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Author Topic: Tank monitors  (Read 3431 times)
John316
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« on: August 11, 2009, 08:36:35 AM »

I have been looking through the archives, and didn't see any good responses.

What do you guys like for your tank monitors. Our tanks are coming with the metal strips, and we have to find our monitoring system.  I know that the most fool proof way is by looking at them, but that won't work very well for us...We need some monitoring system that will tell us when they are empty, full, etc.

Ideas?

God bless,

John
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« Reply #1 on: August 11, 2009, 08:54:24 AM »

John, the Raritan monitor for marine use is the best for those type systems don't buy the cheap RV monitors      good luck
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« Reply #2 on: August 11, 2009, 09:11:34 AM »

We did a lot of research before we bought Marine monitors for our bus......Head Hunter is the brand name.......They work really great........easy to install.....good luck
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« Reply #3 on: August 11, 2009, 09:31:46 AM »

    We have the system that uses the metallic strips on the plastic tanks (Acu-Gauge) and we find the accuracy to be very inconsistant. We are thinking about replacing them with this system.    http://www.catconproducts.com/rv.htm    Any comments from users of this system.  Jack
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« Reply #4 on: August 11, 2009, 09:39:38 AM »

Just another RV montior Jack they are in use in S&S jobs like Monoco the one in my wife's son in laws coach just works about 1/2 the time a good marine unit is the way to go   


good luck
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« Reply #5 on: August 11, 2009, 11:28:29 AM »

What does the Raritan monitor do that other tank monitors with strips on the side of the tank don't do?  It doesn't look to be any different than the expensive RV systems that use strips on the tank to monitor level.
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« Reply #6 on: August 11, 2009, 11:32:29 AM »

It works Belfert and from the sound John 316 has marine tanks with strips molded into the tank
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« Reply #7 on: August 11, 2009, 11:41:22 AM »

PRICES!!!!

You better let your fingers do the walking.  The price spread for the cheapest model for 4 tanks goes from $267 to $457.

Thanks, Cliff

John
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« Reply #8 on: August 11, 2009, 11:52:19 AM »

    We have the system that uses the metallic strips on the plastic tanks (Acu-Gauge) and we find the accuracy to be very inconsistant. We are thinking about replacing them with this system.    http://www.catconproducts.com/rv.htm    Any comments from users of this system.  Jack


Yes, I installed this system new when I was converting...I went with the  System Monitor 2.

Just about as easy to install as it could be.

Uses standard 4 conductor phone cables for connection.

Even if you don't have a hole in your tank for the sensor, Catcon can still give you a sensor that works without modifying your tank, by
placing the sensor in the inlet/outlet line for your tank.

HTH

Jay
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John316
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« Reply #9 on: August 11, 2009, 12:20:30 PM »

Sorry guys. I just checked, and I discovered that we ordered the tanks with sensors in them. 100% 75% 50% 25%. I am really not exactly sure with what they are. I think I was wrong about the strips though.

I am kinda leaning towards the Catcon, because I talked to the guy, and he seemed reasonable. I will check with him about the warranty, and what if it breaks, etc.

Clifford, thanks for the idea. I am still looking at them. The problem is, they are quite a bit more $$$. We have to watch that you know Grin. However, I want a good solution, and I don't want to be penny wise, and pound foolish.

I just placed an order for two water pumps. They are the 5.7 (I think, maybe it was 5.5) shurflo micro processor units, per your recommendations. Those were pricey little guy. 560.70 total.

God bless,

John
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« Reply #10 on: August 11, 2009, 12:44:11 PM »

You're gonna love this... my girlfriend is my tank monitor!  When she sees an inch of stinky greywater in the shower tub, she lets me know it's time to dump the tanks! Works amazingly well!
(this is actually not a joke... I've had to clean the tub more than once, but it works reliably!)

Boogie
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« Reply #11 on: August 11, 2009, 12:58:36 PM »

You're gonna love this... my girlfriend is my tank monitor!  When she sees an inch of stinky greywater in the shower tub, she lets me know it's time to dump the tanks! Works amazingly well!
(this is actually not a joke... I've had to clean the tub more than once, but it works reliably!)

Boogie

Maybe you should post some pics of this system in action Wink Cheesy

I guess your tank is vented thru the roof. Smiley
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« Reply #12 on: August 11, 2009, 01:03:09 PM »

I obviously haven't seen every monitor made but every one I have seen eventually quit working.  If you are designing from a bare slate I'd build in a simple visual confirmation anywhere possible.  Obviously you don't want an overflow valve on the black tank but there's no reason not to put one on the fresh tank.  Open the valve, fill until water runs out, stop filling - Q.E.D.  A peephole to see the level on the black and grey tanks wouldn't be impossible with translucent plastic tanks - I'm not sure what the guys with SS are supposed to do but based on my experience you can go to the bank that your sensors will fail later if not sooner.

I have a wife monitor on my grey tank that works similarly to Boogie's but there are issues with that system as well as I'm sure he'll discover if he decides to convert GF101 to Wife Model 100.

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R.J.(Bob) Evans
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« Reply #13 on: August 11, 2009, 04:36:53 PM »

Jack,

I bought and installed the AcuGauge system also. I am not going to say it is worthless because it does LOOK like you have tank monitors. But, other than that, I have not found a use for them other than to tell me the lights on the panel still work. I would never buy or recommend them.

TOM
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« Reply #14 on: August 11, 2009, 06:04:17 PM »

I guess I need some schooling here ( and I'm sure somebody will step up)...   As far as I have been able to determine, most of the RV gauge systems use a collection of electrical probes or a strip of metal inside the tank.  These devices use the fact that the liquid in the tank conducts electricity. The level in the tank determines how many probes have a completed electrical circuit.  

A problem lies in the fact that the tanks get pretty "gunky" inside.  The probes get covered with layers that don't conduct electricity well, and the systems fail to register properly.  So, for systems that use this type of technology, the weak link in the chain seems to me to be the sensors in the tank.  You can have a real fancy display panel inside the bus, but if the sensors are mucked up, will it make any difference?   I dunno, maybe the expensive systems send 12 VDC (or more) to the sensors and are able to pull a signal where cheap systems using 5 VDC cannot.  Maybe the expensive systems have gold plated sensors with a muck resistant finish?   ... just seems to me that if the sensors can do their job, there is no real magic and I could cobble together a panel of LEDs myself.

Now if the gauge system utilizes ultrasonic sensors or some other technology, it is an entirely different ballgame.    

What am I missing?
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Ed Hackenbruch
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« Reply #15 on: August 11, 2009, 06:40:30 PM »

We have an overflow on our fresh water tank, (100 gal.)  and have a 100 gal. black/grey tank.  when we run out of water we know it is time to refill the one and dump the other........ has never failed yet.  Grin
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« Reply #16 on: August 11, 2009, 06:43:03 PM »

I have not found a use for them other than to tell me the lights on the panel still work. I would never buy or recommend them.

Quitcherbitchin Tom - at least you got lights.  Our current "system" (and I use that word in it's loosest possible connotation) is unlike any I have ever seen.  But ours doesn't work either.

We have 4 x 1-1/2" analog pressure gauges calibrated from 1-100%.  Below each gauge is a push button which appears to activate a NC valve somewhere inside the magic box that all this is contained in.  To the side of the row of push buttons is a small pump, something like the primer on an injector pump.  You unscrew the pump, press one of the buttons and stroke the pump slowly a couple of times.  The gauge moves but good luck correlating it's movement to what is contained in the tank.  The fact that the gauges are not labelled is only a minor inconvenience because it appears that, if you pump long enough and hard enough, any gauge at any time will read 100%.  I'm sure I could figure out which gauge is attached to which tank but it has never seemed worthwhile.

I can easily see the drinking water tank so its no problem.  By carefully positioning a very small flashlight I can see the top 2 inches of one corner of the freshwater tank so it is manageable, but it has cost me one flashlight already.  The black tank "burps" in the toilet when it gets dangerously full.  The grey tank has Boogie's wife-gauge but we normally leave it open so it is only an issue when we boondock.

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R.J.(Bob) Evans
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« Reply #17 on: August 11, 2009, 06:44:47 PM »

The strips of metal usually attach to the exterior of the tank.  That is the main advantage of that style as they don't gunk up.
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Brian Elfert - 1995 Dina Viaggio 1000 Series 60/B500 - 75% done but usable - Minneapolis, MN
Nick Badame Refrig/ACC
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« Reply #18 on: August 11, 2009, 06:47:08 PM »

Hi Guy's,

I have the SensaTank Monitor by MSC. It works very well and surprisingly well in the black tank where most fail.

There are 4 external stick on sensors for each tank, RJ11 phone cord and jacks to a control board, and the monitor in the coach.

4 years and counting and everytime I check them, they are right on. Maybe I'm just lucky?

http://www.sealandsanitation.com/SensaTank%20description%20RV%20page.pdf

Nick-

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« Reply #19 on: August 11, 2009, 08:16:08 PM »

I also must be lucky.

I bought a monitor from Ardemco in 2005 that uses stainless screws through a rubber grommet.

I only measures in thirds on the tanks.  Knowing what I know now I would have made the full on the  fresh water tank at about 3/4 because you know it's full when you fill it. I also would have spaced the grey water sensors closer to the top of the tank so I could monitor as it gets closer to full.

I has Full 2/3 1/3 and Empty sensors.  I only have a grey and fresh water monitor and a pump switch on the panel.

The price in 2005 was 79.00 and the item number is *AX310

It has never failed to work and was easy to install.

Good Luck

Melbo
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« Reply #20 on: August 11, 2009, 08:40:40 PM »

R.J. The system you have sounds like a Hart Tank Tender. Under normal conditions, they are very accurate and reliable and are unaffected by heat or cold. The trick to making them work correctly is to depress and hold the button for the designated tank and then only use one stroke of the pump. As you say, you can make the gauge read anything if you continue to stroke the pump but that is not the correct procedure.

As you pressurize the system with one stroke of the pump, the needle should go to almost 100%, then drop rapidly, and then should stabilize. When the needle has stabilized this is the point you take your reading. You then release the button and the needle should drop to zero.

It is important to wait a few minutes before taking a second reading on the same tank as the system needs to come to equilibrium. You can read other tanks without waiting.

I have the same system on my boat for the one of the 300 gallon fuel tanks (the other tanks use sight gauges) and it is accurate and repeatable once calibrated.

Hope this helps.

Paul
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« Reply #21 on: August 11, 2009, 09:02:43 PM »

Thank you Paul.  I'll give that a whirl but that means I'll also have to figure out which gauge goes with which tank.
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« Reply #22 on: August 11, 2009, 10:34:30 PM »

You guys sure like complicated, expensive widgets!!

I have the same system as Ed except mine is the deluxe version.

 I also use a cheap stud finder from HD when I am in doubt.
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« Reply #23 on: August 12, 2009, 04:22:32 AM »

We have an overflow on our fresh water tank, (100 gal.)  and have a 100 gal. black/grey tank.  when we run out of water we know it is time to refill the one and dump the other........ has never failed yet.  Grin

I have 105 gallons fresh and 105 gallons grey/black, but the grey/black fills a lot faster than the fresh water empties with 9 guys using the bathroom.  I've considered making one tank black and the other grey and putting fresh water inside the bus, but I haven't decided to really do that yet.
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« Reply #24 on: August 12, 2009, 04:40:59 AM »

Thanks a lot guys. This is just what I needed.

We are going to have about 150 grey, and 100 black. I am not exactly sure how much fresh water yet, but that might be smaller because we can refill with fresh about anywhere.

Nick, I like your tank monitor. I will look into that. We got you water pumps that you have, so maybe tank monitors too.

Thanks.

God bless,

John
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« Reply #25 on: August 12, 2009, 06:04:07 AM »

These folks built all my tank monitors.  The nice part is that the monitors use standard full/empty gauges just like the ones on your instrument panel.  Their prices were very fair and the service was impressive.
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« Reply #26 on: August 12, 2009, 06:06:06 AM »

Whoops!  Sorry.  Forgot to type in the company name in previous post.  Here, I fixed it.

www.wema.no
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John316
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« Reply #27 on: August 13, 2009, 02:28:05 PM »

Here is the update. I talked with Steve at Catcon (the company Jack talked about). He seemed like a very straight guy (he must have been a Texas transplant Grin Cool). In conversation he told me that they did have the Monaco contract. I then asked him about the failures that they were having with the gauges not being accurate. He said that was the case, and that there have been a lot of Monaco failures. He said that was because Monaco changed the way they were installing the sensors, and didn't tell Catcon.

Catcon was very perplexed as to why they were having problems. He called Monaco, and they assured him nothing had changed with the install. He then went out and looked at one of their RV's and instantly found the problem. They had started installing the sensors at the bottom of the tank. Then, of course, they would get all crudded up, and not work right. He said that they had to come out with a package to fix Monaco's mistake. So that made sense to me.

The price, for the three tank monitor, was 200 delivered. They are coming out with a LCD display, and we will upgrade to that when it becomes available (a couple of months).

So that is an update.

Thanks for all of the helpful input.

God bless,

John
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« Reply #28 on: August 13, 2009, 04:58:48 PM »

I had the monitor that required me to drill a holes.  The sensor probe was the rubber plug with the stainless screw in the center.  I tightened the  screw to much and the pressure causedthe hole to split.  And no it wasn't one of those watertight splits...  A repairman told me to take a soldering iron and run it around the inside of the hole and melt the rough, drilled, holes to prevent a crack from forming.

I can see into my black tank so "we doan neat no stink'n gachus".  Not for that tank.  My gray will back up into the tub so when it starts to fill from the kitchen or sink....time to drain. If we are in a tight spot, my tub holds another 40 gallons Grin  Really!  Winnebago thought of everything.  I don't leave my drains open.

John
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