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Tank Cleaner System.


Rick A
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I have put a garden sprinkler timer in the wet bay, connected to the main water supply and routed up to the tank sprayer connection. I set it to come on every third day and it runs for about 15 minute's. It’s kept my black tank fresh and clean and it keeps my waste pipes clean as well. Any improvement or remarks are welcome. 

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Edited by Rick A
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That is quite the plumbing you have.  Just be careful of crossflow contamination in to your freshwater.  You may want to insert a backflow preventer on the black line for just in case.  Just my 2 cents worth. 

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Rick,

I have not used my MH in a park for extended time, so I'm wondering, do you just open your dump valves and let things drain out to the sewer?  When I've been hooked up for days, I dump things every few days as needed... 

Ken

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As Barry said but I could not live with any kind of physical connection between black and fresh tank, however unlikely to contaminate and I don't leave black tank valve open either, any tank for that matter, to get whatever lives in the park sewer system into the coach. But we don't spend much time in FHU parks either.

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Consensus is to not open the tank valves and leave them open.  Let the "stuff" build up and go out in a big flush, whether parked or traveling.  Run the sprayer then dump the build up of grey. 

I also found out (on more than one occasion, evidently I didn't learn the first time) it's a bad idea to run the sprayer with the tank valve closed.  My hope was to fill the tank with a few gallons to slosh around while traveling.  The pressure builds until the quick-connect pops off covering anyone nearby with (fortunately) fresh water. 

- bob

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19 minutes ago, Bootlegger said:

That is quite the plumbing you have.  Just be careful of crossflow contamination in to your freshwater.  You may want to insert a backflow preventer on the black line for just in case.  Just my 2 cents worth. 

Good point. 

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20 minutes ago, Ivan K said:

As Barry said but I could not live with any kind of physical connection between black and fresh tank, however unlikely to contaminate and I don't leave black tank valve open either, any tank for that matter, to get whatever lives in the park sewer system into the coach. But we don't spend much time in FHU parks either.

It's called unintended consequences, happens a lot.  😊

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I thought this through and I suppose even the toilet water supply is a possible source of contamination for the holding tank. These microbes can feed back in any water supply line, and that’s  the reason for water chlorination regimes. When you stop to think about it does make you think. 
We only drink bottled spring water because we can’t stand thought of drinking recycled sewer water. 

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Rick, that's pretty smart. I'm going to think about possibly adding that in to mine. 

I'm full-timing and what I usually do is is wait for the tank to fill and then dump and flush 5x. That means fill the tank and dump it 5x. 15 minutes a shot. 75 minutes total flushing time. 

Black tank is spotless. Gage works too. But, that usually occurs once a month. Lately I changed it up to not flushing at all (just dumping) and then putting a Green Goblin in the tank. That also works very well. Obviously, saves a ton of water and 75 minutes. The Green Goblin eats regular Costco toilet paper with no issue. Side benefit, the park's septic system gets a healthy dose of bacteria every time.

I redesigned the flushing system on this years ago when I first got it. Moved the nozzle to the far side of the tank (opposite drain) and enlarged hole and aimed it directly at the drop zone under the toilet. As such, when you turn on the flushing system, it sprays high pressure water directly onto the drop zone and then the river carries it across the tank to the drain. 

Between the flusher and the Green Goblin, I don't think it's even possible to cake up the tank. If I flush it 5x (5 full fills and evacuations) the water is 100% clean. There is probably still slime in there, but I figure if I was going to park it, and not use it, what I would do is flush 5x and then fill with straight water right up the top of the drop zone so the tank is full 100%. Then put a Green Goblin in there and leave it. I suspect that's as clean as it can ever get. Better yet, drive it down the road like that. 

But I have zero smell problems. When I first got the unit, there was some smell. Very minor. But then the toilet packed it in and I bought a new one. That was an eye opener. The seal under the old toilet was a POS. The new toilet came with a new design foam seal that was 4x larger? Point being, There has *never* been an odor after that. The difference between a modern toilet and seal and the old one was remarkable. In the park I am in I see people flushing their black tank all the time. The only conclusion I can draw is they are getting odors causing me to wonder about their seal. 

Anyway, what I learned from that is that I can keep a full tank with zero issues and zero smell because the seal is good. Between that and my flushing system combined with the Green Goblin, it's cased. But I like your system and I'm going to think about adding it. 

 

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I must say that I haven’t shut my slide valve for a year since putting this unit in and I have a  tank and pipe camera which I push down into the tank to inspect. (yup, it’s has disposable sleeves that keep it clean). My tank is cleaner than its ever been and I’ve been full timing it for 2 years travelling continent wide. My only concern would be an issue raised here so I’m going to try to mitigate that concern. Good luck, I think my system alleviates a lot of the mundane tank chores. 

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The more I think about it, the more I like it. In theory, only the very bottom of your tank would ever be dirty, and only for duration of the window you set on the timer. This cause me to wonder about what the best setting would be on the timer. I just installed a 25 amp WiFi smart switch on my hot water heater last night and the granularity of the scheduling of it is amazing. (post on that upcoming)

This causes me to wonder if a person could modify your solution to one where you just say into your phone, "Hey Google, flush the black tank" and the sprayer comes on for 30 or 45 seconds....

I think your solution is very interesting. The price on those timers seems to be about $46 CAD so it's very reasonable and it's certainly out of the box thinking. Since you have verified the functionality I'm thinking of pursuing it, maybe just re-shaping it a bit. I'd say congrats, it looks like a valuable addition. 

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Thanks Bob. Just read the other posts about back flow etc, it’s worked for me for about 18 months. I’m looking into an inline  chlorine pellet holder to prevent issues. 

Edited by Rick A
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It's a brilliant idea. I just ordered up a timer (different one but does the same thing). 

In my case, I have a dual spigot at the pedestal, one hose for fresh and one hose for flush. Because I redesigned the flushing system I know how the pipes are routed all the way over to the passenger side at the top of the tank where I installed the revamped spray nozzle. 

Because the tank will never be full, in fact, only the very bottom 1% of the tank will have anything in it, there really is no chance for backflow. Also, I am quite certain there is a one way check valve in the flushing system to prevent just such an occurrence. 

I think you just invented the self-flushing black tank and I thank you for that! As mentioned, I used to spend 5 tanks of water and 75 minutes flushing to get the tank spotless. On top of that, about $50 a year on Green Goblins. 

That $50 will no longer need to be spent and offsets the price of the timer in one year while automating the flush. Better than that, your system means that only the bottom 1% of the tank ever gets dirty. This means ~ 99% of the tank remains clean - and that includes the sensors...

What I will do is clean the tank 100% with the last 5 flushes I will ever do, and then fill it to the top with fresh water, throw in the green goblins to eat the remaining slime, and, once done, empty it out and install the new system. The bottom 1% of the tank can be addressed by, I think, a 5 minute flush on the timer. But I can adjust the timer in 1 minute increments so it can be tailored for any situation (high park pressure, low park pressure etc). 

Well done! You just automated 75 minutes of my life, usually twice a month, basically at no cost, and saved a TON of water. Now if I could just come up with a reliable way to auto-fill the fresh water tank I would never have to go into the wet bay at all....... !!!

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Edited by Bob Jones
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Well, I got mine done 😃

It works like a top! The valve also fails closed so if the batteries die it's no issue. I also noted that the valve I used is NOT a restriction. It takes the same amount of time to fill the black tank as it does without it. I couldn't be happier and the neighbors all think I'm a genius !! 

Only issue I can think of is with both black and grey valves open you could, in theory, get smell coming back up the sink drains. Mind you, if your water traps have water in them, I can't see it being an issue. I'm not worried, let's put it that way.

Here's a pic of the wetbay. In the bottom left you can see my EM field generator that kills the limescale buildup that tends to happen if you have hard water. Soft skin makes good kin 🤣 No water softener needed.

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Edited by Bob Jones
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1 hour ago, Bob Jones said:

Only issue I can think of is with both black and grey valves open you could, in theory, get smell coming back up the sink drains.

Bob, this is actually sized & intended for a sink drain.  However, it could probably work for your tanks as well or maybe it can be found in a larger size.

A silicone valve inside stops odors, sewer flies & etc.

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Thank you Ray, that is an excellent solution if it becomes problematic. I'm living in the unit full time so my guess is that it's not going to be an issue. Its very good that you posted it up in this thread though because if it does become an issue the information is right there. 

Sure loving this auto-flushing solution. In the park I am it take 16 minutes to get the black tank filled with flush water up to the pipe under the toilet. In the past I set a timer on my phone and would have to run outside to shut the water off knowing if I let it go longer it could come out the roof!

Because I'm planning on leaving the valve open and having the flush run for 5 minutes every 3rd day I wanted to flush the black tank until it was clear. I just entered 16 minutes into the timer and walked away. I did this 4 times, and each time I checked with a flashlight down the toilet. Perfect level every time. 

It's now on the timer and I will check it in two days but I have to say, this has been one of the best mods I've done yet !

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Nice job Bob, who figure that out? The guys a genius! I sent a plan to Camco to see if they will bite! 

Edited by Rick A
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He sure is (a genius) !! 😃

It's absolutely awesome, thank you so much for posting about it. The cost of the timer was $40 CAD and I spent about $20 CAD on nice hose and fittings. It works so well, right off the bat, and it's now programmed for 5 minutes every 3 days at 2 PM. I have a clear elbow outside so I will watch it during that time and see if I need to adjust how long it runs. I really doubt it. But wow, what a positive addition. 

The park I am in is on well water. It's a HUGE park with something like 250 units or so with a lot more on the way. The water is typically good. But I always feel guilty about how much I use during a flushing session. I think you just cased that so it's going to be better for everyone. Should I find something new once I'm using it I'll post back with updates. Perhaps even 5 minutes is too long? We shall see and adjust as necessary !!

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Now that's a big trip 😃Mind you, in some ways, a person doesn't really need to leave the island 😇

I wanted to get out to Jordon River a while back but it seems they don't have a phone and are usually full. I'm actually thinking of doing a run, soon, out to Port Hardy in an effort to burn off fuel and get the unit on the road. The fuel that's in it has been in there for some time and it would be nice to replenish it and test everything out. 

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Crappy news. It seems the park does not have enough stable water pressure (now at 50 PSI) to move the paper off the bottom of the tank. It has to float it loose first and that means the black tank valve has to be closed. Still worth it though as it makes flushing much easier being that it's on a timer. 

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  • 1 month later...

Here is a way to integrate a water valve (in this case a 3 way valve like for winterizing or to bypass hot water heater, etc) with a wireless connection to an automation system, that can be wirelessly controlled via a webbrowser (like the iPad in the video).

A 2 way valve can be used for tank fill, tank flush, control water line to front bumper area, etc.

Ideally, the water valve (~$30) would also support manual open / close (like via a knob on the top).  These exist, but I was too impatient to find a cheap one.  In a jamb, the motor can be removed by untwisting it's lock nut.

Note this particular Tasmota relay board (~$20) supports 4 relays.  This particular valve has an internal switch that shuts off it's motor once it gets to it's fully open / closed positions so you don't have to worry about it being engaged and sucking up battery.  Because it's WiFi, you don't need to run control wires.  Just find some power and ground wires to tap into (assuming it can support the low amperage the board / valve(s) require).

What's not displayed is the automation controller.  This particular one is a RaspberryPi4 / 4gig device running our automation software.  The automation software has a built in webserver that the iPad is displaying.

Certainly the automation system can then add rules if when to open, and for how long (or until a tank sensor says empty) etc.  The Status of the Valve is easily added as well (ie: "Fresh Tank Filling")

Heck, you could replace the current Flush port with a Jetter hose connected to a pressure washer....and automatically turn the power washer on (another smart relay) and the water supply to it (valve) each time the tank is flushed (by electric waste gate valves under same relay control).  Then the tank will be spanky clean all the time and no need for chemicals.  And the tank level sensors will always work accurately.

And the user interface would be part of a much larger interface that controls "everything".

This can be locked down with "https:" and "VPN" and other protections to minimize the risk of hacking the system.  And certainly is more reliable for addressing the issue with the unsecure (and unreliable) 433 RF remote control.  Note that this board also supports the 433mhz RF, but it's not being used here as it's just not needed anymore.

This all can work with the Sonoff relays once "flashed" with Tasmota firmware.

Opens the door for tons of cool projects.

 

Click to view Water Valve control

Edited by DavidL
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