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Old 02-18-2019, 06:24 AM   #1
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Homemade blackwater tank cleaning device

After having spent some time doing research on the various blackwater tank cleaning devices on the market, I observed shortcomings with each device. So that led me to come up with something that I could build myself and therefore, have all of the functions that I'd like it to have. It's basically a piece of PVC with a 180 degree spray-pattern sprinkler head on one end with a ball valve shut-off and a quick-disconnect for my hose on the other end. The idea is simply to put it down the toilet until it touches the tank bottom, turn it on, and oscillate the movement for a minute. Then rotate the device and perform the same movement for another minute. Voila. Clean (as one can get it) tank. Thoughts? You won't hurt my feelings.
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Old 02-18-2019, 06:27 AM   #2
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One more thing. Storing it. I built a storage container out of a larger diameter piece of pvc with a cap on one end and a screw cap on the other. Once I'm finished using it and rinsing it, it slides in to the storage container and a screw cap keeps it contained and away from anything else in the storage compartment.
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Old 02-18-2019, 06:36 AM   #3
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Looks good but where do you get water from, drag a hose inside ???
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Old 02-18-2019, 06:55 AM   #4
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Plan on using it for much longer than a minute. It takes about 5 minutes with a built in tank rinser to get most of the tank clean. It works best if you fill the tank with water and let it set overnight before rinsing as well.
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Old 02-18-2019, 06:56 AM   #5
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Looks good but where do you get water from, drag a hose inside ???
That is correct.
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Old 02-18-2019, 06:57 AM   #6
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Plan on using it for much longer than a minute. It takes about 5 minutes with a built in tank rinser to get most of the tank clean. It works best if you fill the tank with water and let it set overnight before rinsing as well.
Good advice. Exactly what I'm hunting for, in fact.
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Old 02-18-2019, 07:19 AM   #7
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Always amazes me what people come up with and I have everything right at home and never thought of it.
Good job!
Since you asked,
does that head give enough pressure to really clean?
I was thinking this type of head that has full water pressure,
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Old 02-18-2019, 07:45 AM   #8
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I tend to think like above that you won’t get enough pressure out of the Rainbird head to do what you want. It it were me, I’d have just capped off the end of the PVC pipe and drilled four small holes at 90 degrees in the PVC pipe just above the cap. I think you’d get more pressure and more water to do a better job.
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Old 02-18-2019, 07:51 AM   #9
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I tend to think like above that you won’t get enough pressure out of the Rainbird head to do what you want. It it were me, I’d have just capped off the end of the PVC pipe and drilled four small holes at 90 degrees in the PVC pipe just above the cap. I think you’d get more pressure and more water to do a better job.
I actually thought about doing exactly that. However, the holes would have concentrated the water flow to a very specific spot. You'd be doing a great deal of turning and churning the device without actually ever touching 100% of the surfaces. Sure, it'd likely do a pretty good job, but you'd never know for sure if you got everything. And although I see your point about the pressure and its ability to properly clean, it should be sufficient given things that stick to the walls were not forced into place. They simply got there from floating and drying in place. A good soaking should be able to free them. That's my thought process, anyhow.
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Old 02-18-2019, 07:55 AM   #10
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Always amazes me what people come up with and I have everything right at home and never thought of it.
Good job!
Since you asked,
does that head give enough pressure to really clean?
I was thinking this type of head that has full water pressure,
This appears to be a great idea, assuming that the four heads "spray" rather than "stream". If they're streaming I believe that although they'd provide better pressure that way, it wouldn't be very efficient and distributing the water adequately.
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Old 02-18-2019, 07:58 AM   #11
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I actually thought about doing exactly that. However, the holes would have concentrated the water flow to a very specific spot. You'd be doing a great deal of turning and churning the device without actually ever touching 100% of the surfaces. Sure, it'd likely do a pretty good job, but you'd never know for sure if you got everything. And although I see your point about the pressure and its ability to properly clean, it should be sufficient given things that stick to the walls were not forced into place. They simply got there from floating and drying in place. A good soaking should be able to free them. That's my thought process, anyhow.
You may be right that it will do an adequate job. Besides how good of a job does it really need to do? Having used my built in rinser for a couple of years now, Iím of the opinion that regardless of flushing/dumping technique, or cleaning regiment, you will never get a poop tank totally clean anyway, especially if the DW sends butt wipes down the toilet. As long as the sensors work, and thereís no pyramid of poo, life is good.
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Old 02-18-2019, 08:12 AM   #12
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I think rinsing the tank is a good idea. Keeping lots of water in it before dumping is even better. The OP's wand looks like it would do the job.

Having said that, I have waited in long dump lines for folks to spend 20-30 minutes rinsing their black tanks while many of us sit there for our turn. It's a black tank, not a fresh water tank that you will consume! Dump and move on.

I suspect that's the reason for many of them shortening their water hose.

My 2 cents.
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Old 02-18-2019, 08:13 AM   #13
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You may be right that it will do an adequate job. Besides how good of a job does it really need to do? Having used my built in rinser for a couple of years now, Iím of the opinion that regardless of flushing/dumping technique, or cleaning regiment, you will never get a poop tank totally clean anyway, especially if the DW sends butt wipes down the toilet. As long as the sensors work, and thereís no pyramid of poo, life is good.
Time will tell, brother. I guess we'll find out! I do appreciate the input, though. Seriously.
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Old 02-18-2019, 08:18 AM   #14
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I have a clear elbow on my dump valve that lets me see what's coming out. One thing I noticed is that "solids" like baby wipes and wads of TP will stop the flow of water for a few seconds as they get to the edge of the tank exit. After a few seconds the water builds up enough pressure to push them past and they come whooshing past.

Once, I had a leaky dump valve due to one of these wads getting pushed in with the blade valve and the next time I took off the cap I had a nasty surprise. After that I got a twist on valve for the end of the drain pipe and that now allows me to close that valve, fill the tank a while and then flush again which floated whatever was stuck in the first valve so it seals again and provides a little extra insurance. I now only close the first valve AFTER several flush and drain cycles so I am sure nothing is left to get stuck.

Water is your best friend in tank maintenance. Trying to conserve water will cause issues so start with 25% of tank volume added before any use to keep things wet and moving. Before dumping if your tank is only half full, fill the other half with water if possible to get a better flush.

I use my tank rinser for several minutes after I dump and occasionally something will come out after 3 or 4 minutes of clear water. It takes a long time to get all of it and really the only time that it's important to get it all is before winterizing. The rest of the year it has several inches of water in it at all times, even when in storage.
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