Thursday, 16 June 2011

A Crap Project

You may remember having read in a previous posting that we had a few problems with our pump out toilet. Click Here. Having nothing to go on, made everyone on board quite resourceful. We cruised past everything on the canal except for canal side pub toilets and BW provided sanitary facilities.

Billy Connolly said "There is a time in life, when you get to about 50, when you discover that you must never pass up the opportunity to visit a toilet." In that three day period with our pump out problems, we learned exactly what Bill was talking about.

So I set myself a project. I want to have a totally self contained system for doing a toilet pump-out at every available canal side opportunity. There are a number of BW sanitary stations with a pump out facility provided. What I want to do is to be able to do an emergency pump out into a BW Elsan sanitary station where pump out facilities are not provided. I also want the pump to be available for other purposes such as emergency pumping out of bilges.

The crew of Nb Jannock maintain a list of pump out / BW Elsan sanitary stations.
You can find a second list here.

The website Tony's desk have done a good write-up of the most talked about subject on the canal. The pros and cons of various toilet types. A search on the usual suspect canal forums will bring even more crap comments as boaters become more and more polarised on the subject.

Sealand Discharge Pump
So the first purchase to be made is a suitable black water discharge pump. In this case I chose a Sealand T Series Discharge Pump. SeaLand claim a 300 gallon per hour flow rate.

Sealand Discharge Pump 317301200. You can find these pumps advertised on eBay from time to time. Mine cost £90 inc P and P all the way from the US of A. Arrived brand new in a sealed box. UK Chandlers prices are considerably more for some reason.

Sealand's discharge pump solves the most serious problem associated with impeller-type pumps: impeller burn-out. It does away with impellers altogether, utilising a heavy duty bellows that handles tough marine waste while drawing just 6/8 amps at 12VDC. Self-priming up to 10 feet of water and handles up to 1136 litre per hour. Can be Run dry without harm. Handles foreign objects up to 1/2 inch diameter.

Typical self pump out equipment available includes:-

From the Nb Jannock pump out list, a 30 foot waste pipe will be of sufficient length to do the job at the majority of BW Elsan Sanitary Facilities. This pipe purchase was combined with some of the other required fittings.

Pro User P900
Then I needed a stand alone power source that would be able to run the pump for a minimum of half an hour. A car emergency jump start power pack ProUser P900 which has an internal 6FM17 (12v17ah/20hr) lead acid battery was available.

The first real test of the lashed together system involved pumping canal water through the system and then back into the canal. I have the feeling that this pump would shift just about anything. The throughput was very good. I thought it was more than the 300 gallons an hour that the pump is rated at. The head was tested up to six feet and worked without the need to prime the input side.  I even pumped out a small amount of water that was in a drip tray from under the stern tube.

Now it was time to make a more permanent arrangement. A piece of 25mm marine ply was cut to form a base. Which the pump is bolted down to for increased stability. Shaped so  it would also allow the suction side tube to be curled up when the item was to be stowed away. I decided to keep the power pack as a separate item for ease of charging. I fitted a couple of tags to the ends of the motor wires with an in line fuse so that the jump leads from the power pack could be attached.

The 40mm hose pipes used with the pump come in two different types. A flexible (non collapsible) suction pipe with a pump out connection fitting and a flexible roll flat hose on the output side. I also used clamp connectors rather than the standard quick release connectors. (you would not want a coupling to come loose considering what the pumps main purpose is)

Further tests done at home with my garden pond and a large water butt during a pond cleaning exercise, proved that even a couple of inches of soft mud will pass through the pump quite easily. The amount of suction is amazing, the input hose jumps about an inch with each stroke of the pump.

All we need to do now is a live test on the pump out tank later in the season.


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