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Discussion Starter · #21 ·
What sort of filtration are you planning on for the recirc shower? Seems like a combo of the 5 micron 10" carbon cartridge filter plus a UV light would do the trick but we'll see. And are you going to be running the filtered water back through your hot water heater or how do you plan to keep it warm? I have a surecal calorifier (aka hot water heater that uses engine coolant to heat the hot water) so I'm thinking of running the shower water through a multi-plate heat exchanger that's also hooked into the calorifier's coolant loop to warm the water but the devil's in the details as I'd like to be able to just maintain a certain shower water temp so I'd have to have a couple of temp sensors and some 'smarts' to control the coolant pump to try to maintain that temp. The other option is to just have a 1 or 2 gallon hot water heater dedicated to the shower and just have it set to maintain the temp you want...
Still thinking about this one 馃ぃ
Can't find my pencil-and-paper sketch right now - which is how I do anything unless I'm going full computer. So I'll try the written version. 馃槒

I looked at a LOT of designs - from really complex, fully automatic to fully manual with one mixer for fresh and another for recirc. Even dug into a few of the Euro house designs - as well as some very simple RV setups. I decided to keep it simple-ish. Ideally, it will just work as a non-recirc - which is all we had in the past, so that seems good.

We've got 18 gallons of fresh water inside the rig and another 20 gallons under the rig. And a 4-gallon Bosch water heater. Primary feed to the shower is straight from the internal fresh hot and cold - already plumbed and ready for me to get working. With the Bosch at ~140F, should be a 50/50 or less - so an 8-gallon shower is possible for starters. But hoping to get better with recirc.

Two "drain" systems:
1. drains down to the gray-water tank - both from the drain and from an over-flow;
2. pumps the drain water through filters then up to a mixer then to the shower head.

Two "supply" systems:
1. standard hot and cold mixer - feed side feeds into second mixer;
2. second mixer combines fresh hot/cold with recirculated, filtered.

Plan is to only use recirc to lengthen one shower - not to scrub the water for multiple showers. So hoping to do it with a minimum of filters. Currently have one small basic filter (can't recall size) then a large 100-micron easy-clean filter then going to a high-flow 0.5-micron disposable filter. Hoping that will be enough to keep one shower going for a while by just adding some hot water now and then. Might add another 50-micron or smaller easy-clean if we clog the big one too fast.

Current plan is just to use the bottom of the shower basin (with a wood grate over it) as the recirculated water supply. I haven't tested this yet, though. If that's not enough, then I'll need to convert the gray-water tank into a recirc storage tank and things get more complicated - especially for the removable bit. Hoping the current plan will work.

So a shower would involve switching the drain valve to recirc, then starting with standard hot/cold mixer until there's enough water in the basin, then engaging the recirc pump. Then using the second mixer to determine how much water from recirc and how much from fresh. I'm thinking if I can get a 10-minute shower with only 3-4 gallons of water, that'd be fantastic.

It's partially assembled... but zero testing yet. I keep rethinking things and moving back to other projects. It'll progress eventually... 馃
 

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Can't find my pencil-and-paper sketch right now - which is how I do anything unless I'm going full computer. So I'll try the written version. 馃槒
Yeah, pencil and paper is definitely fastest for brainstorming - My desk gets messy fast though and so I've found the website diagrams.net to be an easy way to sketch quick line or process diagrams (and it was recommended by somebody on here of course 馃ぃ ) I've found it really helpful for just outlining my plumbing and electrical systems anyway.

Two "supply" systems:
1. standard hot and cold mixer - feed side feeds into second mixer;
2. second mixer combines fresh hot/cold with recirculated, filtered.
I like your simple approach to the shower - just start with a smaller amount and slowly add hot water to keep it warm for the duration.
I'm trying to design around a 4-person camper so we're unfortunately going to be sharing shower water (ugh) So a good filter and UV light is a must here so we're not getting pinkeye or something (again, UGH). But with the tight spaces and limited water it seems like a must if we want to take showers in the shoulder seasons where the outdoor shower isn't really a good option.
I'm planning to use the same reservoir system as you - a wood grate over a deeper shower pan.

PS glad you're undertaking a build thread! I couldn't wrap my head around most of these projects if it weren't for the inspiration & ideas of you and others before me!
 

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I also don't like the idea of holding the water over from showers for a later use regardless of filtration.

Maybe a crazy idea, but with "single use water" is recirculation possible without filtration? 馃檮 Hear me out. Is it much different (more gross) than taking a bath. Say a bath is 30 gal vs 3 gallons for the recirculating part of the shower. If you do an initial wash where you are able to remove 90% of the nasty stuff from your body with that water drained, then the recirculating water is no different then a bath. You can always do a final rinse with fresh water if desired.

Adding the complexity of a heat exchanger for the recirculating part of the shower seems like it would be worthwhile. Then shower could then be as long as you want to without having to mix back in more hot water might. I suspect the water might cool off rather quickly so a lot of fresh hot water may need to be added defeating a good deal of the water saving. Figuring out the heat loss might be worth some sort of a simulated test before you get too far down the line. With the heat exchanger, electricity is only resource need to extend the shower. Really long showers would be a good way to justify all that LiFPO4 you've got. 馃榿

I do like the idea of a portable unit and the use of the shower basin as the supply, maybe add some sort of sump in it for the pump if needed. You would want to have a way to empty the sump when done.
 

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Discussion Starter · #24 ·
Yeah, pencil and paper is definitely fastest for brainstorming - My desk gets messy fast though and so I've found the website diagrams.net to be an easy way to sketch quick line or process diagrams (and it was recommended by somebody on here of course 馃ぃ ) I've found it really helpful for just outlining my plumbing and electrical systems anyway.
I'll check out the diagrams.net thing! Thank you.

WRT the desk... you haven't been discussing this with my wife, have you? My messy desk is a "topic" for us. She never, ever says anything anymore. And I acknowledge it's some sort of mental issue / illness for me. :rolleyes:

I like your simple approach to the shower - just start with a smaller amount and slowly add hot water to keep it warm for the duration.
I'm trying to design around a 4-person camper so we're unfortunately going to be sharing shower water (ugh) So a good filter and UV light is a must here so we're not getting pinkeye or something (again, UGH). But with the tight spaces and limited water it seems like a must if we want to take showers in the shoulder seasons where the outdoor shower isn't really a good option.
I'm planning to use the same reservoir system as you - a wood grate over a deeper shower pan.

PS glad you're undertaking a build thread! I couldn't wrap my head around most of these projects if it weren't for the inspiration & ideas of you and others before me!
Using the exact same shower pan. It's pretty darn small; I'm banking on what small people we are. I hope we're both on the right track! 馃榿

I delayed a "build thread" for a long time. Just seems like everything has been done and I'm not adding much. But... sometimes it just comes out different, so probably best to contribute. My primary hobby / entertainment / focus is running (and racing) and it's each person in the pack's responsibility to "pull" for a while - we take turns, just like bikes do. I figure it's a bit like that; I gotta do my part.


I also don't like the idea of holding the water over from showers for a later use regardless of filtration.

Maybe a crazy idea, but with "single use water" is recirculation possible without filtration? 馃檮 Hear me out. Is it much different (more gross) than taking a bath. Say a bath is 30 gal vs 3 gallons for the recirculating part of the shower. If you do an initial wash where you are able to remove 90% of the nasty stuff from your body with that water drained, then the recirculating water is no different then a bath. You can always do a final rinse with fresh water if desired.

Adding the complexity of a heat exchanger for the recirculating part of the shower seems like it would be worthwhile. Then shower could then be as long as you want to without having to mix back in more hot water might. I suspect the water might cool off rather quickly so a lot of fresh hot water may need to be added defeating a good deal of the water saving. Figuring out the heat loss might be worth some sort of a simulated test before you get too far down the line. With the heat exchanger, electricity is only resource need to extend the shower. Really long showers would be a good way to justify all that LiFPO4 you've got. 馃榿

I do like the idea of a portable unit and the use of the shower basin as the supply, maybe add some sort of sump in it for the pump if needed. You would want to have a way to empty the sump when done.
@njvagabond, your thoughts on the filtration echo mine: my first consideration for recirculating was the Evershower unit, which clearly has no heater and must only have a small filter - if at all. I considered just buying that; but then decided maybe I could do a /little/ better than that - but without going all hog-wild (after seeing what is /really/ possible that some have done).

Last rig, we had the inline propane heater off the back of the van. It was hooked up to the secondary 20-gallon fresh tank. It worked fine. You had to turn it off as much as possible to save water, but it worked. Plenty warm enough so even cold days were okay - just windy days that were a no-go. So looking at this as an upgrade to that... keeps the bar lower.

There is already an outdoor shower off the back of the galley - photos to come shortly - and we got a pop-up-tent thing for that. So we're already good-to-go for a shower /outside/ the van. This one is definitely not "portable" but "removable;" it will either live in the van or in the storage on the side of the house.

I'm optimistic about how far 4 gallons of 140F water will go - especially considering that the Bosch will heat a full 4-gallons from ~70F to ~140F in 20 minutes or so. So I'm thinking there will be plenty of hot water. All theory at this point, though...
 

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I'll check out the diagrams.net thing! Thank you.
That is what I used for my electrical drawing. All things CAD seem to baffle this engineer, and I was able to learn it enough to make a drawing. There is something with connector links that I have not figured out that could be useful, but so far it seem to just get in my way sometimes but it was easy enough to work around it. Kinda-sorta like I would misuse Visio in my working days.
 

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I like this guy's setup as he's just using a heat exchanger paired with a thermostatic mixing valve to control temps so I think I will likely copy his design.
011 - Hour Shower 2.0 - The Heated Hour Shower! - YouTube
although I intend to stick to the 5 micron whole house filter + UV for my multi-person usage. The whole house filters won't be a whole lot more expensive than the 20-micron filter he's using over time.

I also don't like the idea of holding the water over from showers for a later use regardless of filtration.
Yeah, I think for us we'll all take showers and then dump it, but it will be shared

Maybe a crazy idea, but with "single use water" is recirculation possible without filtration? 馃檮 Hear me out.
Yup, I think it is; but only for a one-person use. with four people....yuk.
I could see just straight recirculating your water while washing and then switch on a filter loop for rinsing. BUT, I think if you want to incorporate UV you want it to always be filtered before it hits the expensive UV bulb.
At about the 19 minute mark of the video I linked above he recommends adding 1tsp of Epsom salt to the .5 gallon of water he's using to help the filter separate the soap from the water so that may be an idea to incorporate as well.
 

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Discussion Starter · #28 ·
I like this guy's setup as he's just using a heat exchanger paired with a thermostatic mixing valve to control temps so I think I will likely copy his design.
011 - Hour Shower 2.0 - The Heated Hour Shower! - YouTube
although I intend to stick to the 5 micron whole house filter + UV for my multi-person usage. The whole house filters won't be a whole lot more expensive than the 20-micron filter he's using over time.
...
Yup, I think it is; but only for a one-person use. with four people....yuk.
I could see just straight recirculating your water while washing and then switch on a filter loop for rinsing. BUT, I think if you want to incorporate UV you want it to always be filtered before it hits the expensive UV bulb.
At about the 19 minute mark of the video I linked above he recommends adding 1tsp of Epsom salt to the .5 gallon of water he's using to help the filter separate the soap from the water so that may be an idea to incorporate as well.
I was totally following that guy's setup. I even bought a couple more of those filters. Then realized I wasn't crazy about the way they'd plumb in to a small space relative to a "wall mount" setup. But, yeah... I totally considered doing that whole setup. Hoping I have plenty of hot water, so... 馃

I think I'd really lean that way - and take up more space and all that - if I were doing a 4-person setup and won't have water for days. If we're away from water for more than a day or two, it's only two people - and we've just gone stinky for years now. My wife still thinks it's over-kill to put in the shower. I keep saying, "it's for when us boys are riding boards or bikes all day and she /isn't/ there!"
 

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Hi
Awesome build. Thanks for sharing.
Questions;
Did you get the factory installed second alternator?
Did you add all the windows?
What is your total build weight?
 

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I don't plan to have a top/ceiling on it... but I think I need the walls to go pretty close to the ceiling - to keep water from getting ALL over the place. And I prefer that it not be a curtain or something like that. This goes in for a 2-person adventure; then it should seem "permanent" for that trip. It's still a work in progress... hard to say... 馃
The simple solution is to use a full flow nozzle instead of a spray nozzle. That about eliminates the overspray. I shower without a door or curtain. Get wet, soap and then rinse. I use 2 1/2 gallons of water for a shower. Heat the water electrically in a 16 quart Igloo cooler using a $50 Sous Vide kitchen water heater. Pump water out the cooler with a 12 volt pump. Takes 15 minutes to heat the water and 15 amp-hrs of battery capacity. The trick is to eliminate plumbing and hot/cold water mixing. To reduce power usage only heat the water to the shower temperature required.
 

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Discussion Starter · #32 ·
The simple solution is to use a full flow nozzle instead of a spray nozzle. That about eliminates the overspray. I shower without a door or curtain. Get wet, soap and then rinse. I use 2 1/2 gallons of water for a shower. Heat the water electrically in a 16 quart Igloo cooler using a $50 Sous Vide kitchen water heater. Pump water out the cooler with a 12 volt pump. Takes 15 minutes to heat the water and 15 amp-hrs of battery capacity. The trick is to eliminate plumbing and hot/cold water mixing. To reduce power usage only heat the water to the shower temperature required.
You're a dear, Mr. Orton. But that certainly doesn't even come close to achieving the objectives, does it?

I suppose since you've posted this as many times as I have posted my responses, I'll do it again. Not everyone wants your method of heating water in a bucket or taking a military shower. Some of us have power to spare - and thus hot water to spare. And some of us are trying to figure out how to take a longer shower. And a shower - not a hose-off. Some of us /have/ done the military shower and heating methods similar to yours... and are trying to figure out something different. C'mon, man! 馃樀
 

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Discussion Starter · #33 ·
Hi
Awesome build. Thanks for sharing.
Questions;
Did you get the factory installed second alternator?
Did you add all the windows?
What is your total build weight?
Thx, @JMBoise.

I need to figure out how to make that window-sticker thing readable.

Factory dual alternators (and dual batteries, FWIW).

Windows were ordered from Ford that way. It's a "Cargo with windows" order - only way I could get single rear wheels with all the windows; otherwise, I'd have ordered a Passenger rig. Would have cost less, too. 馃

Total weight is around 9,000 right now. We weighed at 9,500 when we had it loaded with gear and everything for a trip. Still handles fantastic. Gas mileage is 12-14mpg, though.
 

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What a treat. Beautiful work, and I'm only half way through the thread. Looking forward to reading the rest tomorrow. Thank you for taking the time to write it all.
 

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I really like the all around window set up. Vans are pretty narrow, so things can get claustrophobic quickly. Only issue for me might be no flare outs for sideways bed. Was told by manufacturer that sideways bed saves you 20" in back, which if you are going with a 148" wheelbase, not extended 148 could be an issue.
 

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Discussion Starter · #36 ·
What a treat. Beautiful work, and I'm only half way through the thread. Looking forward to reading the rest tomorrow. Thank you for taking the time to write it all.
Thanks, @eranrund. I've enjoyed perusing your thread as well! Sharing all the ideas makes cool stuff happen. 馃槃


I really like the all around window set up. Vans are pretty narrow, so things can get claustrophobic quickly. Only issue for me might be no flare outs for sideways bed. Was told by manufacturer that sideways bed saves you 20" in back, which if you are going with a 148" wheelbase, not extended 148 could be an issue.
Agreed on the windows stuff. Had a couple friends climb in the van last night and commented that it seems more spacious than some small RVs. An illusion, of course, but the windows and the offsets on walls / cabinets / windows help with that illusion, I think.

The width savings is an interesting one. We pondered this on the previous van as well. There's a hidden advantage to the N-S setup: the mattress sits into the rear door-frame by 8-9" (potentially 10" depending how the mattress rests against the rear pillars). A queen mattress is 60x80 (that's what we're running). So switching sideways is clearly 20". But it's actually only 10-12" in final use. Then there's the fact that you /can't/ get a queen mattress E-W - the max is about 75" without pop-outs. Add pop-outs and you can /maybe/ get the 80"? But sacrifice insulation options - not a /really/ big deal compared to windows, but it's a thing. Without pop-outs, you're down to a 5-7" difference. And now you either have to go with a Full mattress (54x75) or go to a custom-cut foam. I prefer an actual, comfortable mattress - not just "a really good RV setup." So... 馃し鈥嶁檧锔

At minimum, the savings with a queen mattress is 12".

Then there's the raise/lower bed thing: a bed going E-W pretty much has to be in the window insets - can't sit partially in the rear door, again. Meaning the up/down function is down to less than a foot. That's not so great for garage space. We moved a couch last night: put the bed on high and tons of room. So that alone pretty much seals it for us.

If we build one in the future, I'll re-consider a shorter rig. Maybe I'll change my mind on the N-S/E-W. But with the raise-lower thing, probably end up back on N-S. But it will certainly be a re-consider if we were in the shorter rig. 馃
 

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Discussion Starter · #38 ·

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You're a dear, Mr. Orton. But that certainly doesn't even come close to achieving the objectives, does it?

I suppose since you've posted this as many times as I have posted my responses, I'll do it again. Not everyone wants your method of heating water in a bucket or taking a military shower. Some of us have power to spare - and thus hot water to spare. And some of us are trying to figure out how to take a longer shower. And a shower - not a hose-off. Some of us /have/ done the military shower and heating methods similar to yours... and are trying to figure out something different. C'mon, man! 馃樀
You are not alone with your comments. 80% of the negative comments on my conversion video are related to the method I use to get clean. It is interesting to me how people consider only a shower like at home to get clean. No deviation allowed. My objective was to get clean with as simple a method as possible, use the minimum amount of power, minimum amount of water, eliminate plumbing, minimize cost, shower inside and use the minimum amount of space.

Is it an enjoyable shower? No. Does it achieve my objectives? Yes. I get clean.

What is neat about conversions is everyone has different objectives so have different solutions. :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #40 ·
...
What is neat about conversions is everyone has different objectives so have different solutions. :)
Agreed on that. And makes NO sense to me why someone would take the trouble to comment on your thread about what they dislike or how you should do YOUR deal your way. Different deal if you were telling them how to do their thing; but to comment on your thing about doing it their way? 馃槒
 
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