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Old 02-12-2013, 08:52 AM   #1
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1959 24' Tradewind
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Natures Head power requirement

Hi,

we are looking at putting a Natures Head Composting toiltet in our '59 Tradewind. the manufacturer states that the small vent fan in the composting toilet draws only 1.7 amps per day (DC).

In order to prevent our battery from being sucked dry, could anyone recommend which solar panel I should buy? I'm confused because is seems that all panels are advertised by watts or milli amps production.

Should I also put a solar vent cap on the 1.5" vent pipe which exits the roof?

Steve
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Old 02-12-2013, 09:29 AM   #2
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Find out if the power requirement is 1.7 amp-hours or 1.7 amps. There's a big difference.

The smaller 10-20 watt panels will keep the battery charged and produce enough electricity to cover a daily draw of 1.7 amp-hours.

If the fan draws 1.7 amps, continuously, you'll need a panel of around 200 watts capacity, maybe more if you're not in full sun.
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Old 02-12-2013, 11:14 AM   #3
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The manufacturer states that it "draws 1.7 amp hours per 24 hour period"

If I go with the 20 watt panel, hooked in to the trailers 12v battery, do I also need some type of charge controller?
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Old 02-12-2013, 12:54 PM   #4
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You would at least want a blocking diode although some of the "solar battery maintainer" sorts of products have one built in.

20 watts is a small enough array that it won't overcharge the batteries enough to damage them, as long as you add distilled water as necessary. If you find that you have to add distilled water more often than you would like, you could add a charge controller. If you can find something inexpensive that will work perhaps it would be worth putting it in. ::shrug::
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Old 02-18-2013, 12:52 PM   #5
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I am in the process of installing one in my 57 Caravanner. I don't like the looks of the solar panel or the mushroom vent on the roof right next to the back vent, plus it's a long way (8 feet) from the head. Had a thought of venting it through the floor and belly pan using only metal screen to keep mice out.
Some thoughts on this please....
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Old 02-18-2013, 01:02 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ErikFrolich View Post
I am in the process of installing one in my 57 Caravanner. I don't like the looks of the solar panel or the mushroom vent on the roof right next to the back vent, plus it's a long way (8 feet) from the head. Had a thought of venting it through the floor and belly pan using only metal screen to keep mice out.
Some thoughts on this please....
I also had that thought but figured it was best to get that smell above us and not below where the wind could push it near us while we are under the awning area.
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Old 02-23-2013, 09:19 AM   #7
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Please do update how your composting toilet performs (that sounds funny). We have been thinking of installing one.
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Old 02-23-2013, 09:42 AM   #8
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We have a Nature's Head unit; the draw from the fan is pretty trivial. We have 200W of solar panels; if we're having problems keeping batteries charged it's becaused we're parked in deep shade or under a sun shelter .

Compared to other draws, the fan is really trivial. We have two 105 AH batteries; drawing down to 50% means it would take two months for the batteries to discharge.

That is one load I can ignore.

- Bart
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Old 02-23-2013, 10:10 AM   #9
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Are you able to eliminate the black tank with Nature's head or modify to much smaller? Do you have a thread on the install of the product?
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Old 02-23-2013, 10:19 AM   #10
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We have neither a black tank (removed w/ the original toilet) or a gray tank as our 1971 never had one. I've considered it, but so far a 5 gallon bucket has worked pretty well. When really boondocking we simply run the (not stinky) slinky into the bushes and run the wash water there, just like anyone who would whose camping in a tent.

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Old 02-23-2013, 10:47 AM   #11
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Are you able to eliminate the black tank with Nature's head or modify to much smaller? Do you have a thread on the install of the product?
The Nature's Head is a self contained unit. Liquid waste is diverted into a plastic container that can be dumped into a nearby toilet. Solid waste goes into the base of the toilet. It is primed with peat moss and a bit of dirt/mulch. There is a crank at the side which turns a stirring rod so that everything can get tumbled together. The microbes in the dirt/mulch break down the solids and leave a slight earthy smell that we don't even notice since it's vented outside.
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Old 05-06-2013, 07:26 AM   #12
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We will be picking up our 2013 Flying Cloud 25ft FB in a few weeks. This is something that we have wanted to do for a very long time and are very excited. We have added the solar panel option but also want to get a compost toilet installed. We're thinking that this gives us more flexibility for boondocking. However, they don't do this at the dealership or at the Airstream factory. We talked with someone from "Nature's Head" who only distributes the toilets ($800 + tax) but don't install. He said that it's very easy but we are not all that handy and don't want to end up with it looking like a homemade job. Has anyone had one installed? Does anyone know where we could get it installed? We live in Pittsburgh, PA. Thanks!
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Old 11-14-2015, 04:37 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ErikFrolich View Post
I am in the process of installing one in my 57 Caravanner. I don't like the looks of the solar panel or the mushroom vent on the roof right next to the back vent, plus it's a long way (8 feet) from the head. Had a thought of venting it through the floor and belly pan using only metal screen to keep mice out.
Some thoughts on this please....
i put one in my 58 caravanner, i went right out the side near the floor of my shower and used a small clamshell, works great.

be sure to put some screening on the intake and on the output of the fan and where you connect the hose to the passthrough that comes with it. i found that i got gnats into the intake of the toilet and they went nuts. regular fiberglass screening on all the ports took care of the problem.

heres a link to the clamshell i got, it's small but fits the outlet i piped through using their bulkhead and short piece of pvc.
Amazon.com: Attwood Corporation 66400-3 2-3/16" Clamshell Vent: Automotive
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