Installed a Composting Toilet in my Casita - Fiberglass RV


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Old 10-03-2015, 06:12 PM   #1
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Name: Bex
Trailer: Casita
California
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Installed a Composting Toilet in my Casita

I installed a composting toilet in my tiny Casita just over a month ago. It's worked out wonderfully. I wanted to be able to boondock for at least a week at a time and the original toilet only had a 5 gallon tank. I know it's not for everyone, but it works great for me. I made a vlog post about it.

https://youtu.be/Fn24u_TkGQY
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Old 10-03-2015, 11:35 PM   #2
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Very informative video, it sounds like it's working for you so far. Did I miss any mention of the make and model and cost of the unit itself? I don't seem to remember it?


FWIW: You mentioned a threads on the site here about composting toilets vs. holding tanks without mentioning the real alternative in the discussion, the Porta- Potty.


I agree that the black tank, stinky slinky and finding a dump station are all a real drag. However, after removing the loo and black tank, we installed a Dometic 975 SeaLand porta-potty in our Hunter and two of use can use it for at least 4 to 5 or more days between emptying the holding tank into any toilet or outhouse. And, as with your system, there is never any odors etc.


About your battery.... I suggest that you get the charging system tested before you change out that battery. That it remained dead after being plugged in for several days suggests that you aren't charging from the on-board converter/charger. All of your charging so far may have only been from your tow vehicle.


When charging, your battery should be reading over 13.4 volts DC as soon as you power the shore cable. You will want to check that out first.


Good Luck
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Old 10-04-2015, 06:03 AM   #3
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Xcellent video. I've looked at that model (the C-head) but it is great to see it in relation to a Casita bathroom. They (and all composting toilets) seem expensive for what they are, but if built well there is no reason they wouldn't last decades. Thanks for posting!
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Old 10-04-2015, 06:16 AM   #4
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Name: Bob Ruggles
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I can't understand how a composting toilet can work in an RV because of the short amount of time available for composting to take place. In my own case I empty once a week. How is this enough time to convert the waste to compost?
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Old 10-04-2015, 09:53 AM   #5
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Name: Larry H
Trailer: Trillium
Arizona
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Nature's Head

Hello,

After full timing for 6 years and using a 'composting' toilet
I can say that it is much better than dealing with black water.
Nature's Head is the one I chose costing about $900.

The compost box needs to be serviced about every 3 - 4
weeks... one person using it. There is only the smell of peat moss
when emptying out the chamber into a finishing plastic box that
let it dry out in some more. I don't know that it actually composts
as I have never used it for fertilizer. However, when disposing of the
remainder in a dumpster I don't worry much about the leavings as
they are surely not as toxic a dirty diapers or chemical wastes
that typically end up in the landfill. The urine container can be
emptied into a toilet. To me this arrangement is much less effort
than dealing with hauling around a tank of black water to dispose
of. Each week there would be about 15 gallons of the nastly
stuff to deal with.

The toilet maintenance is easy although the exhaust fan has
to be replaced every year or two, an easy job. The fan draws
about 1W or about 2 AH/Day at 12V DC.

All for now...

Larry H
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Old 10-04-2015, 11:04 AM   #6
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Rebecca,

First off, let me say that it was a pleasure to meet you up on the Ridge last week, and I am pleased to see your post/video explaining your system. Well done!

I too, use the porta potti method, lacking a black tank in the trailer, its a natural alternative for me. I plan to come up with a less cumbersome method for dumping..that 5 gallon tank is HEAVY! This, in combination of using the campground facilities, has kept me "going" for several years of fulltiming. This winter, I intend to modify the plumbing in my rig so that I can dump the potty into a sewer hook up without ever having to drag the tank out of the trailer. I will use the existing pathways left from the PO after he ripped out the reciculating toilet original to the trailer. (Oh, how I wish he had not dome that)

On separating the liquids from the solids...I use a female urinal to help reduce the frequency of dumping. This is controversial for the squeamish, but not at all weird once you do it. I keep a proper balance of liquid in the potti to reduce the solid waste, but it really helps.
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Old 10-04-2015, 12:02 PM   #7
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Hopefully not stepping to close to the line of propriety....


Judy bought two of these the day that REI store #2 opened in Berkley, CA (about 1969?), back when we used to go hiking everywhere, and she still has one of them in her travel kit, (The other one got lost).
Sani-Fem Freshette Feminine Urinary Director - REI.com
and it is still in use.... talk about a quality product.


But that was before REI became more of a clothing store.... Hope the quality is still there.
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Old 10-04-2015, 01:03 PM   #8
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Texas
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Hi, Rebecca!! Greetings from the Fall Northern Oregon Gathering. It was great to meet you last week. I have no opinion on your set up, but just wanted to wave.
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Old 10-04-2015, 02:32 PM   #9
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Name: Bex
Trailer: Casita
California
Posts: 72
Hi Bob!

The make is C-Head and it was $630. I agree, that there are some really wonderful porta-potties available. I would certainly have considered one, but the main reason I chose this was so I could boondock for a week or more at a time. The 5 gallon tank was just too limiting for me.

Also, I don't think the stinky-slinky is too terrible if you have a grey water tank. At least you have the ability to flush the tube after emptying the black water. For me, I only had the black tank, so I would have to rely on flushing the tube with fresh water. That seemed a little wasteful to run a bunch of water through to keep it somewhat clean. If I had a bigger black water tank and a grey water, I probably would have just left them in place and made due.

I have already replaced my battery. The old battery was very small and had fallen on it's side because the previous owner did not put it in the battery box. I replaced it with a maintenance free version. That was a story in itself. My video just before this one details the fun I had trying to buy my battery!


Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Miller View Post
Very informative video, it sounds like it's working for you so far. Did I miss any mention of the make and model and cost of the unit itself? I don't seem to remember it?


FWIW: You mentioned a threads on the site here about composting toilets vs. holding tanks without mentioning the real alternative in the discussion, the Porta- Potty.


I agree that the black tank, stinky slinky and finding a dump station are all a real drag. However, after removing the loo and black tank, we installed a Dometic 975 SeaLand porta-potty in our Hunter and two of use can use it for at least 4 to 5 or more days between emptying the holding tank into any toilet or outhouse. And, as with your system, there is never any odors etc.


About your battery.... I suggest that you get the charging system tested before you change out that battery. That it remained dead after being plugged in for several days suggests that you aren't charging from the on-board converter/charger. All of your charging so far may have only been from your tow vehicle.


When charging, your battery should be reading over 13.4 volts DC as soon as you power the shore cable. You will want to check that out first.


Good Luck
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Old 10-04-2015, 02:50 PM   #10
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Name: Bex
Trailer: Casita
California
Posts: 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sands View Post
Xcellent video. I've looked at that model (the C-head) but it is great to see it in relation to a Casita bathroom. They (and all composting toilets) seem expensive for what they are, but if built well there is no reason they wouldn't last decades. Thanks for posting!
Thanks! I agree, these things seem expensive for what is basically a bucket and jug. But this one is sturdy and was originally made for a boat. So I don't have any worries about it on a bouncy, forest road or the stirring mechanisms breaking. I also really like that it just "feels" like a regular toilet. I specifically chose this model because the other popular one (the Nature's Head), was just too much more to justify the expense. Mine was $630 and the other was $960. Huge difference.

Quote:
Originally Posted by rgrugg View Post
I can't understand how a composting toilet can work in an RV because of the short amount of time available for composting to take place. In my own case I empty once a week. How is this enough time to convert the waste to compost?
Well, some of the "stuff" will not be fully composted when it is dumped. So it's best to dump it where it can finish composting. For one person, you can use it for a month before dumping so the process is really underway at that point. I have been staying at campgrounds for the last week+ because I was in a National Park so I haven't used it in that time and everything inside seems to have composted now. But I'm actually surprised out how fast it seems to disappear. When I first got it, I would occasionally peep down inside with a flashlight to see how it was working and could only see some of the white from the toilet paper. As long as it's kept dry, the composting seems to happen very quickly.
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Old 10-04-2015, 03:00 PM   #11
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Name: Bex
Trailer: Casita
California
Posts: 72
I really loved the Nature's Head, especially after seeing multiple videos on youtube about it. But I just couldn't justify the cost versus the model I bought. But it does seem like a well made product.

The fact that it doesn't smell really tripped me out at first. Even though many people had said that fact, I had a difficult time believing it. But now, I'm a true believer!

I use my toilet for #1 multiple times a day and I too just empty it into the campground toilet. If I'm at a place with full hookups, I just pour it down the tube for black water. It's so nice not to have to get dressed in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom!!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Larry C Hanson View Post
Hello,

After full timing for 6 years and using a 'composting' toilet
I can say that it is much better than dealing with black water.
Nature's Head is the one I chose costing about $900.

The compost box needs to be serviced about every 3 - 4
weeks... one person using it. There is only the smell of peat moss
when emptying out the chamber into a finishing plastic box that
let it dry out in some more. I don't know that it actually composts
as I have never used it for fertilizer. However, when disposing of the
remainder in a dumpster I don't worry much about the leavings as
they are surely not as toxic a dirty diapers or chemical wastes
that typically end up in the landfill. The urine container can be
emptied into a toilet. To me this arrangement is much less effort
than dealing with hauling around a tank of black water to dispose
of. Each week there would be about 15 gallons of the nastly
stuff to deal with.

The toilet maintenance is easy although the exhaust fan has
to be replaced every year or two, an easy job. The fan draws
about 1W or about 2 AH/Day at 12V DC.

All for now...

Larry H
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Old 10-04-2015, 03:10 PM   #12
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Name: Bex
Trailer: Casita
California
Posts: 72
Yes, it was a pleasure to meet you too!!

I considered the porta-potty, mainly because I didn't believe all the hype about composting toilets at first. But the sheer number of videos about them on youtube convinced me to give it a try. I think each person should choose the best method for them and their situation. There is no 'one' answer. Since I wanted to be able to go out on BLM land for a week or more, this seemed like the best solution for me.

Regarding your trailers PO, I wonder if I may be that person when I ripped out the toilet that was in there. I think maybe the next owner will be, "I wish she had just left the old toilet in there!" But I needed to make my tiny home a place for me, so I did what I had to do.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gina D. View Post
Rebecca,

First off, let me say that it was a pleasure to meet you up on the Ridge last week, and I am pleased to see your post/video explaining your system. Well done!

I too, use the porta potti method, lacking a black tank in the trailer, its a natural alternative for me. I plan to come up with a less cumbersome method for dumping..that 5 gallon tank is HEAVY! This, in combination of using the campground facilities, has kept me "going" for several years of fulltiming. This winter, I intend to modify the plumbing in my rig so that I can dump the potty into a sewer hook up without ever having to drag the tank out of the trailer. I will use the existing pathways left from the PO after he ripped out the reciculating toilet original to the trailer. (Oh, how I wish he had not dome that)

On separating the liquids from the solids...I use a female urinal to help reduce the frequency of dumping. This is controversial for the squeamish, but not at all weird once you do it. I keep a proper balance of liquid in the potti to reduce the solid waste, but it really helps.
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Old 10-04-2015, 03:14 PM   #13
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Name: Bex
Trailer: Casita
California
Posts: 72
I think we've breached that particular level of propriety in this thread!

There are a few of those devices out there. My friend has one called the Go-Girl. It actually came in camo so no one would ever see you going!! LOL!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Miller View Post
Hopefully not stepping to close to the line of propriety....

Judy bought two of these the day that REI store #2 opened in Berkley, CA (about 1969?), back when we used to go hiking everywhere, and she still has one of them in her travel kit, (The other one got lost).
Sani-Fem Freshette Feminine Urinary Director - REI.com
and it is still in use.... talk about a quality product.


But that was before REI became more of a clothing store.... Hope the quality is still there.
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Old 10-04-2015, 03:16 PM   #14
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Name: Bex
Trailer: Casita
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It was a pleasure to meet you too!!

Hope you're having a wonderful time!
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mary F View Post
Hi, Rebecca!! Greetings from the Fall Northern Oregon Gathering. It was great to meet you last week. I have no opinion on your set up, but just wanted to wave.
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