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Author Topic: LP tank level indicator/sensor problem  (Read 3425 times)

carson

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LP tank level indicator/sensor problem
« on: March 27, 2009, 03:38:10 PM »
   In another post I described the basic problem. Went on to explain the importance of clean connectors leading to the LED read-out. By resolving the connector problem I proved that the LED read-out is functioning properly.

However, I still have the same problem. The tank is less than 1/2 full; the readout reads near full. I presume that the the sensor/ rheostat on the tank is not performing its expected duty. It has two wires attached.

  My question: Where do I start to a) find a sensor on the web? not much luck in searching.
Has anyone here replaced the indicator? What is involved in doing that? How does the sensor work? Float?

   I know it is a minor inconvenience, the needle reads ok but not the LED.

I have run out of things to fix on the rig, gotta look for something.  ;D

carson FL

Carson, 
 West Central Florida
Ex RV'er. (1995 Winnebago Adventurer)
...Logic works like a charm...

scottydl

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Re: LP tank level indicator/sensor problem
« Reply #1 on: March 27, 2009, 04:31:59 PM »
I have run out of things to fix on the rig, gotta look for something.  ;D

Come on over to my place, I can put you to work!!  ;)
Scott, wife, 3 boys... and the dog
1994 Thor Residency 3500 sold but not forgotten
Now looking for the next perfect RV...

seilerbird

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Re: LP tank level indicator/sensor problem
« Reply #2 on: March 27, 2009, 07:09:31 PM »
   In another post I described the basic problem. Went on to explain the importance of clean connectors leading to the LED read-out. By resolving the connector problem I proved that the LED read-out is functioning properly.

However, I still have the same problem. The tank is less than 1/2 full; the readout reads near full. I presume that the the sensor/ rheostat on the tank is not performing its expected duty. It has two wires attached.

  My question: Where do I start to a) find a sensor on the web? not much luck in searching.
Has anyone here replaced the indicator? What is involved in doing that? How does the sensor work? Float?

   I know it is a minor inconvenience, the needle reads ok but not the LED.

I have run out of things to fix on the rig, gotta look for something.  ;D

carson FL



The problem could be the sensor, could be the readout, could be the wires, or it could be the connections. Before you start spending money you should find out for sure exactly what the problem is.

carson

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Re: LP tank level indicator/sensor problem
« Reply #3 on: March 28, 2009, 12:41:23 PM »
Just in....

    Here is more info on this major problem.  ;)   I went to gather more info today (called trouble shooting).

  This post is for the astute interested folks that love technical minutia.

  I have an 80 gal tank, manufactured by "Brunner Engineering and Mfg. in Bedford, IN. Yes, they have a phone # and E-mail address.

  My analysis: I determined that there is in fact a rheostat involved sending various resistance values the the LED indicator. (I learned from the web that it could be between 0 and 91 ohms.) Luckily I had an old resistance decade box (from yore)  and hooked it up to the two wires (with the new connectors installed) and applied various resistances to prove the point.

The result: at 15 ohm the LED readout read "E" (empty), at 33 ohm it read 1/3, at 47 ohm it read 2/3 and at 100 ohm it read "F" (full). (At infinite resistance it reads full). I deduced that the electronic LED indicator is working to spec.

  Next I measured the resistance of the output of the sensor's rheostat (tank just a bit below 1/2 full). Lo and behold... infinity. No wonder the LED reads full all the time. Looks like the rheostat is defective (open); looks like it is operated by the needle on the analog indicator. Must be pretty miniature. (see pix)

   I tapped the unit to see if it could be restored. The needle is working fine. No luck. There seems to be no way to remove the cap housing the rheostat.

  My next step will be to make a call the factory and see what the say... (can't find any dealers).. Monday..

Ok, you can wake up now, probably put some folks to sleep.  ;D

Anyone have input?


Just looked at the photo again. Do think the the screw in the middle/top secures the bezel/lens and would be safe to remove?


carson, FL











« Last Edit: March 28, 2009, 12:45:14 PM by carson »
Carson, 
 West Central Florida
Ex RV'er. (1995 Winnebago Adventurer)
...Logic works like a charm...

carson

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Re: LP tank level indicator/sensor problem
« Reply #4 on: March 31, 2009, 01:24:12 PM »
Continuing.... the silence is defining.

   Here is what I did. I E-mailed the Brunner Eng. Company. Looks like my E-mail landed up in Cyberspace. I.E. no answer.

 Today I called their phone number and it connected to a company called "Rochester Tank". Voice mail, ugh.

Then I went to the Rochester website..  no sign of RV tanks anywhere.

  My conclusion is that Brunner Eng., Indiana, is gone.

  Lotsa searching on the web and I can't find anything resembling what I am looking for.

  Anyone able to steer me in the right direction will be my hero... :)

I don't think the Winnebago is interested in my story. What do you think?

p.s. I am not losing any sleep over it. Any heroes out there?

carson FL 88.5F

Carson, 
 West Central Florida
Ex RV'er. (1995 Winnebago Adventurer)
...Logic works like a charm...

certech

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Re: LP tank level indicator/sensor problem
« Reply #5 on: March 31, 2009, 10:12:02 PM »
carson,
 see if you can find any model numbers on the indicator i will take a look tomorrow and see what i can come up with . I work with a master tech that has done more than his share of tanks and sensors we also have a few after market catalouges i can check.

carson

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Re: LP tank level indicator/sensor problem
« Reply #6 on: April 01, 2009, 11:17:39 AM »
certech, thanks for your post.

   I got my magnifying glass out and found some info on the gauge:
Manufactured by the Rochester Gauges, Inc. in Dallas Texas.

There is a number on the dial, looks like 8-2083, but can't be 100% sure, slightly unreadable.

The printing is very small, looks like 2 point type.

  I checked out the Rochestergauges.com website but found nothing conclusive.

I know that only the electrical part of the gauge is malfunctioning. Would be great if that could be easily repaired or replaced.

   If you get a chance to find a bit more info, I'll appreciate it.

carson FL
Carson, 
 West Central Florida
Ex RV'er. (1995 Winnebago Adventurer)
...Logic works like a charm...

carson

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Re: LP tank level indicator/sensor problem
« Reply #7 on: April 02, 2009, 12:52:18 PM »
certech, In case you are still working on my problem, let me amend the part# from mu last post.

It is 5-2063. Searching on the web got me nowhere.

Rochester Gauge is an international company with limited access to their Service department, if any.

  No rush. carson FL

Carson, 
 West Central Florida
Ex RV'er. (1995 Winnebago Adventurer)
...Logic works like a charm...

RLSharp

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Re: LP tank level indicator/sensor problem
« Reply #8 on: April 03, 2009, 02:21:51 AM »
Carson,

Give me a couple of days and I think I can find the information that I used to replace my propane dial gauge last summer.  It looks exactly the same as yours. My tank was getting quite rusty and I removed it and took it to a commercial paint shop to have it sandblasted and painted. The owner said he would protect the gauge before sandblasting and painting but forgot to tell his technician. When I got the tank back the gauge had been sandblasted and painted.  >:(

I spent a couple of months running down a replacement. I hope that I have the paper work with me, otherwise it is in Rochester, NY and we won't be home until June.

As far as how the sensor works--there is a float on the inside of your tank which as it goes up and down rotates a shaft with a magnet on it's end. This magnet/float mechanism is mounted to the back of the gauge assembly which I believe is made of aluminum or some other nonferrous metal and is coupled to a magnet in the dial. The dial mechanism is attached to the outside of the assembly and movement of the magnet on the float mechanism causes the magnet inside the dial assembly to turn. As the magnet in the dial turns, it rotates a variable resistor which sends the appropriate signal to you electronic readout. You can remove the dial assembly by removing the two screws in the center of the top and bottom of the dial. Don't remove the four corner screws, if you have any propane in your tank. When I removed my guage, both screws broke off without screwing out. I believe they are made of aluminum, as it didn't take very much torque to shear them off. Fortunately, the screw heads sheared off, which left two "positioning posts" as guides. When I installed the new dial assembly, I just put a dab of silicone caulk on the back and pressed it into the "hole" where it normally sits. I ran a piece of shock cord around the tank with a small block of wood over the gauge to make sure it did not move while the silicone cured overnight.

When you remove the gauge, if you take a small magnet and move it around the back of the gauge, you will see the dial pointer move. I made sure that the gauge pointer was set on "E" when I installed it--I knew that the tank was empty. BTW, I have the old gauge with me but you can't read the dial pointer very well. I did try to clean it up and was able to scrape the paint off but the sandblasting did a job on the plastic face of the gauge.

I will get back to you after I go through my records.

Richard
Rochester, NY (summer)
Tucson, AZ (winter)
Richard & Linda
Rochester, NY (summer)
Tucson, AZ (winter)

Jim Godward

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Re: LP tank level indicator/sensor problem
« Reply #9 on: April 03, 2009, 03:19:08 PM »
Richard,

Some electronics stores sell a kit to refinish plastic displays.  Not sure of cost but they are out there.
Jim
Jim & Pat Godward
2001 Dutch Star
AC7PO & KD7ZDM
Belgrade, MT

carson

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Re: LP tank level indicator/sensor problem
« Reply #10 on: April 03, 2009, 03:44:16 PM »
Richard, thanks for your info.

As I said there is no rush. I found some more info on the web as well, including part numbers and supplier. Don't know if that will work out.
In the meantime I will attempt to remove the unit with those 2 screws. Will try not to break them.

  Appreciate your help,  carson FL

Carson, 
 West Central Florida
Ex RV'er. (1995 Winnebago Adventurer)
...Logic works like a charm...

RLSharp

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Re: LP tank level indicator/sensor problem
« Reply #11 on: April 03, 2009, 06:01:16 PM »

Some electronics stores sell a kit to refinish plastic displays.  Not sure of cost but they are out there.

Thanks Jim. I have replaced the gauge since it had not only been sandblasted but primed and heavily painted. At the time, I had no hope for cleaning it back to an usable state. Over the last year, I have played with cleaning it and now it is almost readable.

Carson, If you would like to try to work on the guage to make it readable, I would be willing to send it to you. The gauge still works O.K. as far as properly sensing the propane level at the inside monitor. In fact, the new gauge does not seem to be as accurate but I like to be able to read the gauge on the tank.

Richard
« Last Edit: April 03, 2009, 06:05:33 PM by RLSharp »
Richard & Linda
Rochester, NY (summer)
Tucson, AZ (winter)

carson

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Re: LP tank level indicator/sensor problem
« Reply #12 on: April 03, 2009, 06:13:57 PM »
Richard, I appreciate that offer. I would really like to see the innards of that old switch so I can make a wise decision in my endeavor to fix my problem.  It seems to be small enough to send it via USPS.  Don't worry, I'll send you a check for whatever you want me to pay.

   I'll send you a PM with my address; what say?

carson FL

Carson, 
 West Central Florida
Ex RV'er. (1995 Winnebago Adventurer)
...Logic works like a charm...

carson

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Re: LP tank level indicator/sensor problem
« Reply #13 on: April 04, 2009, 01:10:50 PM »
Just in...

  Thanks to Richard (RLSharp) and his great information, I decided to remove the dial module today. 2 screws holding it and it popped right out. My screws seem to be SS steel; came out with ease...looked like new. The dial is totally sealed and would be a cinch to replace if anyone needs to do that.

   I cleaned up the unit, then used a magnet (as Richard suggested) and found that the needle could easily be moved from min to max. Next ,I attached my Ohmmeter to the terminals and found no resistance (infinity). (No wonder my LED showed full all the time).

  Next, while having the ohmmeter attached I used the bar magnet to move the needle from min to max many times. (All this with sitting in the RV with the dial assembly in my hands). The idea was to move the slider on the variable resistor back and forth many, many times in order to clean that microscopic contact with the resistor film. Well, guess what; soon the ohmmeter started to register readings. After awhile I got the proper readings, 0 (infinity) to 100 ohm and anything in between. That told me that the unit was not defective, rather just old and tired.

  I then re-installed the dial on the tank and lo and behold it read the proper tank level on the LED display. But here is a caveat: The needle is propelled by a small magnet inside the tank, which moves the needle as the level of propane changes. The problem is that if your tank level sits at a certain level for a long time..in my case for several months.. it will take a somewhat major change in level to move the needle to another resistance value.

   In order to get a true reading, I decided to drive the RV for a bit in order to slosh the propane around the tank a bit. That seemed to do the trick and gave me an accurate reading then.

   So, Richard, I really don't need your sandblasted unit after all. Now that I think I fixed it, I'll report in again after real time experience.

   That's the best I can do, folks ,in explaining that horrible problem.   ;D


Any comments?

carson FL 79.2

   
Edit: One item I  forgot to mention.. the four major screws holding the big assembly in place, I was able to tighten them about 1/8 turn each. Wonder what kind of seal they use. No propane leaks ever detected.


   
« Last Edit: April 04, 2009, 01:38:24 PM by carson »
Carson, 
 West Central Florida
Ex RV'er. (1995 Winnebago Adventurer)
...Logic works like a charm...

RLSharp

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Re: LP tank level indicator/sensor problem
« Reply #14 on: April 04, 2009, 01:35:20 PM »
The problem is that if your tank level sits at a certain level for a long time..in my case for several months.. it will take a somewhat major change in level to move the needle to another resistance value.

   In order to get a true reading, I decided to drive the RV for a bit in order to slosh the propane around the tank a bit. That seemed to do the trick and gave me an accurate reading then.

   So, Richard, I really don't need your sandblasted unit after all. Now that I think I fixed it, I'll report in again after real time experience.

Carson,

Glad that you solved the problem. The reason that I like to have a gauge on the tank that I can read directly is for the very reason that you observed. I have found that if the motor home is not moved for a long period of time and the propane usage is very slow over that time, the internal float seems to not follow the actual propane level. What I do is to tap the big weld around the gauge with a plastic handled screw driver. I can see the needle gradually move to the proper level. I guess that I could do the same thing and run back and forth to the inside read out to observe the same thing, but...

Thanks for the feedback. I'm glad I could help. BTW, this morning before going to the RVForum, I finished searching my records for the receipt for the gauge I purchased. I didn't find it so I went to my past charge statements and found that I purchased the gauge on 12/16/2007 from Amerigas Propane LP, Tucson, AZ for $36.39. I was hoping that I could find a part number, since it was a special order but can't find the actual receipt. If you ever need a new gauge, I could check with them and find a part number for you.
Richard & Linda
Rochester, NY (summer)
Tucson, AZ (winter)

carson

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Re: LP tank level indicator/sensor problem
« Reply #15 on: April 04, 2009, 01:49:11 PM »
Thanks, Richard.

I did find a bit of info on Part numbers on the web. A GM part number is IP5628S0237, a twinsite sending unit, screw on type. But this unit must be modified somewhat.

The other for the 5-2063 dial is Squibb Taylor Inc. in Dallas, TX. 214 357 2533, contact Bill Sands.

I did not contact them, so I don't know if this info is correct.

  I hope my problem is solved. I have a 30# hammer, would that work?   ;D

carson FL

Thanks for your effort, Richard

« Last Edit: April 04, 2009, 01:51:03 PM by carson »
Carson, 
 West Central Florida
Ex RV'er. (1995 Winnebago Adventurer)
...Logic works like a charm...

Ron

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Re: LP tank level indicator/sensor problem
« Reply #16 on: April 04, 2009, 04:01:35 PM »
Glad you have been successful in fixing the sending unit Carson.  Always good to hear of success.  Thanks for the update.
Ron & Sam-home is where we park it. Currently located   HERE