Test Setup Simulates Onboard Sewage System

To create a real-world test, we assembled a series of miniature holding tanks containing sanitary waste generously supplied by a 20-pound, 5-foot pet iguana named Ziggy. This was supplemented with other sanitary waste as needed. Seawater flush was used because saltwater is known to contribute to odor.

Boosting Solar Panel Output

Blue Sky regulator boosts output by 30 percent.

Blue Seas New Smart Charger

Keeping batteries fully charged is a science that cruisers have to master sooner or later. If todays high-capacity AGM batteries arent managed properly, valuable amp hours in can permanently trickle away through sulfation, as we saw in our test of AGM batteries (See Fighting Sulfation in AGMs, PS May 2015). Good battery management means complete re-charging that matches the charging profile of your battery, and this means an accurate sensing of battery voltage. As we saw in our recent report on battery monitors (see Best Battery Monitor Test Update, PS October 2017) a good monitor will also keep track of temperature, as this can be a limiting factor in charge acceptance rate.

Maintaining Your Boat’s Electrical System

The storage battery’s chemical reaction is reversible, which means that it can be recharged, and will be continuously, as long as the engine is running and the alternator or generator is functioning properly. Normally, we take these things for granted, and are surprised when they don’t work-a testament to the reliability of the devices.

Connections, Mounts, and Switches

Most test pumps featured “quick connect” input and output ports. These are easier than the threaded style to use, but we’ve seen instances where a bad design caused them to fail easily. Be sure to closely examine pump connections when choosing a pump. Quick-connect fittings should be robust and operate smoothly.

Holding Tank Vent Fittings

As I plumb the archives for holding tank replacement info, I find excellent related articles (PS, February 2012, March 2012, and April 2012); all remind me to build in good ventilation. However, I am unable to find guidance on the merits of ventilation fittings. These stand at the interface of tank gasses and other contents trying to get out, and the marine environment trying to get in. Issues such as shape, location, mounting, and materials concern me. Can you bring some fresh air to vent fitting merits?

Marine Sanitation: Manual Heads – Raritan PH II A Best Buy

The bigger the joker valve, the less chance of clogging.

DC Electrical Distribution Panels: Blue Sea Systems on Top

Blue Sea Systems' 8023, with its excellent warranty, intuitive labeling, and bright night lighting, is our choice for an accessory DC panel. Newmar's panels are easy to work with, but need better lighting.

Long-term Test Gear Updates

Many of Practical Sailors tests move from the lab (workshop/garage/driveway) to our fleet of test boats, where we can evaluate the top products in real-world conditions over the long haul. These long-term tests can last from two to 10 years, and we try to offer occasional updates on their status, when its warranted.

Avoid Plugging with Proper Vent Installation

The effectiveness of activated carbon comes both from surface activity (a result of activation by partial combustion of coal or woody products) and the vast pore structure formed during this partial combustion. Anything that clogs the pores will dramatically reduce carbon life, potentially ruining it within minutes.

Shaping the Cruising Spinnaker

In designing an asymmetrical cruising spinnaker, most sailmakers begin with the boats fore-triangle rig dimensions (I and J), and combine those with information about the intended use of the sail (tight reaching, reaching, or running) and information regarding where the sail will be used.