Monday, March 7, 2016

Going to Hell in a Bucket, baby.

I’ve still got a couple stories to tell, but skipping ahead to today, I wanted to show that some progress is being made. There were two projects I wanted to make some headway on today; the electrical system and the composting toilet. As always there were some trials and tribulations before I could get to work, but that is one of the stories that will remain untold for now.

Humble Jumble
The electrical system is a mess. Its already better, but nowhere near the capacity to power anything. There is an awful lot of Romex wire in the mix which would be fine if this were a cabin but is no good on a boat. There are four batteries onboard in three different types.

Wiring together different types or even different ages of the same type is not a good idea. Further, all of the lights and other electronics were wired direct to the battery rather than through a fuse panel. And, par for this course, these were wired to lugs on different batteries in the bank. I’ve disconnected all the wiring and jumper cables. Most likely, I will buy a couple cheap deep cycle batteries to get by on until I really begin rewiring the whole boat. All I really need, at this moment, is enough battery power to have running lights for 48 hours and the occasional use of the VHF radio. On a plus note, the solar panels appear to be sending out power; its just not going anywhere.

The real progress was made installing the composting toilet. This will also be a temporary installation to get me to my eventual home marina where the real work will begin. For now, I need to be legal to travel these water. The boat was advertised as having a composting toilet. This was partially true. There was a home built set up for composting aboard the boat. However, it was missing the bucket and a urine diverter. I don’t know exactly how the owner, two owners back, was using the composter he designed and built, but it wasn’t all there anymore.

The Old Bucket Cabinet

I’ve been reading about composting toilets for a while and was going to put in a commercially built unit. Besides looking nicer, it was all there and instructions were be included. I bought a C-Head composting toilet and am super happy I did. Many of you know, I have a Bachelors Degree in Packaging. I was totally impressed with the well thought out packaging design when my toilet arrived. This is a small company still buying cardboard shipping boxes at Home Depot, but the care and forethought that was put into just boxing the toilet up to ship to me was incredible. Moreover, the directions are very detailed with many installation options.

Eewh, don't look in there.
My first task was to disassemble what I had. I had purchased 12v Portable Drill Driver/Impact Driver kit from Milwaukee and am really happy with the tools. Alex had bought the kit when we were working on Eleanor last spring. It seemed to do well. Back to the bucket cabinet, yes, the stir stick was still in there. Peat moss dust was everywhere. The open bucket design had its drawbacks. But I tore it down and cleaned it up. The toilet seat itself was just sitting over the hole with a lid that wasn’t even attached.

Using what wood I had, temporary install.
My C-Head went together well with an ease based on good, thorough directions. I fit it in place, marked where I wanted the brackets, drilled a couple holes for the hold-downs and in mere moments, it was installed. I had to use whatever scrap wood that was on the boat. Now I’m legal too.

The C-Head separates #1 & #2, which prevents the worst of the smells. The peat moss dessicates the solid 'product' which can either be further composted or disposed of. The liquid product is stored in cheap, ubiquitous gallon jugs or can be plumbed to a holding tank for pumpout when available. There is basically no plumbing and no need for a holding tank.
Agitation Crank handle in place
The Teak C-Head
Step One
Step Two
Ready for Action, everybody sits.
The agitator bucket loaded with peat moss


  1. Wow, romex? Did you find wirenuts too? holy cow.

    1. Even better, I've got a spot, outdoors, under the solar panel that looks like the ol' twist together and wrap with 100 layers of electricians tape. I haven't attacked that yet because the tape has turned to a sticky mess, as usual.

  2. Looks nice, neat, and tidy -- try to keep it that way! (I'm sure you like mom comments!!!)

  3. Looks nice, neat, and tidy -- try to keep it that way! (I'm sure you like mom comments!!!)


Homeward Epilogue

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