Alternatives to OEM tank sensors

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Tom

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Our tank sensors for both black and grey tanks have been all but useless since we bought the coach. After dumping and flushing, one still reads 3/4 full and the other reads 1/2 full. I recall thinking we had a blockage when we camped with the Brincks in Maine a couple of summers ago and spending a few hours trying to unblock a blockage that didn't exist.

While at the FMCA rally recently, I saw an external sensor that looks like a flex circuit that you cut to length and attach to the outside of the tank. I procrastinated and didn't buy at the rally. IIRC Ned was installing something similar. Which brands of external sensor have folks used and what's your experience with them?

TIA
 

Ned

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I have recently installed the system from Vena Engineering.  It did require a bit of rewiring and running 2 new wires up the wall, but it seems to work quite well.  Shows all tank levels on one display, has a backlight for night time viewing, and includes a water pump switch.  That switch won't work with the Intellitec controller I have for my water pump, so we added a new switch for that function.  The sensors are easy to apply if you have access to the side of the tank.  More information at http://venaengineering.com, click on Tank Monitor.

Another popular system is from http://www.rvgauge.com by Garnet.  However, the equivalent display system from them is about twice as expensive as the Vena unit.
 

judway

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I just finished intalling a SeeLevel 709 this week. I used the existing wiring. The fresh water tank required two sensors because of its height. One of the sensors was bad, but the company sent me a new one. It now works fine. I havent finished calibrating the propane meter yet because the tank needs to be toped off for the 100% cal point. I purchased it from RVUpgrades.com for about $205 plus about $60 for the extra sensor. I had almost the same system on my previous MH.

Wayne/FL
 

Tom

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Thanks Ned. SeeLevel (Garnet) is the one I saw in Pomona. How is it working out?

I assume the pump switch is intended to prevent the pump from operating when the fresh water tank is empty.
 

Tom

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Thanks Wayne.

Did your propane tank already have a sensor?
 

Ned

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The water pump switch is to turn the pump on and off.  I have 3 such switches and an Intellitec controller for that function.  The switches are momentary toggles to ground to signal the controller but the Vena switch is a SPST toggle that supplies 12V to an included relay.  That's why I had to add a new momentary toggle for the pump.  It's black just like the Vena display so it looks ok.  I also had to add a new hot water heater switch, as the Vena doesn't include that function, but it's also black and fits in well.  I'll show you the whole thing at Moab, if you like.
 

Jeff

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Tom said:
Our tank sensors for both black and grey tanks have been all but useless since we bought the coach. After dumping and flushing, one still reads 3/4 full and the other reads 1/2 full. I recall thinking we had a blockage when we camped with the Brincks in Maine a couple of summers ago and spending a few hours trying to unblock a blockage that didn't exist.

While at the FMCA rally recently, I saw an external sensor that looks like a flex circuit that you cut to length and attach to the outside of the tank. I procrastinated and didn't buy at the rally. IIRC Ned was installing something similar. Which brands of external sensor have folks used and what's your experience with them?

TIA

Tom:

Because of the results Terry and others had with pressure cleaning holding tanks I had it done after FMCA Pomona and two weeks later (and 150.00) my indicators are back to their old tricks so I will be interested with your choice.
 

Tom

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Jeff,

Wasn't aware that folks were getting their tanks pressure cleaned. Is that different from the built-in tank flush system I have?
 

JerArdra

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Tom,

I have the most reliable and accurate fresh water tank gauge in the world.  No one has a more accurate one than I.

On a Monaco you can open the outside cabinet door and see the water level in the  fresh water tank.  So, at a rally, I had Monaco install two quick release catches on that door plus a strut to hold it up.  Then, using a ruler and marking pen, I marked the tank 1/4, 1/2, 3/4 and full.  Now, when it really matters such as when dry camping at Quartzsite, I just open the outside cabinet door and look.  It's foolproof!  I also open the door when filling the tank in our MH garage so I can better judge when it will be full.  BTW, I did not remove the more convenient but less accurate inside tank gauge monitors.

JerryF
 

Jeff

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Yes. I met the company rep at a dump station and using a special dump hose he inserted a 600 psi spray head up into both tanks. It cleans flake off the walls and sensors and the sensors were showing empty when we left. A few hours later with very little waste in the tanks the black tank showed full again. THe gray has always shown 1/4 when empty and then has worked from there to full. I always got along because the black tank could be checked visually and usually wasn't the determining factor when we would dump.

Another $150 lesson. ??? ???
 

Tom

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Jerry,

The tanks aren't so readily accessible on our Camelot. I went through the same discussion with Chris when he compared the tanks on his Dynasty with mine.
 

Ned

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Jerry,

I have the same system, and as a bonus, I can see the propane gauge at the same time :)

Jeff,

My holding tank indicators have been reading full for several years, that's what drove me to get the external sensors and new display. ?There is no way to get a wand into my tanks either. ?And it's very easy for us to know when the black tank is full too. ?I'm more concerned with the gray tank.
 

Tom

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Thanks for saving me $150 Jeff.

As you say, the black can be checked visually, although it's not a vertical drop in our case (the pipe has a couple of 45 bends).

I was washing dishes one day last week and, as I emptied the contents of the bowl into the sink, I noticed the water wasn't going down. That's the fullest we've had the grey tank  :-[
 

Ned

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How deep was it in the shower?  If the sink fills, you're in trouble :)
 

Jeff

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Tom said:
Thanks for saving me $150 Jeff.

The cleaning helped Terry Brewer but I think he had already changed the sensor system.

Why the OEMS have not been able to figure this out over the past 30 years is beyond me. Our 1971 Glastron had no indicator, when the shower backed up you were full. :eek:
 

Tom

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Jeff /Washington said:
Our 1971 Glastron had no indicator, when the shower backed up you were full.

Friends of ours used to have a Dolphin on the Toyota chassis. Theirs had a single holding tank. The gal had a graphic description of what happened when it backed up into the shower  :-[  Last time I mentioned this another Dolphin owner emailed me to let me know that his Dolphin had two tanks  ;D
 

Jeff

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Tom said:
Friends of ours used to have a Dolphin on the Toyota chassis. Theirs had a single holding tank. The gal had a graphic description of what happened when it backed up into the shower  :-[  Last time I mentioned this another Dolphin owner emailed me to let me know that his Dolphin had two tanks  ;D

Here's a post from RVing mishaps I wrote a while ago:

One of our earlist m/h's was a 21' Glastron that had a bathroom that was a shower, floor was the drain and the shell came up about four inches. Said m/h also had 1 30 gallon holding tank.

We used to take three kids and head for Colorado  from Illinois skiing every winter and usually team drove and traveled at night because the kids slept instead of fighting for the first 12-14 hours of the trip. Our son also was about 3-4 years old at the time and did not observe the custom we had of shutting off the water pump after use while traveling.

About 2:00AM one cold March morning my wife woke up in a rest area in western Nebraska to sounds from outside the m/h. She looked out and found me using the dump station and said:

"WHAT ARE YOU DOING?"  Huh Huh

I then explained that I had pulled in to use the facilities and in the dark so I didn't wake anyone up had stepped into the bathroom in my stocking feet- into about three inches of grey/black water that had backed up after our son used the bathroom, didn't get the water shut completely off, and overflowed the holding tank while everyone slept and I drove.

After 25 years I can still remember the feeling of being up to my ankles in it and then standing out in 20 degree weather dumping the tanks and rinsing out the bathroom. Angry Angry
 

JerArdra

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Ned,

Our "look see" water level gauges sure are great when we're at QZ for 10 days.

ALSO, A GENERAL NOTE TO ALL OF YOU FOLKS REGARDING THE GRAY TANK

We keep some blue colored  painters masking tape on board because you can tape things and it does not leave any residue.

With regard to the GRAY TANK, whenever we have to drive and the gray tank is 1/4 or more we wipe the shower drain dry and put the blue masking tape over the shower drain.  Afterwords it peels off easy with no residue.  This saves possible smell and more so it saves us a clean up chore from splashed gray water in the shower pan.  Ladies, Ardra says, go buy yourself some blue masking tape at Lowes or Home Depot.

JerryF
 

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