Toilets - Vacuum or Cassette?

Submitted: Monday, Sep 25, 2006 at 23:53
ThreadID: 122945 Views:5370 Replies:9 FollowUps:8
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1. How is each system emptied?
2. How messy is the emptying procedure?
3. What maintenance is required?
4. Which is the cheapest to run (not incl purchase price)?

Thanks in advance for any information provided
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Reply By: Noosa Fox - Wednesday, Sep 27, 2006 at 05:53

Wednesday, Sep 27, 2006 at 05:53
We have the standard cassette type and it is over 5 years old. All that is required to empty is to pull it out and take it to a dump point, open the cap and pour.

Maintenance. well most people use a small amount of chemical in cassette and in flush area. This is supposed to break down the solids. We were using these chemicals until our current trip and when I found a problem of not being allowed to empty in a lot of septic systems because of chemicals, I stopped usinging chemicals

For the past 6 months no chemicals have been used and because we use it all the time, I have to empty it either every day or second day and the is NO SMELL from the cassette until you pour it down the loo and then it can be a bit on the nose,

Also this type is silent, where the vaccum type goes into a similar remote cassette that has to be emptied, but each time it is used a small amount of water has to go in the bowl and there is a power draw and noise when it is flushed, much like in an aircraft.

If I was is a position of having to decide on what type, I would stay with the cassette type that we have.
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Follow Up By: Mobi Condo - Wednesday, Sep 27, 2006 at 18:12

Wednesday, Sep 27, 2006 at 18:12
NO smell eh! Hmm! Worth a thought or two!
Getting to the nitty gritty here though - We have always been impressed that the chemical break down turned it all to a really liquid consistency which easily got catered for in a decent hole to be covered over and add nutrients to the soil.
What is the consistency like with No chemicals - you know "lumps", paper remains etc.
Are they as easily disposed of in a neat deep hole?

This all reminds me of my very early years and the outside loo with 5 gallon drum under the seat. (Mind you we were "UpMarket" in Kensington Gardens with a BRICK out side loo) The drum was emptied as required in the suitably placed trench "down the back" and sytematically back filled. I reckon our whole block was "liquid Manured" in total about 50 times over with the progressive trenching and back filling over the years!

Oh! How I digress! Would seriously like to know about the no chem bit!
Cheers - Ian & Sally
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Reply By: klink - Wednesday, Sep 27, 2006 at 07:47

Wednesday, Sep 27, 2006 at 07:47
When you pour the contents down the loo can you empty the contents of the cassette in one "pour" or do you have flush multiple times to stop the bowl over flowing? (excuse my ignorance on these matters)

What other dump points beside toilets are available?
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Reply By: Luvntravln - Wednesday, Sep 27, 2006 at 20:23

Wednesday, Sep 27, 2006 at 20:23
'Fraid I can't go with the idea of "no chemicals" or any other supplemental product.

Just found a new product: Bio Magic.

It is not a chemical; it is a bacterial type product. 5L = $77; same as AquaKem; however, you only use 50ml/20l.

Because it is not a chemical, it can be dumped into septic systems!!

Has anyone used it? The caravan repair facility at Karratha has used it extensively and "would not go back to chemicals". Apparently, there are a lot of additional uses for BioMagic - see the web site.

We are still undecided whether to go with the Thetford or the VacuFlush for our next van.


AnswerID: 569400

Follow Up By: Fosssil - Wednesday, Sep 27, 2006 at 21:00

Wednesday, Sep 27, 2006 at 21:00
Hi Jay,
I remember Anthony did a test on Bio-magic a while back and was not over impressed...see this link below... apparently there are quite a few users on the caravanners forum, according to another post by Anthony

Site Link
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Follow Up By: TroopyTracker - Thursday, Sep 28, 2006 at 03:27

Thursday, Sep 28, 2006 at 03:27
We've been using Bio Magic for a couple of years now and I'm not totally convinced. Having said that I have as little to do with the toilet as possible ;-)

I would like to try the SOG chemical free system personally, just been to lazy to do something about it.

If you ask on the msn caravan forum's you will get alot more replies from users of Bio Magic. Jodie uses it around the place for cleaning and deodorising the van also.

Think we paid $99 for last 5litre bottle?? Where are they selling it for $77?? We've found you need to use more than they say also, have heard others say the same-kills the economy side of it.

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Follow Up By: Burt & Mary - Friday, Sep 29, 2006 at 00:21

Friday, Sep 29, 2006 at 00:21
Biomagic is terrible and waste of money
Changed to vacuum toilet and would never go back to any other system
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Reply By: Luvntravln - Wednesday, Sep 27, 2006 at 22:33

Wednesday, Sep 27, 2006 at 22:33
Thanks for the heads-up; read Anthony's and Graham's posts.

Both are from 2003; wonder if there has been an improvement?

Anyone using Bio-Magic now?

AnswerID: 569401

Reply By: hendo1944 - Thursday, Sep 28, 2006 at 01:13

Thursday, Sep 28, 2006 at 01:13
having used both the cassette type and the Vacu flush, next time around ( we live in hope) we would possibly go back to the cassette type in conjunction with the fan system (SOG) marketed by Aussie Traveller - information is on their website, I have done a fair amount of research recently and have not found any negative comment from current users.
regards Grant
AnswerID: 569402

Reply By: Bushtracker - Thursday, Sep 28, 2006 at 02:01

Thursday, Sep 28, 2006 at 02:01
Hello Klink,
You might want to read the TIPS on the VacuFlush on the Owners Forum... A lot depends on your Layout, and that would be a bigger factor in chosing one or the other.
Some Layouts will not accept the VacuFlush, Some layouts want the Loo up against a wall back to the outside and that version of the Thetford has its own problems....

Now that I have had both, while the VacuFlush is better with the two Mods I have added in the final TIP on the Owners Forum, while the odour control is better, the Porcelain Bowl is far better, the differences between the two is probably far less than the priorities of the Layout you end up with. It is a bit of a toss up, and in the end the requirements of your Layout may take precedence. When you are in the system, you will have about four months to labour over the decision, finalize your layout first, and it will probably be determined by that at least half the time, with one of the two ruled out.

The cassette emptying routine is about the same between the two. When you are in the System Read the three TIPS about the discovery process of living with the VacuFlush, pros and cons, and my Mods and final report; in three TIPs over a year on the Owners Forum.. That and your layout, and the choice will probably be obvious. I would not stress over it now, as your layout could determine it for you.

As to chemicals, the ones in the tank are primarily a preservative. Yes better to deal with chemicals in, poured down a long drop or dug hole in the Bush. The Preservatives are a BIG NO NO for Septic Systems.... Not something you want to put down in your Septic, as it will slow down the normal biological breakdown. As to liquification, the motion does that, and the surfactant you put in the top tank is really like a dish soap to break things down a bit. Twenty years ago on Yachts we had a biodegradable paper that went to total liquification immediately. But I have not seen it. Most road motion seems to do it for you now.. No worries.

Regards, Ranger.
"The Last Stand In Open Country"

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Follow Up By: Luvntravln - Friday, Sep 29, 2006 at 20:53

Friday, Sep 29, 2006 at 20:53
Steve, where are all of the tips regarding the VacuFlush including your personal modifications?

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Follow Up By: Bushtracker - Friday, Sep 29, 2006 at 21:00

Friday, Sep 29, 2006 at 21:00
Hello Jay, Welcome back, stuck into the BOG again!!
Look up TIP # 108 on Owners Forum.... Regards, Ranger

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Reply By: Noosa Fox - Thursday, Sep 28, 2006 at 04:25

Thursday, Sep 28, 2006 at 04:25
As Steve has said above, it matters little whether chemicals are used or not in the break down process. The sloshing around while the van is in motion reduces it all to a brownish liquid.

Over the years I have found that the only smells in the toilet area are caused by solids not being properly cleaned off the bowl, especially the vertical section just before the container. If this is cleaned then all the smell is contained within the container and cannot cause a problem until it is being emptied.

I have my doubts about how affective the cassette fan that Hendo mentioned would be, because small bits of paper and muck often get up into the cap that you remove to empty it, so it should also be able to get to the fan area. Reminds me of the saying "When the s**t hits the fan".
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Follow Up By: TroopyTracker - Saturday, Sep 30, 2006 at 03:57

Saturday, Sep 30, 2006 at 03:57
I've spoken to afew SOG system owners aswell as Aussie Traveller about the You know what hitting the fan and they all say "hasn't been an issue". Note, they didn't say "can't happen" so who knows. I'm happy to have a try though, as like yourself often empty cassete at sensitive sites.

Next time we pull up for afew months I may actually get myself motivated and install the SOG. Problem is I hardly use the toilet in the van (prefer the local tree) and have not emptied it yet so doesn't bother me too much either way!

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Reply By: Burt & Mary - Friday, Sep 29, 2006 at 00:25

Friday, Sep 29, 2006 at 00:25
changed over to the Dometic vacuum toilet and would never consider anything else
2. genuine liquid that can be emptied easily
3. none
4. vacuum nothing to buy
porcelian bowl cleans properly
AnswerID: 569405

Reply By: Luvntravln - Saturday, Sep 30, 2006 at 09:54

Saturday, Sep 30, 2006 at 09:54

How do I find Tip 108?

AnswerID: 569406

Follow Up By: Fosssil - Saturday, Sep 30, 2006 at 18:00

Saturday, Sep 30, 2006 at 18:00
Hi Jay....just type in 108 on the owners forum and it will bring up tip 106 which is what Steve originally called it.

All of Steves hard earned info and tips that concern owners are placed on the owners forum.

So just tick body, topic, and both, (active and archive) and use either 108 or 106 as search criteria....don't set any dates.

When my BTvan is built I will be having a Vacuflush due to the layout...and also it seems to be the one most compatible with my thoughts etc..

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