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Nature's Head composting toilet installation in an Oliver. Big thread.


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I have no desire to transport and manage black tank raw sewage.

 

Neither did we (one reason we went with the Nature's Head).

 

Here is something you may want to consider. Since we wanted to dump the gray water (responsibly) when boon docking and at an RV park so that we wouldn't be limited on our water usage (sometimes we decide even shower at an RV park in the Ollie), we bought a gray (colored) garden hose and used these two adapters:

Camco Durable Sewer Cap with Hose Connection

Camco 3" & 4" Easy Slip Gray Water Sewer Hose Seal

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EarthPicks of Cochise County


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What do folks do to empty the pee container when parked for a month at an RV Park? Empty it in the bathroom sink? Empty it in the bathroom of the RV Park? Something else?

 

 

The best thing if you don't have hookups is to dump it down the toilet in the bathroom. I wouldn't recommend the sink just because of the gross factor. If you do have hookups you can dump it down your shower drain and rinse out your shower.

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If you do have hookups you can dump it down your shower drain and rinse out your shower.

 

I would not recommend dumping urine into your gray water tank. I'm thinking that odor could be an issue, as well as urine solid build up. You can dump it directly into the sewer inlet at your RV hookup site. We have done that a few times, but you have to be careful not to spill outside of the inlet. A large funnel could help with that. I agree that dumping it in a sink at the RV park would not be appropriate. (I like the suggestion of carrying the urine container in a bag of some sort if one is embarrassed about carrying the translucent container through the park.)

 

Here is another good place to look for solutions to issues with the Nature's Head composting toilet: Gone with the Wynns.

Onward through the Fog!


EarthPicks of Cochise County


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  • 1 year later...
14 hours ago, Jairon said:

John, do you have a link for that trash can? The fit looks about as good as one could possibly hope for.

I don’t, let me poke around in my records to see where I got it. It wasn’t Amazon. It is similar to this one, maybe an earlier version. I have had it for four years. 
 

https://www.walmart.com/ip/Home-Zone-5L-Small-Trash-Can-With-Lid-And-Foot-Pedal-Removable-Bin-Stainless-Steel-Garbage-Can-Oval-Waste-Basket/666807586
 

It works fine, you can operate the lid with your left heel when sitting, or while standing you can use your right toe or reach behind with your hand and lightly push down on the rear hinge. All these will pop it open.

EDIT: I can't find a purchase record, that is weird because I keep everything.... Sorry, I came up empty.

John Davies
Spokane WA

Edited by John E Davies
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"Mouse":  2017 Legacy Elite II NARV (Not An RV) Two Beds, Hull Number 218, See my HOW TO threads: https://olivertraveltrailers.com/topic/john-e-davies-how-to-threads-and-tech-articles-links/

Tow Vehicle: 2013 Land Cruiser 200, 33" LT tires, airbags.

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 6/20/2017 at 5:47 AM, John E Davies said:

Thanks for the kind words. See the second picture down from the top of Page 1. There is a significant lip around the seat part, under the lid, that keeps shower water out. You are correct, you want to keep the compost damp, but not drippy wet.

 

Unfortunately, as I noted, there is nothing to keep shower water out of the hollow that the pee tank sits in. So when you are done washing, you can either leave that water sitting there, lift out the tank and dry the parts, or drill a couple of holes in the bottom of the receptacle .... NOT the pee tank itself, LOL. I plan to do the latter, but I keep forgetting.

 

I suppose that you could fabricate a rubber seal around the top, but that might make removing and reinstalling the tank harder.

 

John Davies

 

Spokane WA

 

 

John,

Thank you immensely for sharing your knowledge about the NH toilet.  My wife and I have ordered our Ollie and are planning on the NH toilet, but we are concerned about keeping the compost dry while taking a shower.  You describe that water getting in under the toilet seat isn't a problem, but what about water getting in at the interface between the upper section and the lower section of the toilet?  I am talking about the interface that is near the latch brackets that allow you to remove the upper section of the toilet.  Do I need to worry about water seeping in through this interface?

I am very interested in your guidance because Oliver has impressed on us the importance of getting the shower curtain option with our NH toilet, but we both dislike the curtain option and would rather not order it if we can do without it.

Thanks in advance for your help.

George Gonzalez

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3 minutes ago, Gonz said:

John,

Thank you immensely for sharing your knowledge about the NH toilet.  My wife and I have ordered our Ollie and are planning on the NH toilet, but we are concerned about keeping the compost dry while taking a shower.  You describe that water getting in under the toilet seat isn't a problem, but what about water getting in at the interface between the upper section and the lower section of the toilet?  I am talking about the interface that is near the latch brackets that allow you to remove the upper section of the toilet.  Do I need to worry about water seeping in through this interface?

I am very interested in your guidance because Oliver has impressed on us the importance of getting the shower curtain option with our NH toilet, but we both dislike the curtain option and would rather not order it if we can do without it.

Thanks in advance for your help.

George Gonzalez

John,

This is the interface I am worried about through which water may seep into the compost.

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That bottom joint has a massive rubber gasket, if kept clean of debris it can’t leak. Even if it did, it would not matter since it is OK to introduce a little fresh water in there. Urine is a whole other thing, that is bad. When parked long term I usually have to run half a cup of fresh water from the sink faucet down into the coir every few weeks because it starts to dry out on top when not in use. But I live in a semi-arid climate. It may not be an issue where you live, but it will be if you visit the desert west.

You do not need a shower curtain, but you will need to always rinse and then dry the walls after the last person showers, and also the floors, including behind the toilet. I use a California Water Blade followed up by a towel.

And thanks for the kind words.

John Davies

Spokane WA

Edited by John E Davies
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"Mouse":  2017 Legacy Elite II NARV (Not An RV) Two Beds, Hull Number 218, See my HOW TO threads: https://olivertraveltrailers.com/topic/john-e-davies-how-to-threads-and-tech-articles-links/

Tow Vehicle: 2013 Land Cruiser 200, 33" LT tires, airbags.

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  • 1 month later...
On 6/20/2017 at 5:47 AM, John E Davies said:

Thanks for the kind words. See the second picture down from the top of Page 1. There is a significant lip around the seat part, under the lid, that keeps shower water out. You are correct, you want to keep the compost damp, but not drippy wet.

 

Unfortunately, as I noted, there is nothing to keep shower water out of the hollow that the pee tank sits in. So when you are done washing, you can either leave that water sitting there, lift out the tank and dry the parts, or drill a couple of holes in the bottom of the receptacle .... NOT the pee tank itself, LOL. I plan to do the latter, but I keep forgetting.

 

I suppose that you could fabricate a rubber seal around the top, but that might make removing and reinstalling the tank harder.

 

John Davies

 

Spokane WA

 

 

Following up here on an older thread.  Couple of questions:

-  we ordered the NH composting toilet but not the shower curtain.  Is there any chance theat shower water could short the electronics on the fan?

-  Not sure if anyone has this specific experience but we will be using our trailer on and off through the New England winter.  Our trailer will be stored outdoors and not heated.  The manufacturer suggests that it is fine to simply unplug and leave the partially composted poop to freeze.  I'm wondering what the consequence would be if there were occasional days where the trailer gets warm? 

-  As far as freezing damage goes, I'd assume that the poop/coconut material is too dry to freeze and expand and the pee bottle would be emptied so no chance of that cracking open.  Sound right?

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I always empty and clean our Composter - regardless -when we know the next use will be long off. I would not think about leaving it "engaged" during long term storage. But to answer the question - I can't see how cold temps would do anything but slow/stop the composting process.

In retrospect - I don't know if the curtain track was worth the cost. I have found suction cup attachments work very well in the Oliver - I use them in conjunction with the curtain tracks to keep the shower curtain where I want. 

RB

Edited by BackofBeyond

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I  don't have experience with one of these toilets and off-season storage specifically, but...  I think the bigger concern would be storing it in temperatures below the ~55 degrees F that they say is required for good aerobic composting, but above freezing. I stayed in a remote (helicopter access - fly in Saturday with backcountry  ski  gear and food and drink and fly out  the next Saturday kind of thing) mountain  hut up in the Selkirks of  BC for  a week once where  they'd just installed  an indoor composting toilet (BIG upgrade for guests!)  whos composting was supossed to be happening down in the basement (I think it was a Clivus Multrum  brand toilet but am not sure - similar in any case). A BIG upgrade for  guest experience over having to hoof it a little ways from the hut to  a pit toilet through bitter cold and deep  snow. We were  there  in early April after about 12 guests,  two  guides, an  assistant guide, and a  cook had been pooping each week since late December. Turns out the  basement location  wasn't as  warm as they had  planned. It was not composting  properly.  It was  a bit  smelly in the bathroom - much  like a National  Forest  vault toilet that's  a bit ripe. But the big problem was what to do with the  fetid waste filling the compost container.  Wet. Smelly with bad bacterial action and raw sewage. not something that  could  be neatly  shoveled  out into  the  landscape. By the time we got there  it was near overflowing and they'd flown in a few  55 gallon drums. One evening  after  a full  hard  day of guiding us up  and  down  some fantastic  ski terrain,  the guides  had to  don rubber  gloves and figure out how to  get it  all into the drums so  they  could  be  flown out and  disposed of legally and properly.  The smell that  came out into the living space of the hut  (think nice two story house like structure  with 2-3 person bunkrooms and communal eating/hanging space and kitchen) was intense. It  was so much worse for the guides.  Not  just  the  smell, but  having to  just reach  in with  buckets to finally get it  all transferred, with the gloves almost meaningless in the mix.  

I  don't  know if you'd  get  a mini version  of this experience from unheated storage but let us know if  you find out as I won't be taking on that experiment 🙂

Edited by Jim_Oker
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Jim and  Yanna, Woodinville WA

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Oliver Elite II hull #709

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The problem with low temps is it also isn't conducive to lower humidity.  So if you have semi-cool, moist air, passing over the composting medium, which is even cooler because its heat is conducted away by the basement floor, water vapor will condense and create the mess you described. 

We've considered a 12v RV tank heater on either the bottom or back of the composting toilet bin for humid/cold climates to help push out some excess moisture when we are boondocking and can't run the dehumidifier in the bathroom.

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Jim, That backcountry hut trip you did sounds right up my alley.  Love that sort of stuff.

Sooo, I just got off the horn with Nature's Head.  The tech told me that if the toilet won't be used for a week or more, it is fine to just unplug the fan.  They suggest it as best practice as otherwise, the solids get too dried out.  As to smell, they said it is not a problem as long as the unit has not been used for a couple of days. In varying temps the breakdown of the medium either stalls or kicks back in but, either way, it should not cause a smell issue.  WhatDa's comment on absorbing moisture sounds reasonable enough.  Guess I'll follow the company's routine and inspect every few days to see how things go.

On another front, while not suggesting there is a history of issues, the tech suggested that the toilet should be covered or curtained off to protect the electronics on the fan.  I hate the aesthetics and feel of the shower curtain but it seems like lessor evil than covering the toilet with a garbage bag.  Seems that some folks just let the water fly and have not had this issue. 

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I do not own a composting toilet (yet) but I ran across this YouTube video the other day with a three year review of maintenance type issues on the Nature's Head.

Bill 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zPHOWQA0ek4&t=242s&ab_channel=FateUnbound

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Those WITH the composting toilet...

Have any of you tried linking the grey + black tank together? It seems kind of useless to have a black water tank not being used. I saw on youtube one couple set their black water tank to be an overflow for the grey water and it worked well for them.

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56 minutes ago, jordanv said:

Have any of you tried linking the grey + black tank together? It seems kind of useless to have a black water tank not being used. I saw on youtube one couple set their black water tank to be an overflow for the grey water and it worked well for them.

Problematic at best ... the black tank is about three inches higher than the grey tank, so there is no way you would be able to have any sort of natural drainage in that direction.  You could use a pump to get the water there but you risk having the black tank backflow into a full grey tank, causing that smelly water to flow up from the shower drain, and possibly out onto the cabin floor. Yuck..... If they were at the same height it would be doable. You could actually connect the bathroom sink drain to the black tank, without much difficulty. I don’t know how helpful that would be; we don’t even use ours. There is no way to get the shower to drain that direction.

The easiest and most practical setup is to use the black tank as an aux fresh tank, and make it gravity feed into the (nearly empty) fresh tank. That brings its own issues, like where do you dump the grey tank to make more room for that extra 18 gallons? Out West you can often water the sagebrush, but that isn’t always possible.

John Davies

Spokane WA

Edited by John E Davies
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"Mouse":  2017 Legacy Elite II NARV (Not An RV) Two Beds, Hull Number 218, See my HOW TO threads: https://olivertraveltrailers.com/topic/john-e-davies-how-to-threads-and-tech-articles-links/

Tow Vehicle: 2013 Land Cruiser 200, 33" LT tires, airbags.

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We have the Nature's Head option and it worked great for us for the 2 days of camping we did during pickup.  One thing that I was wondering is if any other owners using Nature's Head got a cap for the urine container?  I did not and I thought that was odd.  If it's included Oliver just forgot to leave it and if it's not I'll order one for sure.

Thanks!

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You should have received one, it would be unpleasant to transport without one..... especially if nearly full. File a service request and they will send you one, but check all drawers first, it may be there in the galley.

John Davies

Spokane WA

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"Mouse":  2017 Legacy Elite II NARV (Not An RV) Two Beds, Hull Number 218, See my HOW TO threads: https://olivertraveltrailers.com/topic/john-e-davies-how-to-threads-and-tech-articles-links/

Tow Vehicle: 2013 Land Cruiser 200, 33" LT tires, airbags.

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  • 5 weeks later...

I am still conflicted over the composting toilet, but did order one for the trailer I will pick up in March. I now have an idea of what to order prior to leaving home from California to have with me. My family of 5, three daughters, lived in a 24' 5th wheel for 3 months, 20,000 miles, when my eldest graduated from high school. She agreed to the trip. She now goes on her own trips, with a tent. I did not look forward to dumping the tank, or hooking up to the various park connections - when there was a connection. I also don't look forward to putting used toilet paper in a trash can - never have used a septic system.

John

      

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  • 4 months later...

John et al,

I just bought a 10 month old E2 twin (2020) hull# 648.  We would like to put in Natures Head Composting toilet.   For those that have installed there own Toilet:

1. Did you just put screws into the fiberglass flooring.  Did you have to add support under the floor to  get enough strength to hold the toilet securely in place.

2.  There is not a  fuse mark for the toilet, All of fuse slots are clearly marked for a purpose.  Can I just use a Posi-Tap into the Auto drain wires or the water pump switch wires in the cabinet. 

 

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10 hours ago, 2008RN said:

1. Did you just put screws into the fiberglass flooring.  Did you have to add support under the floor to  get enough strength to hold the toilet securely in place.

2.  There is not a  fuse mark for the toilet, All of fuse slots are clearly marked for a purpose.  Can I just use a Posi-Tap into the Auto drain wires or the water pump switch wires in the cabinet. 

I have not looked at mine under the floor, but you definitely need some reinforcement - if there is not already a metal plate underneath for the regular toilet, use a couple of thick pieces of aircraft aluminum (6061 T6 is a good choice) and either big self tapping screws or machine screws and self locking nuts. Use epoxy to bond the plates to the fiberglass, but make sure any fasteners don’t get stuck too!

An inline fuse would be acceptable but it needs to be in a easy to access location like under the front dinette seat, not buried behind a sealed screwed down panel. Make sure you install a big enough one, they recommend 2.5 amps. The toilet fan uses way less, but it could pop a 1 amp fuse, which is what came in my trailer.

While you are at it, you can remove all the black tank flush parts (cap off the hull fitting!!!) to gain a fair amount of extra storage space in that compartment. Look here:

https://olivertraveltrailers.com/forums/topic/5272-how-to-flat-foam-storage-tray-for-the-front-dinette-seat-compartment/

Please post pics here when you do this. It will be helpful for those considering the change.

John Davies

Spokane WA

"Mouse":  2017 Legacy Elite II NARV (Not An RV) Two Beds, Hull Number 218, See my HOW TO threads: https://olivertraveltrailers.com/topic/john-e-davies-how-to-threads-and-tech-articles-links/

Tow Vehicle: 2013 Land Cruiser 200, 33" LT tires, airbags.

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