Black Tank Sensors

The friendliest place on the web for anyone with an RV or an interest in RVing!
If you have answers, please help by responding to the unanswered posts.
W

Weewun

Guest
Need some advice on Black Tank Sensors.

Situation:  We Snowbird in Southern Florida and are thus stationary for months at a time.  The Black Tank Sensors come on and stay on.  I flush religiously until the water comes out perfectly clear with no particles and then flush for an additional ten minutes.  I have a Macerator Commode so their shouldn't be any large paper particles hanging on the sensors.  I know it is probably build up on the walls providing continuity between the sensors.  The Macerator Commode does have 'external sensors' but when it indicates full you can not flush, most nconvenient.  I know there is an 'emergency-flush' procedure but doesn't help much for wife and and Mother-in-law if it occrs while I am away from the MH.

Request #1:  Is anyone aware of a product that I can put in the tank on a regular basis to clean the sides????  I do not wish to take the MH out every week and drive it on bumpy roads.

Request #2:  Is anyone aware of an 'after-market' External Sensors provider?????

Thks for all input.
 

Ned

Moderator Emeritus
Joined
Feb 1, 2005
Posts
25,107
Location
USA
It's common for the typical black tank level sensors to fail after a few years.  There are several products available that don't use the internal sensors and use an external capacitive sensor.  2 manufacturers are Vena Engineering and SeeLevel by Garnet.  Neither is cheap and you may still need to get the black tank pressure cleaned from the inside.
 
W

Weewun

Guest
Ned said:
It's common for the typical black tank level sensors to fail after a few years.  There are several products available that don't use the internal sensors and use an external capacitive sensor.  2 manufacturers are Vena Engineering and SeeLevel by Garnet.  Neither is cheap and you may still need to get the black tank pressure cleaned from the inside.

Appreciate the Website Info, will look into that.  The Sensors haven't failed but are giving false readings. MH is two months old and I am sure that the tank will clean when I drive home with detergent in the tank.  Ths is not a major issue, but I do not like things that don't work as they are supposed to.
 

Ned

Moderator Emeritus
Joined
Feb 1, 2005
Posts
25,107
Location
USA
The sensors may or may not clean up on your next drive, but it's guaranteed that they will fail eventually.  Most black tank monitors read Full after a year or two of use.
 

Ron

Moderator Emeritus
Joined
Jan 29, 2005
Posts
18,082
Location
Home is where we park it
Ned said:
The sensors may or may not clean up on your next drive, but it's guaranteed that they will fail eventually.  Most black tank monitors read Full after a year or two of use.

Hmm don't guarantee to much, the Black, grey, and fresh water monitors in our 99 Eagle continue to work perfectly. ;D
 

Carl L

Moderator Emeritus
Joined
Mar 14, 2005
Posts
7,239
Location
west Los Angeles
Ron said:
Hmm don't guarantee to much, the Black, grey, and fresh water monitors in our 99 Eagle continue to work perfectly. ;D

So do the indicators in our 96 Prowler.  Maybe not perfectly but like the old saying goes, good enough for gov't work.
 

Gary RV_Wizard

Site Team
Joined
Feb 2, 2005
Posts
74,380
Location
At our Silver Springs FL home
I highly recommend the Garnet SeeLevel external gauges. We know of several people who have installed them (usually not too difficult) and they are all ecstatic with the results. Many new rigs have them as standard equipment they work so well.

Cleaning the tank may or may not be successful. Usually it helps for a few days or weeks and the problem returns. Here are a couple home home remedies - you keep trying these things until one works for your particular problem.

(1) Fill the black tank half full with fresh water and put a couple bags of ice cubes in through the toilet, then drive around for 45 minutes or so. The ice scrapes the sides and often gets things working again. Drain and flush thoroughly.  Can't do this to the gray tank, though, unless there is an access port somewhere accessible.

(2) Add a low sudsing detergent (such as front loader laundry detergent or dishwasher detergent) to the tanks and drive around for 45+ minutes, Drain and flush thoroughly.

(3) Get a toilet spray wand and spray the black tank from the upper side. Since you have a macerator commode, you would probably have to remove the toilet to do this.

(4) Pour some drain cleaner (the septic tank safe variety) down the drains and toilet when the tank is half or more full. Let it work for a few hours and then drain and flush again. Some people shudder at the thought of drain cleaners in Rv systems, but in moderate amounts it should be no problem. Again, I don't know about your macerator thugh.
 

John From Detroit

Well-known member
Joined
Apr 12, 2005
Posts
25,115
Location
Davison Michigan
I use suggestion 3 when my sensors false.  I built my own wand though.

First it is fed via both a spring check valve (prevents ANY back flow) and a vacuum  breaker (Prevents siphoning) and a shut off valve (So I can control it)

These precautions are overkill, (You don't need both the spring check and the breaker) But I've never been offended by the "Belt and Suspenders" method.

I took about five feet of 1/2 inch PVC, glued a hose fitting on one end, and a cap on the other, Drilled about a 7/16 hole in the side of the cap into the pipe.  That's my wand.

NOTE: drill size was selected the old fashion way.... First bit I grabbed in the box


Sensors are in the "Outside end" of the tank... After flushing like you do I shove the "Wand" down the hole, and apply pressure, move it up and down (Being careful not to pull it up too far) and twist slightly from side to side so that the stream hits the sensor area and really pounds it with water.

Result... All lights dark when I test (Though the last one may take a bit to go out)
 

John Doe

Member
Joined
Jan 7, 2007
Posts
5
I've heard that adding an amount of "borax" to the tank will help to clean off the sensors. Is there any truth to this?
 

Karl

Moderator Emeritus
Joined
Mar 3, 2005
Posts
5,154
Location
Elkhart Lake, WI for the summer. Work at Road Amer
John Doe (will the real John Doe please step out from behind the curtain? The Senator has some questions for you.),

I think almost every household and commercial product known to man has been tried at one time or another, with varying degrees of success; mostly failure. Pine-sol, Draino, Borax, sodium carbonate.... ad infinitum. I think it's even been suggested that modifying ones' diet was the way to go - so to speak. Perhaps the only way to keep them clean is to, well, use someone else's facilities ::) Even then, I'm not sure they wouldn't fail!
 

BernieD

Well-known member
Joined
Mar 1, 2005
Posts
5,877
Location
Goodyear, AZ
John Doe said:
I've heard that adding an amount of "borax" to the tank will help to clean off the sensors. Is there any truth to this?

John Doe

I keep a box of borax in the coach for times when we are in an ant colony, but never heard of using it for the black, or grey, tank.
 

Gary RV_Wizard

Site Team
Joined
Feb 2, 2005
Posts
74,380
Location
At our Silver Springs FL home
20 Mule Team Borax laundry soap, perhaps.  As good or bad as any other home brew remedy involving detergents.

I can't tell you how many times I have heard someone proclaim that this, that or the other thing was absolutely the way to fix this problem, only to hear several others respond "didn't work for me".  Most of us have learned, I think, not to waste further time and effort on the problem. Go with external gauges or live with the problem. It's not a big deal anyway. One quickly learns about how long it will be before dumping will be necessary and the signs of a [nearly] full gray or black tank are immistakeable anyway.
 
Top Bottom