: John316 on November 26, 2009, 05:12:12 PM
Wait a minute, fella. Let's slow down, and be an adult.

If you ask a question, expect a response. I have noticed this on a couple of threads, and I think I will finally comment. If you ask a question, and don't like the response, then suck it up, take a deep breath, and answer polity, and in this case, give the requested info. People need to learn to have thick skin, a ducks back, and a broad set of shoulders. Really, I find this very amusing. If you ask a question, and somebody else asks for clarification, just simply answer the man. Don't get all offended and leave with hurt feelings....

I think, this kind of stuff will hurt the bus board. Don't let the stuff bother you...and besides, asking a simple question, should not be offensive.

FWIW

I will get off of my soapbox now ;D.

God bless,

John


Title: Re: Composting Toilet
Post by: jackhartjr on November 26, 2009, 05:35:30 PM
Folks on one of the sailing forums I visit have asked the same thing.
The consensus is that there is no free lunch...while it may work in a shack up in the mountains...it is not practical for as much use as it would see in a bus or boat. 
Jack


Title: Re: Composting Toilet
Post by: Old Scool Bus on November 26, 2009, 05:52:33 PM
I replied to how it would be powered "SOLAR" I have the power & heating issue covered. I currently have a Solar PV panel & a Solar hot water panel and building a solar heat collector.

Was asking if anybody had first hand knowledge how they were built or worked. Not an uninformed answer of "Lots"

So again, does anybody actually know how they work and a good idea of how to build one?


Title: Re: Composting Toilet
Post by: John316 on November 26, 2009, 05:57:52 PM
Was asking if anybody had first hand knowledge how they were built or worked. Not an uninformed answer of "Lots"


 ::) ::) ::)

You do need to lighten up, and not take life so seriously. I was replying to Dallas....Besides, "lots" could have meant anything. It could have meant that they were used in "lots" of conversions etc....

It's all okay, pal. You'll be fine :o.

BTW, that was a better attempt at asking a question. Remember, people are taking their time to answer you. Whenever one asks a question, they should be grateful for replies....

God bless,

John


Title: Re: Composting Toilet
Post by: bobsw on November 26, 2009, 06:58:38 PM
There is also some of us that would like to know what it takes to run that system. A lot, is not a very informative answer. Remeber we all learn from the answers to your questions.


Title: Re: Composting Toilet
Post by: Dreamscape on November 26, 2009, 07:13:56 PM
I don't know first hand but......One of the Flxible's that was at TBR this year had one, been in place for several years. He was taking it out, don't remember why. I did notice a foul smell though, I was polite enough to not say anything. I do know they use a lot of energy in order to do the work.

One of the Eagles had one of these installed. I do not know anything about it other than it's Marine and the owner really liked it, had it for several years.

(http://i363.photobucket.com/albums/oo78/Dreamscape_Eagle/Texas%20Bus%20Roundup%202009/TBR2009052.jpg)

If you Google you should be able to come up with power usage.

Paul


Title: Re: Composting Toilet
Post by: JohnEd on November 26, 2009, 07:23:39 PM
Sooooo... From what I can glean from this.....A composting toilet needs power to "heat" the material?  As much sense as that makes, how hot does the "container" need to be kept?  Ambient where I intend to be during the winter months should be 65 degrees during the day and maybe 40 at night.  I I used engine coolant for heating could I go without heat for a couple weeks and then let it catch up?  My propane will run my refer for months and what is the comparison in usage.  I don't want you to do my research but any discussion would be much appreciated.

I would spend a considerable amt of propane to get the space my Black Tank occupies.  Not to mention the plumbing and freeze proofing....emptying...maintenance.  If it gets emptied annually it is a time saver as well.  I have a great deal of heartburn with dealing with a system that contains this much shiX just as a matter of personal ethics and I, for one, would think long and hard.  $3,000 is the deal breaker, though.  I wonder if the Green Sites on the net would have info?  Just figure the odds on that.

Help!

Hope you are all full  of turkey and feeling down right nappy,

John


Title: Re: Composting Toilet
Post by: JohnEd on November 26, 2009, 07:27:17 PM
Paul,

Thank you.  Nothing like an eye witness testomonial.  Nothing.

Thank you,

John


Title: Re: Composting Toilet
Post by: Ed Brenner on November 26, 2009, 07:29:51 PM
My mom has a log house in the mountains, that has a composting toilet. The main unit sits in the basement directly below the toilet. Straight shot down has to be. The unit below is not small probably 4 feet tall. It has a vent stack that goes up to the peak of the roof . It has a motor that turns a set of arms that keep stuff stirred(on a timer). It also has a heater. It requires you add some kind of mixture (peatmoss) occasionally through the toilet depending on the load(big dump add peatmoss).It does work doesn't need to be cleaned to often. But it does not like paper(need extra trash container in bathroom and mess to deal with.) From what I have seen I don't think solar would work, and the size is probably too large.They do work mom and dad used it full time in that house for several years.(Dad always let mom do the service work!!) Still have the house and system,just dont live there full time.
That in itself is another problem for a bus, they like to run on a full time basis not on and off.Them composting bugs plus heat and rotating parts like to keep going.
Not in my bus(my input and opinion)
Thanks ED


Title: Re: Composting Toilet
Post by: luvrbus on November 26, 2009, 07:36:35 PM
I have a friend in Pahrump that has one in 102C3 and he loves it and I have never been in his bus when there was a ordor.
He told me it did take a lot power but he stays on a power pole make no difference to him


Title: Re: Composting Toilet
Post by: Lonnie time to go on November 26, 2009, 07:43:06 PM
WOW  come on guys I think its way to fast to jump on the newbee
Some may not get our sense of humor

I know i will get slapped for this but its my opinion.
power for the unit would have come out soon enough.


I had a thought on this myself poor man way
Kitchen electric burner very large.
thin metal box type thing on top of burner to transfer heat to waste
small computer fan to remove smell.
when bus is running cooks waste

This is my quick idea with no real details

Lonnie





Title: Re: Composting Toilet
Post by: usbusin on November 26, 2009, 07:49:00 PM
OldScoolBus, here is a discussion on an installation of a composting toilet.  http://truckhome.com/eve/forums/a/tpc/f/794600927/m/300105712/p/11 (http://truckhome.com/eve/forums/a/tpc/f/794600927/m/300105712/p/11)

It is from an individual on the truck conversion bulletin board, "Ran D. St.Clair" who has quite a flair for writing!

Hope it helps.


Title: Re: Composting Toilet
Post by: bevans6 on November 27, 2009, 05:41:37 AM
I was curious, so I did a little google.  There is a unit on the market, quite small (supports two people indefinitely, up to "family" of four for shorter periods like a couple of weeks), never needs to be pumped out but I imagine the cooked waste needs to be emptied periodically.  Powered by 12v or 120 volt, less than an amp continuous at 120 volt when "cooking", rest of the time a small fan in the stack only.  so maximum power requirement is 120 to 150 watts, average power consumption is 80 watts, dual power, sized and engineered specifically for RV or Marine installation (so the guts are designed for transportation related movement and jostling, bumps, etc).  Now, I'm not a solar engineer but I think 150 watts it achievable, as is 80 watts average and the ability to control the higher power usage to times and days when you have higher power sunlight available.  Doesn't seem outlandish  to me at all.

Now, to truly evaluate the green-ness of this, you'd have to take transportation and manufacturing costs of the unit, the solar, the wire to hook it up, the carry away and dig a hole to bury the composted residue, but you have to do that for anything.

Brian


Title: Re: Composting Toilet
Post by: thejumpsuitman on November 27, 2009, 05:46:27 AM
I'm sorry, but I could not even remotely imagine someone going through all this "crap" to create a composting system unless that's the only option available.  Is it just me?  I am just shaking my head over all this.

Marc


Title: Re: Composting Toilet
Post by: 4905 doc on November 27, 2009, 05:52:50 AM
Jumpsuit, you are not the only one.

 Alex


Title: Re: Composting Toilet
Post by: Dreamscape on November 27, 2009, 05:57:49 AM
I found a link to the one I spoke of. For less than 2K, not bad if you need to conserve space and want to go green.

http://www.incinolet.com/ (http://www.incinolet.com/)

He really swears by it.

Paul


Title: Re: Composting Toilet
Post by: bevans6 on November 27, 2009, 06:47:40 AM
it seems to me that if you don't have a black tank, don't want to install or can't install  a black tank, need to be able to support time periods longer than a black tank would allow, don't have access to dumping facilities, or need to conserve water to a greater extent than using a black tank would require - a composting toilet is the best solution bar a  shovel and a handy tree to lean against.  Just because most of us use black tanks doesn't make them the best, or even a good solution.  Just an easy (to us) solution.

Brian


Title: Re: Composting Toilet
Post by: Bob & Tracey on November 27, 2009, 07:03:36 AM
Check out;

http://www.airheadtoilet.com/ (http://www.airheadtoilet.com/)



Title: Re: Composting Toilet
Post by: BG6 on November 27, 2009, 07:57:30 AM
Sounds like a solution in desperate need of a problem, as far as coach conversion is concerned.

For a lot less money, there are solutions which work as well or even better, while this one provides no advantage over any of the others -- while adding complexity, failure points and a need to change the way you live your life (IIRC, you need a separate collection and disposal system for urine).

The mission profile for the composting toilet is A), a remote location with no option for sewage removal, B), where there IS a place for the compost to be used (or at least disposed of) with somewhere else to send the urine, and C), where dropping several thousand bucks on a toilet is doable.

Anywhere other than dry camping without moving the coach for a while, you have the exact opposite conditions. 




Title: Re: Composting Toilet
Post by: Old Scool Bus on November 27, 2009, 08:39:33 AM
I'm sorry, but I could not even remotely imagine someone going through all this "crap" to create a composting system unless that's the only option available.  Is it just me?  I am just shaking my head over all this.

Marc

Well let's take your stance on this a little farther.

Why would anybody take an old beat up worn out bus that has outlived it's usefullness to it original purpose and throw thousands of dollars and thousands of hours of human labor not to mention the stress and ridicule from others to do what we do when prevost are readily available turnkey?

It's not about cost, readily availableness, or time spent it's about accomplishing something that creates a satisfaction within us.

Calling someone Else's ideas, dreams or projects stupid or even insinuating such us rude and very short sighted or for a lack of a better term "Stupid"


Title: Re: Composting Toilet
Post by: Lonnie time to go on November 27, 2009, 09:33:02 AM
I'm sorry, but I could not even remotely imagine someone going through all this "crap" to create a composting system unless that's the only option available.  Is it just me?  I am just shaking my head over all this.

Marc

Well let's take your stance on this a little farther.

Why would anybody take an old beat up worn out bus that has outlived it's usefullness to it original purpose and throw thousands of dollars and thousands of hours of human labor not to mention the stress and ridicule from others to do what we do when prevost are readily available turnkey?

It's not about cost, readily availableness, or time spent it's about accomplishing something that creates a satisfaction within us.

Calling someone Else's ideas, dreams or projects stupid or even insinuating such us rude and very short sighted or for a lack of a better term "Stupid"


I Agree


Title: Re: Composting Toilet
Post by: JohnEd on November 27, 2009, 09:38:22 AM
I understood "composting toilets" as having some relationship to my composting pile in my back yard.  Not true for most of this.  What is being discussed is "incinerators" plain and simple.  I must have looked the absolute jerk suggesting using engine heat for the "composting/incinerator" and openly pondering "fuel" consumption.  My feeling is that while I don't heat my compost pile it still works pretty well but I am sure it would work faster, not better, if it were kept warm.  An incinerator?  And it runs through a "burn cycle" EVERY time you use it?  Unless you are using solar, just how can that possible be considered GREEN?  I am lost.

The toilet, an Airhead brand, seems to be a composter, at least of sorts.  It lacks the digester stage of a true compost system but at least there is no incinerating combustion phase.  

WOW!  What can I say?  I agree with Marc, although he could have been more delicate/political/sensitive, so could I and most of us have abbreviated our response/comment and come across as possibly rude.  I am absolutely I resemble that remark, myself.  I agree with you Marc.....the mind boggles.

BG, you nailed it also.
Sounds like a solution in desperate need of a problem, as far as coach conversion is concerned Not applicable.  Not from a practical or common design.

OLD,  I appreciate your concern for the feelings of most of us.  I am squarely in your corner as far as that goes.  Like everything else on the planet, compromise is involved for it to work.  Not all of us can express ourselves in the gracious subtleties most often appropriate.  My real heat burn is that someone would let a valid and, perhaps critically important, comment/caution go unsaid out of political concern.  I associated with some avid bench rest shooter and re-loaders for years and I found their penchant for understatement down right frightening.  A newbee was told that using "less powder" than the min listed in the manual for that cartridge would "complicate your day".  I saw wheels turning in the guys head and added "for clarification, what he means is doing that will cause the rifle to EXPLODE and take part of your head off and possibly KILL the guy shooting on the bench next to you".  I really want to avoid that situation....really.  Now you did hear me say that I agree with your intension, right?

John


Title: Re: Composting Toilet
Post by: Just Dallas on November 27, 2009, 10:00:18 AM
Removed


Title: Re: Composting Toilet
Post by: Old Scool Bus on November 27, 2009, 10:05:20 AM
So I guess the bottom line is I will have to find another source of information as to the makeup or how to build the mechanical part of a "Composting" not incinerating or any other type of toilet.



Title: Re: Composting Toilet
Post by: Old Scool Bus on November 27, 2009, 10:10:39 AM
Pooping in a bucket doesn't mean you have first hand knowledge how to build or how a commercial unit works. I've Googled this for months.

Your replies were exactly what I expected from you. Before I go away think I'll try the ignore option to see if that works.


Title: Re: Composting Toilet
Post by: Just Dallas on November 27, 2009, 10:23:57 AM
Removed


Title: Re: Composting Toilet
Post by: Sean on November 27, 2009, 10:49:40 AM
Folks,

Let's not confuse composting toilets with incinerating toilets.  These are two very different animals.

The OP asked about composting toilets, which do exist, even for mobile applications.  I've seen them for as little as $1,500, half what the OP suggested (http://www.google.com/products?q=composting+toilet (http://www.google.com/products?q=composting+toilet)).  Some of the replies here have concerned composting, and some have concerned incinerating toilets; the photo Paul posted is of the latter type.

Incinerating toilets are anything but green.  They use a huge amount of power, and turn what started out as relatively environmentally friendly human waste into airborne pollution.  Their principal advantage is that they require very infrequent cleanout and no sewer connection, making them ideal for such applications as railroad locomotives, which frequently operate far away from sewage disposal facilities, but have essentially unlimited electric power available.

A composting toilet, by contrast, uses minimal power, just enough to operate the "flush" mechanism, a circulating and/or vent fan, and a small heater to keep the compost warm in extremely cold conditions.  They process waste in the same way the earth would naturally, just on an accelerated schedule.  These are ideal for remote locations where a septic system is impractical due either to logistics of transporting the components to the site (septic tanks, relatively speaking, are quite large), inaccessibility of the site to pump-out equipment, or unsuitability of the site for septic leach fields.

You can certainly use a composting toilet in an RV, but since an RV can easily travel to proper sanitary dump facilities, it is an expensive way to go.  But a larger concern is that human waste is only a small fraction of wastewater generated on board an RV.  Depending on the type of toilet an RV has on board, human waste and the water used to flush it constitutes anywhere from one half down to one tenth of the total waste generated.

Since discharging gray water other than in a sanitary sewer is illegal in most places, and discourteous in others, there is little practical value to a composting toilet in an RV -- you'll still need to find a dump station periodically, and there is little additional cost to adding another 10%-50% tank capacity to accommodate the human waste.  Composting human waste is not really any "greener" than conventional sewage treatment methods, and, depending on what's done with the resulting compost, one can even argue that composting is quite a bit more dangerous.

To answer the OP's question, the "composting" part of a modern, compact composting toilet is more or less the whole thing, and accounts for most of the cost.  They are actually quite complex.  If $1,500 is too steep, your only option would be to construct the whole thing yourself (or perhaps find a, ahem, used one that needs repair).  It's not hard to do, and plans for various methods abound on the Internet.  However, expect the result for a home-built system to be significantly larger than a factory-built compact model.  I would expect that, overall, the waste system would take up more room than a decent-sized black tank would.

-Sean
http://OurOdyssey.BlogSpot.com (http://OurOdyssey.BlogSpot.com)


Title: Re: Composting Toilet
Post by: Van on November 27, 2009, 11:12:22 AM
I am still very much curious (besides being green)as to the motive of all of this. Sean, right on good points you brought up,OSB is there some advantage this method, please share your thoughts ,thanks :)

      Van


Title: Re: Composting Toilet
Post by: John316 on November 27, 2009, 11:15:53 AM
Old, you asked a question, so let's please keep this nice. If you want to keep your info, that Dallas requests, fine. But then you shouldn't have asked in the first place.

Yes you are a noobie. I don't mean to pile on you, but since you are a noobie, we don't know about you. We (others) have to ask questions to get to the bottom of what you want.

I can't understand what you have going on, here. Why don't you just answer the questions, be polite, and an adult about the process....

We like you on here, fella, if you are polite. Remember, asking a question is a two way street. If you ask a question, expect others to ask questions, and then you should give a little info. But don't get all huffy about it, please...

God bless,

John


Title: Re: Composting Toilet
Post by: thejumpsuitman on November 27, 2009, 01:50:30 PM
I'm sorry, but I could not even remotely imagine someone going through all this "crap" to create a composting system unless that's the only option available.  Is it just me?  I am just shaking my head over all this.

Marc

Well let's take your stance on this a little farther.

Why would anybody take an old beat up worn out bus that has outlived it's usefullness to it original purpose and throw thousands of dollars and thousands of hours of human labor not to mention the stress and ridicule from others to do what we do when prevost are readily available turnkey?

It's not about cost, readily availableness, or time spent it's about accomplishing something that creates a satisfaction within us.

Calling someone Else's ideas, dreams or projects stupid or even insinuating such us rude and very short sighted or for a lack of a better term "Stupid"

To each his own  Here in America we have the right to waste our time and money however we see fit.

Marc


Title: Re: Composting Toilet
Post by: philiptompkjns on November 27, 2009, 02:55:51 PM
Not at all.
All you have to do is be forthcoming with some information.
Here: I'll start:
You aren't going to find, beg, borrow, build or use a 'fast composting' toilet without using electricity and/or another heat source.
Most of the composting type that I've dealt with are complicated and finicky, they also draw in the area of 150 to 500 watts of electricity for hours at a time.. Usually about 60 watts for the fans alone. BTB, DC fans like used on the DC systems don't work that well and eat a lot more power than their AC counterparts.
The motors that turn the turds are another draw that is better left to an AC motor. DC motors have a tendency to burn out.
The longer the heat is held at the optimum temperature for composting, the faster it will work... there is the bottle neck. If the heat goes to high, you kill the bacteria, if it's to low, they become dormant.
A 200W solar panel will NOT run a composting toilet for the required time to perform it's function.

How many times per day will your unit be used? How much liquid will you be putting into it? How large is the compost usable area?
Want to talk about incinerating toilets? That is a whole different ballgame.

Now, what other information do you want?

Ignore away.. it works two ways and I do believe you may be the south bound end of a north bound mule.

So I guess the bottom line is I will have to find another source of information as to the makeup or how to build the mechanical part of a "Composting" not incinerating or any other type of toilet.


Maybe I'm demented but the  thought of burning the  Sh1T out of my bus makes me laugh.


Title: Re: Composting Toilet
Post by: Old Scool Bus on November 27, 2009, 04:05:46 PM
The purpose of this is it can hold up to a years worth of crap without being dumped in a container that is half the size of a black tank. At least manufacturers claim this. They are supposedly odor free and after the composting process the peat moss like substance is environmentally safe.

There are several types and methods to accomplish this. Passive or active, manual or automatic, water or waterless, remote storage or self contained.

The self contained units have finishing drawers that hold the very fine humus and need emptied accordingly, they also sit very high. cost are about $1,500.00 +

The models that go in your basement are much more expensive but you get the appearance of a normal toilet.

Now asking me about the power source is in no way needed or helpful and was later confirmed there was very little if any real knowledge about building one. It does not take an absorbent amount of any energy to operate one of these and I have that part covered. And very efficiently.

I want to build a box that fits well in my bay, outfit it with a SS drum out of a compact washer, poop down the shoot into it, add some sawdust or coffee grounds to cover smell and help with composting, crank the drum weekly or as needed and let dried finished compost filter through hole as well as any moisture that doesn't evaporate.

That is the basic idea but there is much more to it.

I have already built a waterless urinal or at least have it half done so the toilet will not get too much fluids.

I have googled for months trying to find actual plans with no success I was hping someone actually knew how they are built, but it appears not.

 


Title: Re: Composting Toilet
Post by: John316 on November 27, 2009, 04:35:21 PM
Old,

Now you are getting the drift ;). That was a good post. Good for you.

God bless,

John

The purpose of this is it can hold up to a years worth of crap without being dumped in a container that is half the size of a black tank. At least manufacturers claim this. They are supposedly odor free and after the composting process the peat moss like substance is environmentally safe.

There are several types and methods to accomplish this. Passive or active, manual or automatic, water or waterless, remote storage or self contained.

The self contained units have finishing drawers that hold the very fine humus and need emptied accordingly, they also sit very high. cost are about $1,500.00 +

The models that go in your basement are much more expensive but you get the appearance of a normal toilet.

Now asking me about the power source is in no way needed or helpful and was later confirmed there was very little if any real knowledge about building one. It does not take an absorbent amount of any energy to operate one of these and I have that part covered. And very efficiently.

I want to build a box that fits well in my bay, outfit it with a SS drum out of a compact washer, poop down the shoot into it, add some sawdust or coffee grounds to cover smell and help with composting, crank the drum weekly or as needed and let dried finished compost filter through hole as well as any moisture that doesn't evaporate.

That is the basic idea but there is much more to it.

I have already built a waterless urinal or at least have it half done so the toilet will not get too much fluids.

I have googled for months trying to find actual plans with no success I was hping someone actually knew how they are built, but it appears not.

 


Title: Re: Composting Toilet
Post by: Busted Knuckle on November 27, 2009, 04:46:56 PM
Well so far along I have tried to avoid this one as I know nothing about S**T!
But I have watched this progress and have to say, that I
1) Still don't know S**T about CRAP!
2) I believe everybody got a little testy on it for a little while, but it looks like in the end everybody has calmed down and discussing this S**T about CRAP more civilly! And I'm glad because I was wondering if I was going to have to ask the monitors to kick this CRAP off, because we all know we don't want a S***TY board! ;D

OK now go back to discussing whatever CRAP, trips yer trigger! ;D
;D  BK  ;D


Title: Re: Composting Toilet
Post by: Van on November 27, 2009, 05:52:34 PM
Thanks Old School Bus, very interesting concept indeed,thanks again :) Don't worry about these guys,they mean well and all have a heart of gold,iron sharpens iron and all that ;),and it's a good thing.Welcome to the board and keep on posting.

   Remember, "The Greatest Pleasure in life(besides a good crapper;D ;D LOL) Is Doing The Things People Say You Cannot Do, And Doing It With The Ones You Love ;) Good Luck.

     Van  8)


Title: Re: Composting Toilet
Post by: bobsw on November 27, 2009, 06:27:38 PM
I would still like to know how much power it takes and what your source will be so we all can better understand the over all project.


Title: Re: Composting Toilet
Post by: Sean on November 27, 2009, 07:57:14 PM
The purpose of this is it can hold up to a years worth of crap without being dumped in a container that is half the size of a black tank.


Well, OK, but you still can't store a year's worth of gray water, so you'll still be searching for sanitary sewers every couple of weeks, maybe a month at best.  So I'm having trouble understanding the putative benefit of this system, considering it will take more energy (to run heaters and fans, even if the drum is hand-cranked) than a conventional RV toilet and conventional sewage processing.

Quote
I want to build a box that fits well in my bay, outfit it with a SS drum out of a compact washer, ...


OK, so this is very different than a compact composting toilet, which is what I understood you to be asking about in your OP.

If I have this pictured correctly, assuming you build a rectilinear (rather than curved) box, to fit a washer drum, plus the required drop for the material, plus the bearings and cranking mechanism, I would guess you to be looking at perhaps two feet on a side, give or take.  That's eight cubic feet, or about 60 US gallons.

60 gallons is an enormous black tank; with a direct drop toilet, which typically uses less than a pint of water each flush, that's a couple hundred flushes.  The average human produces 1-2 liters of fecal matter each day, so a tank this size could go close to a month with two people who used it full time (meaning they never defecated anywhere else, such as at work, campground restroom, etc.).  Again, you will need to be finding a place to dispose of your gray water by then anyway.

Call me dense, but this makes little sense to me.  You are proposing to add lots of complexity and expense for no real gain, IMO.  I suppose if your plan is to park, without moving, for months at a time, and you intend to send your gray water to a direct leach system (i.e. without a septic tank), then this might be of some use.  But be advised that that practice is illegal almost everywhere, and inadvisable in most cases in any event.

That said, as I wrote earlier, plans for DIY composting toilets (and systems) abound on the Internet.  But I would recommend you post your request for direct experience on the forums that are dedicated to human waste composting, rather than RV forums, since the vast majority of RV (including bus conversion) owners would have little use for such a system.

As I also wrote earlier, commercial systems are complex, and were developed and perfected through hundreds, if not thousands, of hours of testing.  I would caution you against thinking you can just find a used washing machine drum and make this work on the first try.  Every aspect of these systems, from the size and aspect ratio of the drum, to the size and shape of the perforations, to the exact temperature of the chamber, are studied and tested to ensure an optimal balance.  Even then, the systems are finicky -- and that's in a fixed location, where temperature and humidity have less variability than in an RV.

Note also that it is easy to underestimate the power requirement, which you claim to have "well covered" (is that a pun?).  You can build a composting toilet system that uses no power at all, but it's throughput will be very low (per unit volume).  If you really want it to support a couple of people full-time, be compact, and only need to be emptied every six months, you will need to provide lots more heat and oxygen, and that takes power -- commercial systems use around 4kWh per day.  My entire coach uses less power than that most days.  To put that in perspective, if you were to run such a system on solar power, you'd need about eighty square feet of solar panels, properly tilted, in a place where the sun shines every day.  Add to that number for cloudy days, incorrect alignment, etc., and pretty soon you'll have the whole roof covered just to run the toilet.

I would suggest you build a full-scale prototype of your system and test it thoroughly over as much as a year before designing something into your bus.  You might find that it is not as simple as it might appear on the surface.  Just my free advice, possibly worth what you paid for it.

-Sean
http://OurOdyssey.BlogSpot.com (http://OurOdyssey.BlogSpot.com)


Title: Re: Composting Toilet
Post by: thejumpsuitman on November 28, 2009, 06:52:13 AM
.......NEVER MIND.........  THOUGHT BETTER OF MY POST   ;D


Title: Re: Composting Toilet
Post by: HighTechRedneck on November 28, 2009, 07:18:32 AM
Thanks for rethinking jumpsuitman.  This thread has the potential to give some information that will be very helpful to some people.  But it also keeps teetering on the edge of blowing up into a big "stink". (pun intended)

So let's be careful to keep the discussion civil and discussing the topic without being critical of the people interested in trying something different.  There is nothing wrong with pointing out the flaws and impracticallities as needed as long as it is done in a fact based way without being critical of the person's motivations or intelligence for wanting to try it.

Most of us have done (or wanted to do) something unique in our conversions that someone else might ponder "what were they thinking".  In fact as OSB pointed out, the very act of converting an old bus is met with skepticism by many non bus nuts who tend to think we are crazy for doing it.  (Which we already knew that, that is why we call ourselves bus nuts.)

Yet that is one of the best things about bus conversion - we get to do it our way.  So let's keep the spirit of discussion helpful and supportive, even when your point is "here is why I wouldn't do it".


Title: Re: Composting Toilet
Post by: thejumpsuitman on November 28, 2009, 07:38:10 AM

Most of us have done (or wanted to do) something unique in our conversions that someone else might ponder "what were they thinking".  In fact as OSB pointed out, the very act of converting an old bus is met with skepticism by many non bus nuts who tend to think we are crazy for doing it.  (Which we already knew that, that is why we call ourselves bus nuts.)

Yet that is one of the best things about bus conversion - we get to do it our way.  So let's keep the spirit of discussion helpful and supportive, even when your point is "here is why I wouldn't do it".

If being illogical, whimsical, unorthodox, or impulsive was a crime, I'd have been hanged years ago as a repeat offender!   ;D


Title: Re: Composting Toilet
Post by: cody on November 28, 2009, 08:00:05 AM
Personally I find this interesting and has potential, I just don't have a clue how to go about it, so I'm following it in the shadows, one thing that comes to mind is, if i remember correctly, there was a system years ago that used the exhaust of a coach to incinerate the gray water.  I don't remember much about it other than I thought at the time thats a perfect solution for gray water but what to do about the black stuff, this appears to be the perfect extention of the idea, I'm open to the idea and I'd really like this thread to expand on it more.


Title: Re: Composting Toilet
Post by: Lonnie time to go on November 28, 2009, 08:12:58 AM
Thanks for rethinking jumpsuitman.  This thread has the potential to give some information that will be very helpful to some people.  But it also keeps teetering on the edge of blowing up into a big "stink". (pun intended)

So let's be careful to keep the discussion civil and discussing the topic without being critical of the people interested in trying something different.  There is nothing wrong with pointing out the flaws and impracticallities as needed as long as it is done in a fact based way without being critical of the person's motivations or intelligence for wanting to try it.

Most of us have done (or wanted to do) something unique in our conversions that someone else might ponder "what were they thinking".  In fact as OSB pointed out, the very act of converting an old bus is met with skepticism by many non bus nuts who tend to think we are crazy for doing it.  (Which we already knew that, that is why we call ourselves bus nuts.)

Yet that is one of the best things about bus conversion - we get to do it our way.  So let's keep the spirit of discussion helpful and supportive, even when your point is "here is why I wouldn't do it".


Great post HighTechRedneck

Its just to bad someone feels  they need to put me on the ignore list
Too that person i am sorry if i upset you

Lonnie

















Title: Re: Composting Toilet
Post by: cody on November 28, 2009, 08:33:10 AM
Lonnie, I've been married for over 38 years, being ignored is not only a regular occurance, it's sometimes a welcome one lol.


Title: Re: Composting Toilet
Post by: Sean on November 28, 2009, 08:47:34 AM
... one thing that comes to mind is, if i remember correctly, there was a system years ago that used the exhaust of a coach to incinerate the gray water.  I don't remember much about it other than I thought at the time thats a perfect solution for gray water but what to do about the black stuff, ...


We've discussed that system here before; you might check the archives.  Although, to be honest, it might have been back on the old board software, so would not be archived here.

IIRC, the system actually incinerated all waste, not just gray, but it was only available on gasoline coaches, because it requires a higher exhaust temperature.  The system was discontinued because it had too many problems; I'm sure you can imagine the sort of mess it might create when it was not working properly.

-Sean
http://OurOdyssey.BlogSpot.com (http://OurOdyssey.BlogSpot.com)


Title: Re: Composting Toilet
Post by: JackConrad on November 28, 2009, 08:48:19 AM
if i remember correctly, there was a system years ago that used the exhaust of a coach to incinerate the gray water.  

Cody,
   I think that was the Thermosan or Thermasan.  I think it was an option the on the GMC motorhome.  Jack


Title: Re: Composting Toilet
Post by: John316 on November 28, 2009, 08:54:49 AM
Did Lonnie say something? If so, and if it was worth reading, would somebody else copy and past for me?  ;D :D :D ;D

God bless,

John

(I am just kidding, Lonnie).


Title: Re: Composting Toilet
Post by: Lonnie time to go on November 28, 2009, 09:19:16 AM
Did Lonnie say something? If so, and if it was worth reading, would somebody else copy and past for me?  ;D :D :D ;D

God bless,

John

(I am just kidding, Lonnie).


Your correct I agree with you 100%.  In my case I have no skills with bus conversions. I never get to post anything good. This is just my way of posting something LOL
I have no problem with being on someone ignore list.  However I am the kind of person who would rather get along with everyone.

Cody
Been there way to many times


Lonnie




Title: Re: Composting Toilet
Post by: cody on November 28, 2009, 09:29:27 AM
Jack, I think thats where I heard it now that you mention it, I've got a revcon, thats the oldsmobile version of the GMC, I'm thinking it was an option available so I'm thinking your right, apparently it didn't catch on but that was a while back, technology has moved forward, at least I think it has, possibly it could be made to work now.  Back in the 70's a lot of good ideas were trashed only to reappear under a different idea and format, I remember when jason was discussing the possibility of a chat room with actual voice back in the 90's how people screamed it would never work, now paltalk has 40 million nics registered and 70k to 80k on the program in around 5K rooms at any given point with full audio and full video, the times have changed.  As these discussions progress or regress as the case may be and I hear about what absolutely cannot be done, it reminds me of things back then lol.


Title: Re: Composting Toilet
Post by: Busted Knuckle on November 28, 2009, 10:08:02 AM
Oh just think of the possibilities if we could propel vehicles from burning "CRAP". There wouldn't be a need of any "Gas" stations at all anymore in the Washington DC Area. Or really anywhere else for that matter there is enough "CRAP" coming out of DC to run the universe for infinity! ;D

OK, I'll go back to the dungun quitely now. And OSB sorry for stealing your thread for this infinite wisdom!
;D  BK  ;D


Title: Re: Composting Toilet
Post by: 47FLXclipper on November 28, 2009, 07:57:46 PM
maybe some here could benefit from a little understanding of the composting process and composting toilets (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Composting_toilet) generally

I've got one of these (http://www.envirolet.ca/enviroletdc12.html), excellent unit using very minimal power, which can easily be supplied by a very small solar unit, including a self-contained solar exhaust fan - heat isn't vital unless you keep your living space temperatures at freezing most of the time, and I find a decent room temp easy to arrange in a room where nudity is common ;)

the primary requirement for proper operation of a composting toilet and prevention of odors is positive air flow to maintain aerobic conditions, 'agitation' requirements are very minimal, and food prep wastes [veg, not meat] can also be disposed of in them

for OSB, the details are here (http://www.envirolet.ca/scienbehen.html)

the elimination of any need to deal with a black tank is a fair trade off for me, especially as I've been an avid composter for decades

Bill


Title: Re: Composting Toilet
Post by: Old Scool Bus on November 28, 2009, 08:03:51 PM
Sean as I said before I respect your intelligence but I'm sure you have on your bus things that others would consider "over kill" or "waste of time" but you wanted for your own personal reasons.

I never or at least don't believe I have said I'm definitely going to build this but I would like to. If I could find a correctly sized basement unit for a steal I would buy and try. then build the toilet part myself.

I have some other undisclosed motive or all I'm doing on my bus beyond the green factor and cool factor.

trust me I have researched and asked this on many forums to no avail.

I had to change computers so i cannot post links that I have collected over the last year. i even passed up on a romantic vacation to go to a green fair in Co. to learn a few things about this. Not much help though.

I'm looking into gray water filtering and ways to reduce water usage as much as possible.


Title: Re: Composting Toilet
Post by: Old Scool Bus on November 28, 2009, 08:13:32 PM
maybe some here could benefit from a little understanding of the composting process and composting toilets ([url]http://http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Composting_toilet[/url]) generally

I've got one of these ([url]http://http://www.envirolet.ca/enviroletdc12.html[/url]), excellent unit using very minimal power, which can easily be supplied by a very small solar unit, including a self-contained solar exhaust fan - heat isn't vital unless you keep your living space temperatures at freezing most of the time, and I find a decent room temp easy to arrange in a room where nudity is common ;)

the primary requirement for proper operation of a composting toilet and prevention of odors is positive air flow to maintain aerobic conditions, 'agitation' requirements are very minimal, and food prep wastes [veg, not meat] can also be disposed of in them

for OSB, the details are here ([url]http://http://www.envirolet.ca/scienbehen.html[/url])

the elimination of any need to deal with a black tank is a fair trade off for me, especially as I've been an avid composter for decades

Bill


Now we're getting somewhere, Thank you Bill.

I have been looking into that model but price is steep.  how long between dumps & does it work as well as they claim?  Any details you can give will be appreciated pro's and con's.

again Thanks


Title: Re: Composting Toilet
Post by: jackhartjr on November 28, 2009, 08:21:21 PM
I guess my question is this, how does this system handle the large amount of urine?
And for those that don't know, the 'other stuff' is about 90% or so water anyway.  Not a whole lot of actual 'waste' once the water is evaporated.
Jack


Title: Re: Composting Toilet
Post by: Old Scool Bus on November 28, 2009, 08:39:36 PM
some models have a urine trap built in to catch the urine, you just have to adjust your aim differently if sitting rather than standing and maybe adjust for blessings or lack there of from your maker  ::)


Title: Re: Composting Toilet
Post by: 47FLXclipper on November 28, 2009, 08:58:49 PM
the envirolet has a liquid overflow outlet [good for those beer parties] which can be routed directly to the graywater tank - urine is sterile, unless you happen to have a urinary tract infection of course ... and the 'other stuff' isn't 90% water, but it does lose 3/4 of it's volume from the microbial action of  aerobic composting if it doesn't dry out, as desiccation will quickly put the brakes on the composting process

yes it does work well - how long til it needs emptying depends on usage and what volume of other organic waste is added, but with 2 'full time' users can be 6 months or more, and all ya need is a flower bed out the door that would benefit from regular fertilizing .... not cheap, but they do have seasonal price specials - a couple years ago I got mine for just over $1400 CDN [that's like 14 US isn't it? :D ] including shipping

Bill


Title: Re: Composting Toilet
Post by: jackhartjr on November 28, 2009, 09:04:56 PM
Now urine would not go into a greywater tank...but a blackwater tank, right?
Not trying to rain on a parade...just trying to understand all of this.
I keep seeing that the reason for this is to eliminate a tank...however...if the urine has to go into a blackwater tank...doesn't that kill that idea?
Jack


Title: Re: Composting Toilet
Post by: 47FLXclipper on November 28, 2009, 09:25:09 PM
why does urine have to go in a black water tank? it's yellow ;)

a blackwater tank is needed to take care of solids, particularly bacterially active solids, as in fecal matter - as I said above, urine is sterile, it's about 95% water, the rest being wastes such as urea and organic salts - it's high in nitrogen, good fertilizer [about value of urine (http://www.iees.ch/EcoEng011/EcoEng011_F1.html)]

Bill


Title: Re: Composting Toilet
Post by: Old Scool Bus on November 28, 2009, 09:33:13 PM
Thanks again Bill, Think I will go with that unit as it opens up a ton of bay space.

I can build my cover for it to give me the appearance I'm looking for.


Title: Re: Composting Toilet
Post by: John316 on November 28, 2009, 09:47:40 PM
why does urine have to go in a black water tank? it's yellow ;)

a blackwater tank is needed to take care of solids, particularly bacterially active solids, as in fecal matter - as I said above, urine is sterile, it's about 95% water, the rest being wastes such as urea and organic salts - it's high in nitrogen, good fertilizer

Bill

Hate to mention it, Bill, but now we are really talking about breaking laws. Dumping straight gray water is one thing. However, dumping body fluids, on the ground, is really breaking the law....

As for me, I want, and will have no part of it.

God bless,

John


Title: Re: Composting Toilet
Post by: Old Scool Bus on November 28, 2009, 10:00:32 PM
Again, nobody said anything about dumping it on the ground.

But urine is good fertilizer. I am looking into ways of getting rid of both urine & gray.

My urinal will have a 10 or 15 gallon removable tank that could be dumped in a toilet if need be.

Be advised urine or human compost should be used on non edible plants only.


Title: Re: Composting Toilet
Post by: cody on November 29, 2009, 04:30:11 AM
John up here the guys that pump out the septic tanks and clean out the outhouse tanks take the tank full of stuff they just sucked up and spray it onto a field for natural disposal, they are licensed to do that and the fields are inspected, I would think thats pretty much the standard disposal method in a lot of places, I was curious about that before and asked, the response I got was that the field was monitored for PH and other things but that their may be laws governing how but very few against it at least in michigan.  When you think about it, a septic tank just holds and starts a process of microbial disintergation of the solids and urine before a drain field takes it a puts it into the ground.


Title: Re: Composting Toilet
Post by: John316 on November 29, 2009, 05:02:38 AM
John up here the guys that pump out the septic tanks and clean out the outhouse tanks take the tank full of stuff they just sucked up and spray it onto a field for natural disposal, they are licensed to do that and the fields are inspected, I would think thats pretty much the standard disposal method in a lot of places, I was curious about that before and asked, the response I got was that the field was monitored for PH and other things but that their may be laws governing how but very few against it at least in michigan.  When you think about it, a septic tank just holds and starts a process of microbial disintergation of the solids and urine before a drain field takes it a puts it into the ground.

Yup, you are right, Cody. I know those guys up there, do it legally. However, when one is RVing, and they dump straight gray water on the ground, then that is one thing (still might be against the law). But, dumping what the law would consider sewage, on the ground, that is what I am referring too.

YMMV ;D.

God bless,

John


Title: Re: Composting Toilet
Post by: 47FLXclipper on November 29, 2009, 06:32:04 AM
you're making a sweeping assumption John, that having a compost toilet with urine diversion necessarily means dumping urine on the ground .... which of course, none of you guys have ever done  ;D

Bill


Title: Re: Composting Toilet
Post by: cody on November 29, 2009, 06:42:39 AM
The first question that comes to mind is if anyone here has stood behind a tree lol.  I'm not sure I'd like to be the one explaining that to my cellmate at the big house after he tells me of the long history he had of being a murderer and daddy raper and litterbug.


Title: Re: Composting Toilet
Post by: JohnEd on November 29, 2009, 02:47:59 PM
Can anyone tell me how I could treat my grey water so that it didn't smell so bad?  Not perfume chemicals but somehow to promote natural processes.  Does the soap I use inhibit composting of the liquid?

In Southern California way back in the mid eighties we had a severe water shortage.  Everybody got the "green" bug.  There was this thing about plumbing untreated gray water into your flower bed and veg garden or spraying the lawn.  Didn't stink and it worked. Did you know that puttin g diluted soap on the ground was a good thing?  Seems it enhances the grounds ability to absorb water so whatever you do sprinkle will last longer and do more of the stuff water is supposed to do in a garden. Now I don't know if that is still legal or even if it actually ever was, but, that experience was what led me to conclude that grey water was something less than a weapon of mass destruction.  I carry two 25 foot sections of garden hose to dump the grey away from the RV if I am dry camping in the woods and stay too long.  In 18 years I have only had to use it a few times and the circumstance was unusual.  I honestly didn't think it was against the law....I know better now and I will still carry the hose for emergencies which is what I used it for in the first place.

I was once stranded by a BIG rainfall while visiting with friends on their farm.  As luck would have it my black tank was near full when I got there.  Well, during a lull in the torrential rains I backed the Winnie up to the creek and dumped my black tank straight into that raging torrent of what was a gentle stream without rain.  The bridge was torn out by the flood.  Straight in that creek without so much as a fair-the-well or a proper blessing.  My host,the guy that helped me, then asked if I had any conscience about my foulevil act?  I said hell no and he reminded me that that water flowed into the bay eventually.  I reminded him that I was a Sewer Commissioner and had some inside information about "that bay".  Seems as though every time it rains for more than 15 minutes in that town the sewage treatment plant overflows due to rain water being diverted into the sewage system by homeowners that didn't want to pipe their storm drains all the way to the street.  Sad but true and it overloaded the system all the time and the water that overflowed was untreated sewage.  Straight into the bay.  I had the pleasure of going about the neighborhoods and dropping smoke bombs in the sewers and watching for smoke commin out of the rain gutters on people roofs so I did my part even considering my evil act.  Must have eliminated tons of rain water...at least diverted it to the proper channel.

So, what can I do to make grey water less offensive?  Smell wise, now.

John


Title: Re: Composting Toilet
Post by: boogiethecat on November 30, 2009, 06:29:33 PM
John, pour a little of this stuff in it.  I LOVE the stuff. it keeps both my black and my grey tanks really nice, and it's not nasty poison!!!

http://www.eco-save.com/products-frame.html (http://www.eco-save.com/products-frame.html)

I use the  "original formula" liquid stuff

Cheers
Boogie


Title: Re: Composting Toilet
Post by: jackhartjr on November 30, 2009, 10:37:08 PM
JohnEd, I use some stuff I get a WalMart that is more or less a purfummy type thing, it works pretty well.  I will try to see what it is tomorrow and post back.
Without it I cannot beleive the smell!  (Just the Galley tank, not the shower tank.)
Jack