The wires were wired, the hoses were plumbed, and the salt tank was making saltwater. The only thing left to do now was to push the button and see if it worked.
Installing the Electroscan has ended up being quite the project. Not so much with putting it all together; that’s pretty much plug-and-play right out of the box. The challenge was more of where to locate it and it’s peripheral equipment, minimize the loss of valuable locker space, and still maintain access for service and/or repairs if needed. Routing the overboard discharge hose was also a hoot & a holler when it came to getting at the seacock behind the port side settee. I’m not sure how the Tayana factory workers hooked up that hose when the boat was being built, but I ended up having to cut a new “hatch” in the seat back just so I could slide the hose onto the barb.
In a previous post I used a picture of the inlet and outlet connected to the unit with true-union ball valves. I discovered during installation that one of the valves was shipped without an o-ring, and finding a replacement online was next to impossible. Being the kind of guy who likes to carry a decent supply of spares when it comes to parts with a finite lifespan, I returned the valves and went with standard PVC unions to simplify the removal of the Electroscan unit should the need arise. These unions use o-rings readily available from McMaster-Carr.
Adding the vented loop to the discharge line also ate up valuable locker space, but it’s one of those necessary evils when it comes to preventing the ocean from siphoning into our boat and sinking it.
The key to making this treatment system work is saltwater, and as I mentioned in a previous post, we are currently floating in fresh. If Governor Jerry Brown gets his way with the Twin Tunnels project, his plan to suck up all our fresh Delta water and flush it down to his buddies in Southern California will ultimately bring all the saltwater we need right to our marina. Not wishing to stick around long enough to wait for the ocean to push it’s way up the Sacramento/San Joaquin river delta, I went ahead and installed the homemade salt injection tank as the final part of our project. Once we move downstream a bit, we can take it out and regain that usable storage behind the settee.
So with everything wired and plumbed came the moment of truth. A flip of the new 50 amp breaker and the information display panel came to life telling us the system was “ready to flush”. So flush we did. With our manual Lavac toilet we need pump 10-15 strokes after pushing the start button. The treatment cycle lasts about 2 minutes, the LCD display keeps us informed of the treatment amps and volts, and lets us know if there’s a fault during the process. At 12 volts DC each cycle draws about 37 amps from the battery bank, but that load is only pulling for 2 minutes. That’s an average of about 1.25 amp-hours per flush; less than a typical 18 watt incandescent light bulb (if people are even still using those).
We’ve ran about a dozen cycles so far. Despite all the headaches associated with installing our new onboard sewage treatment plant I’m already confident that our decision to make life living aboard a little more comfortable will pay dividends in the long run.