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Old 09-07-2013, 11:02 PM   #1
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Default Cassette Toilets - Why Not?

Hello,

To me, it would make sense to use cassette toilets and tankless water heaters on Class B coaches. The grey and fresh tanks could be bigger and the bathroom location could be more flexible. Winter travel could be facilitated by placing a five gallon fresh tank inside the heated area of the coach and the cassette toilet would flush just fine using RV anti-freeze.

My $0.02 and worth every penny,

Bill
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Old 09-08-2013, 09:04 AM   #2
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Default Re: Cassette Toilets - Why Not?

I've been wondering about this, but cassette toilets have some disadvantages:

1: Trying to dump them in a normal US pipe may lead to a nasty spill. Europe has stainless steel pits that flush just for the purpose of dumping and rinsing cassettes. Trying to dump in a toilet at a bathhouse may get one asked some very pointed questions by camp rangers worried about it overflowing, especially a pit or vault toilet system. Of course, we will get slobs which will drag them near a shower drain in a bathhouse and empty them there.

2: They can be heavy. Factoring 10 pounds per gallon, they can weigh 50+ pounds, so can be unwieldy, especially for older RV-ers.

3: They require chemicals, unlike a black water tank which just needs water and perhaps some dish soap or water softener to keep stuff from going solid.

4: A flush uses the same amount of water regardless if it is a #1 or #2. With my current RV toilet, I can use extremely little water for liquids.

Of course, they have a number of advantages:

1: If it freezes, replacing a cartridge is a lot easier than replacing plumbing and a black tank. To boot, the cartridge is in the vehicle's interior which means that one can function adequately using antifreeze for flushing in below freezing temperatures.

2: Multiple cartridges can be used or brought along. If boondocking, I could see bringing a few cartridges along, since they are a lot more manageable than a large tote tank.

3: They make it easy to do good RV floorplans since a large black tank doesn't have to be underneath the toilet. All is needed is a hatch to pull the cartridge out, and this can be in the back at the van doors, on the side, or even inside.
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Old 09-08-2013, 09:05 PM   #3
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Default Re: Cassette Toilets - Why Not?

Thanks for the great list of the advantages and disadvantages.

It looks easy enough to handle. The guy in the video below said a red light comes on when the waste tank is 85% full so emptying then will keep the weight manageable.

[youtube:2gi87qp5]-bAXYAQQOqY[/youtube:2gi87qp5]
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Old 09-10-2013, 06:42 PM   #4
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Default Re: Cassette Toilets - Why Not?

I am new to the class B scene but not to RVing and still have my Bounder for family trips so dealing with a porta potti was something I got into a little half heartedly. I am a convert and see grest advantages to the PP in light of the fact that class B black water tanks are quite small. It turns out that I would rather have a 5 gallon PP tank than a 10 gallon fixed tank but we boondock and use forest service type CGs most the time and always have and sometimes have to search for dump stations. I dump into pit and regular toilets all the time and have had no issue yet. If a ranger were to say something I would explain that I always use formaldahide free digester and gladly show him the bottle. I believe killing the septic or pit enzymes would be the issue. My porta potti tank is a little ungainly but the cassette version with tow handle and wheels looks very smart. I think people who use full service CGs would probably be better served to get standard tanks.
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Old 09-11-2013, 01:54 AM   #5
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Default Re: Cassette Toilets - Why Not?

Finding (inexpensive) standalone or otherwise dumping stations seems to be getting harder these days. I've found that some commercial and public campgrounds near us do have a standalone dumping fee of around $10. We used to be able to dump at the local waste water treatment facility when we lived in Niagara for free (paid for by our municipal taxes?), but this doesn't seem to be a standard procedure in Ontario and Canada.
The porta potty or equivalent with it's cassette or equivalent to dump would be a great option to have, if you don't spend a lot of time at full service campsites. As Stan says, it opens up a much wider range of dumping options.
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Old 09-11-2013, 03:13 AM   #6
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Default Re: Cassette Toilets - Why Not?

I do agree that there are a lot more toilets than dump stations. Dumping grey water is frowned upon, but in a pinch, people don't mind since it waters the ground. Worst case, getting caught dumping a cassette into a toilet (assuming none of it spilled) might get a finger waggle, but that's it.

With dump stations becoming more rare (usually due to people emptying their toxic chemicals down them), I can see cassette toilets eventually becoming more of a useful item for boondockers and people who don't go from hookups to hookups.

Of course, there is the advantage that when you fill up one cassette, you can slam in a spare.
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Old 09-14-2013, 12:37 PM   #7
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Default Re: Cassette Toilets - Why Not?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike
Finding (inexpensive) standalone or otherwise dumping stations seems to be getting harder these days. I've found that some commercial and public campgrounds near us do have a standalone dumping fee of around $10. We used to be able to dump at the local waste water treatment facility when we lived in Niagara for free (paid for by our municipal taxes?), but this doesn't seem to be a standard procedure in Ontario and Canada.
The porta potty or equivalent with it's cassette or equivalent to dump would be a great option to have, if you don't spend a lot of time at full service campsites. As Stan says, it opens up a much wider range of dumping options.
Good point. I'd like a cassette toilet for those additional dumping options.

There is one Visitor Center in town here that charges $5 but they close in early September. The campgrounds nearby all charge $10 or more.

One free dump station source out this way is (some) gas stations. There's one 1hr to the north and one 25 mins to the south of me that let you empty your waste tanks with no fee if you purchase fuel so I always fill up with fuel and empty the waste tanks when returning from a trip at those gas stations.
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Old 09-14-2013, 03:02 PM   #8
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Default Re: Cassette Toilets - Why Not?

Truck stops with separate RV islands, will usually have dump stations located at them. The Pilot/Flying J in London, Ontario has them, and the fee is usually $5, unless you have one of their free RV loyalty cards, which reduces it. Some reduce the dumping fee if you fill up, too. As you say.

PFJ also have an RV Plus loyalty/credit card that gets discounts for Good Sam Club members on gas, diesel, propane, and dumping. If you apply for one at a PilotFlyingJ location or online, you're automatically enrolled in the Good Sam Club for one year for a $25 charge. If you're already a GSC member, you can apply for the fuel/dumping discount online for free with your GSC member info. There may be annual or monthly fees, but I don't know for sure.
http://www.rvpluscard.com/FAQ/

There are still a few Rest Areas on the interstates and freeways in the US that have no fee dumping for travelers.
POI Factory has some fairly useful files that are located here, one is Rest Areas Combined, and the other is RV dumping places.
http://www.poi-factory.com/node/6643
http://www.poi-factory.com/node/6837
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Old 09-14-2013, 10:54 PM   #9
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Default Re: Cassette Toilets - Why Not?

For those with a macerator, I wonder how much trouble you would get in to for pumping it into a pit toilet. At least for us (very little water, formaldehyde free), it really is about the same as what is in a cassette and only about 10 gallons at most.
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Old 09-15-2013, 12:04 AM   #10
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Default Re: Cassette Toilets - Why Not?

The thing about a cassette toilet is that it is not as obvious. Someone snaking a hose into a pit toilet will get someone taking pictures and calling the law immediately.

Worst case, if for some reason all dump stations close or start charging $250/dump for some reason (this is pure theory, mind you), a cassette toilet can be hauled into a gas station's bathroom and emptied privately. One would be SOL with a standard black tank unless they had a clean out that is always accessible.
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Old 09-15-2013, 01:00 AM   #11
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Default Re: Cassette Toilets - Why Not?

Quote:
Originally Posted by booster
For those with a macerator, I wonder how much trouble you would get in to for pumping it into a pit toilet. At least for us (very little water, formaldehyde free), it really is about the same as what is in a cassette and only about 10 gallons at most.
I've wondered about that too, but I expect it would be hard to explain your logic for doing it to someone who isn't necessarily familiar with RV toilets and plumbing systems. It wouldn't bother me if I saw you doing it, if there was no residual mess to have to avoid. It might bother a tent camper, possibly for that reason. Speculation?

In our case, we don't have a macerator, but generally have no need either, because our RV waste is only liquid. If gravity dumping were possible, I'd have to consider the pit toilet idea if we were really stuck. When you think about it, if you've got to go, and there's nothing available except bushes, what are you going to do? Most, if not all of us have used "the bushes" once or twice over the years, and the world hasn't come to an end. Wildlife dumps in the wild, as well as occasionally desperate or lazy humans. I'm not sure how much difference it really makes, if the RV toilet and black tank is a "middle man" in the overall process. Discretion matters, of course.
Please excuse my candor on the subject. No offense intended.
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Old 09-15-2013, 04:42 PM   #12
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Default Re: Cassette Toilets - Why Not?

cassette info -from truck camper magazine-from Northstar truck campers that use cassettes mostly


http://www.truckcampermagazine.com/camp ... et-systems
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Old 09-15-2013, 05:25 PM   #13
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Default Re: Cassette Toilets - Why Not?

Quote:
Originally Posted by booster
For those with a macerator, I wonder how much trouble you would get in to for pumping it into a pit toilet. At least for us (very little water, formaldehyde free), it really is about the same as what is in a cassette and only about 10 gallons at most.
Another thought occurs. Why not carry a small "cassette" toilet of your own with you? Any sort of container that can be sealed and is easy to carry would work. Since gravity isn't an issue for you, you could macerate into it, then dump that into a pit toilet at a convenient time. It might be less obvious and offensive to other campers. Using a portable container as the "middle man"?
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Old 09-15-2013, 05:32 PM   #14
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Default Re: Cassette Toilets - Why Not?

Quote:
Originally Posted by gerrym51
cassette info -from truck camper magazine-from Northstar truck campers that use cassettes mostly


http://www.truckcampermagazine.com/camp ... et-systems
Good info.
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Old 09-15-2013, 06:54 PM   #15
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Default Re: Cassette Toilets - Why Not?

Quote:
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Quote:
Originally Posted by booster
For those with a macerator, I wonder how much trouble you would get in to for pumping it into a pit toilet. At least for us (very little water, formaldehyde free), it really is about the same as what is in a cassette and only about 10 gallons at most.
Another thought occurs. Why not carry a small "cassette" toilet of your own with you? Any sort of container that can be sealed and is easy to carry would work. Since gravity isn't an issue for you, you could macerate into it, then dump that into a pit toilet at a convenient time. It might be less obvious and offensive to other campers. Using a portable container as the "middle man"?
One can get a tote tank from Barker and do similar. in fact, some of the tote tanks have a handle that can fit on a tow ball so it can be driven a short distance.

I still think a cassette toilet has its good and bad points. What it really boils down to is if someone boondocks mainly or if they use FHU often. FHU, it is a no brainer -- a black tank is the easiest since the hose can be connected up and the tanks emptied/flushed with ease, and no hauling a portable poop tank anywhere.

Boondocking, it is a different story. Cassette toilets mean a complete plumbing system is not needed, are very easily winterized, and a cassette can be dumped into places easily that if one attempted to dump a black tank, the police/sheriff would be called immediately. Plus, if there are no places to dump a black tank, it is easier to go home and empty the cassettes in your bathroom commode.
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Old 09-15-2013, 07:24 PM   #16
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Default Re: Cassette Toilets - Why Not?

Now that we 've discussed this a little. I have to ask the question of where to buy a cassette toilet and a extra cassette. That is not readily at hand. I have dreams of building my own class B someday and may go with a cassette setup.
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Old 09-15-2013, 11:06 PM   #17
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Default Re: Cassette Toilets - Why Not?

You probably will need to buy a kit from a UK caravan shop. A replacement cartridge costs $180 from motorcaravanning.co.uk (on their site , 111.95 pounds) I'm guessing with shipping, it will be around $200 or so per.

If I had a class "B" with a cassette toilet, I'd probably start with three, go from there.
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Old 09-16-2013, 01:48 AM   #18
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Default Re: Cassette Toilets - Why Not?

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Now that we 've discussed this a little. I have to ask the question of where to buy a cassette toilet and a extra cassette. That is not readily at hand. I have dreams of building my own class B someday and may go with a cassette setup.
These guys have everything, it seems. They're in Houston, so not exactly close to you or me but, whenever I google something RV, they usually appear on the first results page. They do ship. I have no personal experience dealing with them, other than by email, some questions about roof mounted satellite dish/receiver systems a few years back. They answer emails.
http://www.pplmotorhomes.com/

Thetford has some porta potti models that might work. Some have 5.5 gallons capacity and sound pretty high tech, as toilets go. Prices aren't too bad either.
http://www.pplmotorhomes.com/parts/thet ... ta%20Potty

Something like this might work for transporting your waste from the RV toilet/holding tank, to the point of dumping, like the concept of a built in cassette, only not built in. Size-wise, perhaps not practical in a class B where storing it until needed would be an issue, unless, you've got a Stow-Away or Swing-Away, or some extra space.
http://www.pplmotorhomes.com/parts/rv-t ... t-tote.htm
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Old 11-04-2013, 09:47 PM   #19
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Default Re: Cassette Toilets - Why Not?

I just responded to this question earlier in another thread. I guess I see a cassette as simply a big pain to deal with. I've watched campers hauling their cassettes to dump stations and watched them. My simple response. No way for me and if there is a dump station, tanks with hoses are way easier to dump.

I've never found a lack of dump stations in all my travels and figuring I typically anticipate 4 to 5 days on the average between dumps I could easily coordinate that aspect so don't worry about alternative ways to dump. Also, for a variety of reasons and habits we are seldom (actually never so far) parked in one spot much more than 4 or 5 days and even then we tend to do some driving around.

For hot water, on demand requires instant heat and that means a lot of electricity. In a boondocking or dry camping situation that would not be very desirable to me when battery management is precious and running a generator seems oxymoronic in nature. We don't need hot water but sparingly such as for very infrequent in B showers or doing evening dishes. 20 minutes heating up the 6 gallon suburban water tank with propane then shutting it off is very efficient. Excess water seems to stay hot for quite a while. Now they have diesel hydronic on some Sprinters.

So, for DIY camper vans it might be an economical easy to do solution, but buying a B from a converter it would be a substandard solution, IMO.
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Old 11-04-2013, 10:47 PM   #20
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Default Re: Cassette Toilets - Why Not?

I agree here -- nothing beats the ease of use of a dump hose, or more accurately, a macerator pump hose because I can empty tanks almost anywhere. Cassettes are fairly heavy (50-60 pounds full), take a bit of doing to heave out.

They are popular in Europe though. From what I've seen, European CGs are more primitive than US ones. Instead of a dump station at every site, they might have a place to let rip grey water (as it goes into the storm drain system), and then a centralized pit/trough that one uses to empty/rinse their cassettes. It also makes sense since Europe is colder in some places, so it is less to winterize, and one can use RV antifreeze to flush them.

Europe also doesn't really have dump stations per se. Grey water can get dumped in a storm drain, but other than the above mentioned dump pit, they tend to be emptied in toilets. That is one small advantage of the cassette toilets. After a trip, I can dump the grey water on a tree. The cassettes can come inside the house and get emptied there. This is especially nice because the neighborhood a relative lives in has very nosy neighbors, and if they even suspect anything like an RV dumping in a clean-out, they will whip out two cellphones. One to videotape, one to call the police and then their lawyer. With the cassettes, the mess is hauled out of their sight, while grey water is, of course, legal to empty if the property owner gives permission.

I'm personally on the fence with them. For the Eko motorhomes with the compost toilet, sliding out a cassette is a heck of a lot easier than dealing with a poop bin, peep bottle, and having to "re-peat" the toilet to keep the composting going. In that case, given a decent floorplan, I'll take the lesser of the two evils. As an added bonus, since I park in an urban area, I wouldn't have to do the dump station search before parking, since any toilet functions as a dump station.
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