Your leaking thatched hut during the restoration of a pre-Enlightenment state.


Hello, my name is Judas Gutenberg and this is my blaag (pronounced as you would the vomit noise "hyroop-bleuach").


decay & ruin
Biosphere II
dead malls
Irving housing

got that wrong

appropriate tech
Arduino μcontrollers
Backwoods Home
Fractal antenna

fun social media stuff

(nobody does!)

Like my brownhouse:
   odorless brownhouse
Sunday, November 15 2009
Though I've been using the brownhouse since the 3rd of November, it's easy to continue tinkering with it. I can quickly remove the shit can (a 32 gallon trashcan), rendering the brownhouse as unobjectionable throughout as any outbuilding. The procedure is as follows: I pop open the hatch on the east side of the "basement," disconnect the air supply hose from the top of the can's air supply intake, slide the can out, set it some distance away on a flat surface, and snap on the lid. You'd never know two weeks' worth of human excrement is only a dozen feet away! Indeed, in the great outdoors, even an open bucket brimming with fresh shit has surprisingly little odor (though admittedly this test has only been run on the output of someone who is substantially vegan in his dietary habits).
Today I implemented a powered ventilation system in the brownhouse, making use of the outlet I'd installed in its basement. For safety reasons (I was using a cheap normally-on pushbutton momentary switch of uncertain amperage rating), I decided to use a 12 volt fan. This meant I had to wire in a power supply. I chose an old switching supply that used to power an external computer hard drive. Unlike linear power supplies, switching power supplies tend to be efficient, only using a little more power than the devices they power.
Some outhouse ventilation designs call for a fan to run continuously, or at least when the sun is out and can power the solar cell that supplies it. For my brownhouse, normal passive stack ventilation has proved sufficient to keep odors from leaking from the basement up to the cabin, and the only odor issues have been the ones we're all familiar with when pushing rope in a conventional bathroom. Such odors might well have more to do with the incidental passing of gas than they do with the sudden atmospheric exposure of feces. In a normal bathroom, nothing much can be done about these odors, since any fan system is likely to be located far from their source. So many people choose to solve this embarrassing problem by masking it (as opposed to ventilating it away). We're all familiar with the pack of matches that serves no other purpose. (This practice was unknown in my family, though when I became aware of the problem, my method for dealing with it was to go around the bathroom squeezing and unsqueezing a shampoo bottle in hopes of reflavoring the air with that scent.)
Since the brownhouse only needs a working fan when it is in use, I'd decided to control the fan using a momentary switch that turned on whenever the outer lid was raised (remember, in the brownhouse, there is an additional lid over the usual pair of toilet seats to better seal them away from the air of the cabin). When I installed this switch today, I did so on the underside of the shit bench, right above the shit can. The button is just below a blunted copper nail that hangs through a small hole. The nail's broad head is up in the cabin and when the outer lid is raised, the head is pushed by the button's spring about a sixteen of an inch above the the surface of the bench, and the power to the fan is on. When the outer lid is closed, the nail is pressed down, and the button is depressed and thus off, and so is the fan.
The first fan I tried in this setup proved too noisy, and it was also a bit small. But then I found a massive four and a half inch 12 volt fan, which I installed complete with rubber washers to keep its vibrational noise from being conducted into the structure.
The airflow from this fan couldn't have been huge, but it made a huge difference when I later managed to muster a test case for it to handle. This marked the first time I ever crapped in a bathroom and smelled nothing at all. I don't know how I will ever be able to go back to crapping in a nasty conventional bathroom again.

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