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Author Topic: Tire pressure monitoring system purchase advice?  (Read 4154 times)
John316
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« on: February 07, 2011, 08:10:36 AM »

So we don't have a TPMS, but we are looking into them now.

Does anybody have advice on them? What has worked, what hasn't?

Jim, I know you sell them. For our bus, how much would we be looking at for a system? How are they mounted? Are they caps, or are they bands that go inside of the wheel? How reliable are they?

Thanks.

God bless,

John
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« Reply #1 on: February 07, 2011, 09:16:22 AM »

Hi John.  You have a ton of options.  You mention the inside the tire system (Smart Tire  http://www.smartire.com/rv ).  that is a great system, but most folks do not like the idea of dis-mounting their tires.  Also kind of expensive.

The rest of the systems use a valve stem mounted transducer.  There are a huge number of new systems on the market now.  Some are pretty inexpensive.  Most to the new ones are what I call "Chinese knockoffs".  Not sure that is all bad, but most have not developed a track record yet.

I market the Pressure Pro system which is the old tried and true system.  Not much in the way of bells and whistles, just kind of does its job and is not a system you have to worry about.  For years, I marketed Doran systems that were the same as the Pressure Pro.  Several years ago, they developed their own system and cut off the small dealers.  I stayed with the Pressure Pro system for one reason, it was compatible with the SilverLeaf system and that lets you display all of your tires at one time with both color icons and actual pressures.

To give you a feeling on price, the Pressure Pro system is $190 for the monitor and $50 a tire.  For bus folks, I discount that 5% (terrible margin on the product).  If you shop around, you can get the new systems for about 60% of that number - just be aware that some of the new kids have not been proven.

Jim
« Last Edit: February 07, 2011, 09:18:54 AM by rv_safetyman » Logged

Jim Shepherd
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« Reply #2 on: February 07, 2011, 09:20:24 AM »

John -

Support those who support us!!

 Wink
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« Reply #3 on: February 07, 2011, 09:53:14 AM »

Jim,

Thanks for the info. That is exactly what I was looking for. My question would be, how durable are those caps? Are they heavy enough to mess with the tire balance?

Otherwise, I usually like to stick with a well known manufacture, and not the cheaper junk.
John -
Support those who support us!!
 Wink

You bet, RJ. Whenever possible.

Thanks.

God bless,

John
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« Reply #4 on: February 07, 2011, 10:12:15 AM »

John, I have never heard of any problems with the transducers in terms of durability or affecting the balance.

The PP sensor is .7 oz, so pretty light.  On top of that, that weight is only about 2/3 of the radius, so the impact is minimal.  I have installed them on various cars and did not have to re-balance the tire.

Some folks worry about battery replacement.  I installed my system in 12/04 and the batteries are still going strong.  My sensors have been on at least 90% of the time since then and when the sensor is on, it is working and sending signals to the monitor.  I always recommend that folks store the units in plastic bags marked with the tire location if they are going to be parked for several weeks.  That saves the battery.

Jim

BTW, thanks RJ  Grin
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Jim Shepherd
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« Reply #5 on: February 07, 2011, 01:40:21 PM »

I got the Hopkins system from Camping World when it was on sale for $299, it is normally $399, with six tire valve sensors.

It wouldn't work properly until I complained to their tech support by phone. I was walked through the setup process and it still didn't work properly. The tech finally sent me a remote boost transmitter to mount in the rear inside of the 4104 and it worked well after that. I transferred it to my 4107 and it refuses to work on the left front tire but I'm certain I can resolve that if I give them another call.

The 4107 has Al wheels and they are a real pain in the a.. because of the very small holes and long valve stems required, I hate these things!! Installing the sensors is almost impossible on the rear inside dual unless you have very small hands. Needless to say I don't remove them when parked for extended times or ever, unless I absolutely have to!! I miss my steel wheels.

I also had problems when I removed the old sensors from the 4104. The sensor has a tiny black sealing washer which sticks to the valve stem when the sensor is removed, then air pressure shoots the washer across the parking lot and into oblivion! I called Hopkins and asked for some new washers but they sent me free new sensors instead, so I can't complain about their excellent service and attitude. The remote booster was also sent at no charge, the retail price is $100.
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« Reply #6 on: February 07, 2011, 02:00:18 PM »

Thanks for the info, Gus.

Jim, would we need their booster too? Right now we are looking at spending approximately 600, maybe some more, to get our system. Is that about right? Otherwise how much is the booster?

Thanks.

God bless,

John 
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« Reply #7 on: February 07, 2011, 02:38:08 PM »

I purchased a PP system from Jim a long time ago and never used it! The monitor is attached to the dash and the sensors are still in the original packaging. One reason is that  I had to have longer valve stems. Another is I needed new tires. I got the tires and the stems but then I found out I was listening for OTHER sounds that were more important at the time. I SURE didn't need a tire sensor squeeling at me scaring me to death when I was worried about OTHER issues that have since been tried and tested. I guess I could go ahead and install the sensors and program them to the bus now that everything else is in working order except for my silverleaf... Jim > (hint hint)  Wink  Smiley
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« Reply #8 on: February 07, 2011, 02:45:31 PM »

You don't need a booster on Jim's system they pickup the toad also if you go that way the toad is where I always had a problem I could feel a bad tire on the bus 

good luck
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« Reply #9 on: February 07, 2011, 03:17:44 PM »

    I talked to a PressurePro dealer at YeeHaw Bluegrass Festival.  I learned a couple things. First, you do not need valve stem extensions a 1" 12 point socket can be used to install the sensor on the inside dual (just make sure valve stem is straight so you do not cross thread the sensor.  They is a small LED in the monitor that will flash when a sensor battery gets low (to let you know).
   We have had ours since about 05 and no problems yet with any low batteries in the sensors. We have never removed them since installing them, except when changing tires.  We have then on the bus and the Grand Cherokee. We have never noticed any problems of any kind relative to the sensors. When towing our golf cart trailer behind the bus, I simply remove the sensors from the front wheels of the Jeep and install them on the trailer (left on left and right on right). 
   Only negative we have experienced is forgetting to turn the monitor off when we arrive. If you filled your tires at 80 degrees and you travel to NC and the temperature drops to somewhere in the40s, the pressure in the car tires will sometimes drop enough to set off the alarm, usually at about 4 AM.  Jack
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« Reply #10 on: February 07, 2011, 03:54:29 PM »

WOW Jack, thanks for the tid bits! Never knew you could use a 1 inch socket and NO extensions! Might have to go and try that, well tomorrow maybe since it's raining now! LOL
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« Reply #11 on: February 07, 2011, 04:04:24 PM »

Rain stopped here about 45 minutes ago.  The socket has to be a 12 point.  Jack
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« Reply #12 on: February 07, 2011, 06:16:32 PM »

That is awesome info, guys. Thanks!

We will talk it over. I think we will probably be placing an order with Jim Grin.

God bless,

John
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« Reply #13 on: February 07, 2011, 08:44:01 PM »

I also got the system from Jim 4 or 5 years ago and i am very happy with it. I take them off if i am going to be in a place for more than a week,.....and i do store them in marked ziplock jewelers bags. Grin
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« Reply #14 on: February 07, 2011, 10:33:16 PM »

We use the pressure pro and If I had it to do again I would use their competitors product that is the same technology but allows you to air up thru the sensors without removing them. If I can remember the link later Ill post it. Every time you air up a tire you reset the baseline on that particular sensor and every time you reinstall you have the potential of creating a leak the very thing you are trying to avoid. In order for them to work you are actually depressing the stem and if it is not completely tight they will leak.

Other than that concern it is one of the best accessories I ever bought.

Moderator edit:  Tough call as it looks interesting, but technically is advertising, so content removed.
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« Reply #15 on: February 08, 2011, 06:43:21 AM »

Joe, that is a slick device.  It must be fairly new, as I have not seen it at any of the trade shows we have attended.

It is a sophisticated version of the old method - long antenna mounted sideways on the bumper of the toad/trailer with a tennis ball on the end.  This is electronic version is much more reliable.  

The technology is very straight forward and should work just fine.  The $498 price is not all that bad and if it saves any damage to the toad, it would pay for itself.

I had to laugh thinking about towing on I-10 on the FL-NM route (or many other interstate) and having to listen to the receiver beep.   Looks like you can adjust the sensitivity and it apparently looks for a repetitive signal.

Jim

Update:  Joe, I just noticed that you are a dealer.  Kind of a sneaky way to advertise  Roll Eyes



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Jim Shepherd
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« Reply #16 on: February 08, 2011, 06:53:46 AM »

He is pretty slick Jim I wasn't going to say anything lol I knew you would catch that one

good luck
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« Reply #17 on: February 08, 2011, 04:46:53 PM »

Jack,

I can't hear mine but it has a red or yellow light which blinks.

Too many hours in noisy airplanes has eliminated my high frequency hearing completely!!
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« Reply #18 on: February 08, 2011, 06:37:02 PM »

The PP works.  I'm sure that there are others that do too.  Also, I would expect that, as time goes on, there are likely to be various new features added.  Although being able to air up without removing the sensor may be a benefit, I am not sure that it is.  I did not see the link so do not know how it works, but removing the sensor takes barely more effort than removing a valve stem cap.  If the sensor has its own Schrader valve, then it might not be that much of a savings in effort.  Also, if the valve stem points inward, the sensor would be extending the fill point away from you possibly making it less convenient.  I would guess that my hands are smaller than many here, but reaching into the wheels is always a drag.  I have even enlarged the holes in my front wheel covers to make it easier.   Again, I emphasize that I am just speculating.

By the way, the PP does not reset each time the sensor is removed.  The monitor retains the original setting until you manually reset it.
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« Reply #19 on: February 09, 2011, 05:47:45 AM »

Lin, need to correct your last statement.  If you remove the sensor for more than one minute (my experience is about 30 seconds), the system will reset the system to the new pressure as the base pressure. 

That is a neat feature if you move the sensors between two different toads.  I used to tow my Jeep Commando with big tires that I ran at 24 PSI.  I now tow my service truck which has 19.5 tires and takes 70 PSI.  All I have to do is move the sensors to the same location on the other toad, and the system automatically baselines the TPMS system for the different tire systems.

Jim
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Jim Shepherd
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« Reply #20 on: February 09, 2011, 09:26:36 AM »

Thanks for the correction.  I had thought it saved the setting along with the tire position.  So, if I understand, when reattaching the sensor for my next trip the pressure in the tire at that time is the new baseline?  Thanks
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« Reply #21 on: February 09, 2011, 09:41:19 AM »

Lin, the confusion might come about in that the monitor *does* remember the code for each sensor and where it is located.  Thus you need to make sure you get the sensor back on the same wheel.  It also remembers the baseline for that sensor.  However, it re-sets the baseline if it does not see the sensor for perhaps a minute.  You do not need to do any manual baseline setting in the monitor.

You are correct, when you put the sensor back on the same wheel, the pressure that it reads will become the new baseline.  From that baseline, you will get the first alarm at 12.5% below that base and the big alarm at 25%.  Thus, you will need to make sure that your tires are inflated properly before you put the sensor on.  If by chance you install the sensors and find out that the tires are not inflated correctly, all you have to do it take the sensor off, adjust the pressure and put the sensor back on.  Then you will have a new baseline.

Recall that temperature can affect the pressure by quite a bit.  I have noted a 5-10% swing with a big swing in ambient temperature - not considering the temperature increase when running.  That is the reason folks tell you to shut off the monitor at night if it gets real cold outside - false alarm.

Jim
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Jim Shepherd
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« Reply #22 on: June 24, 2011, 11:55:07 AM »

You mention the inside the tire system (Smart Tire  http://www.smartire.com/rv ).  that is a great system, but most folks do not like the idea of dis-mounting their tires.  Also kind of expensive.


I like the idea of a TPMS that can report temperature as well, so I've been researching options in case we want to have a system installed at the same time we get our new wheels and tires.

I checked out Smart Tire, but it seems that they have explicitly pulled out of supporting RV uses of their system:
http://www.smartire.com/rv

They don't even provide an easy list of dealers anymore - seems they are focusing only on fleet and major commercial applications now.  I wonder why?  Does anyone know anything about their pulling back from the market?  Are they still something worth pursuing?  I know Sean loves his setup.

I did find this Hawkshead system that supports temperature as well, and doesn't need to be mounted inside the wheel:
http://www.tpms.ca/PTHD.html

I found this Pressure Plus system on Amazon - seems to do temperature too:
http://www.amazon.com/PressurePlus-6-Sensor-Pressure-Monitoring-System/dp/B003GCLJZO/ref=dp_cp_ob_auto_title_1

A few more details: http://www.pacific-dualies.com/products/tpms/

I found lots of people selling the Pressure Pro system, all claiming to be the cheapest with the best support.  But if there is a better system out there, I'd like to know about it.

Another system, no temperature, seems like a Pressure Pro clone:
http://www.doranmfg.com/tirepressuremonitorproducts.htm

Any thoughts on the options?  Does anyone have any experience with Hawkshead or Pressure Plus?

It seems like most are valve-cap style user installable, so unless I want to track down a Smart Tire installer I should be able to get by without picking a TPMS immediately.  I was worried that I would need to decide the TPMS system before we bought tires and wheels.

Thanks!

   - Chris
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« Reply #23 on: June 24, 2011, 12:36:57 PM »

The temperature feature is not all that great we have that on our S&S the PP does  the same the temperature goes up on a low tire and the PP sets the alarm off with low pressure,I cannot see the benefit myself unless I missing something lol

good luck
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« Reply #24 on: June 24, 2011, 12:53:42 PM »

... I checked out Smart Tire, but it seems that they have explicitly pulled out of supporting RV uses of their system:
http://www.smartire.com/rv

They don't even provide an easy list of dealers anymore - seems they are focusing only on fleet and major commercial applications now.  I wonder why?  Does anyone know anything about their pulling back from the market?
...

Wow, this is bad news for us (as if I needed any more right at the moment).  We are end-of-life on the (non-replaceable) sensor batteries, and it looks like we will have trouble getting sensors.  Hopefully the sensors are identical on the bus units (I know when we bought the system that the sensors were the same for the heavy trucks) and we can just buy them through that channel.

I'll let you know what I find out.

If you decide on a non-temperature model, I will put in a good word for Jim Shepherd.  But I still like our temperature reporting, for all the reasons I listed on the phone.  If I have a dragging brake or a bad wheel bearing I'll know it right from the driver seat.

-Sean
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« Reply #25 on: June 24, 2011, 01:11:19 PM »

Major truck lines just use the CrossFire system on the duals and that is a equalization system that is all I ever had on my trucks never saw a system like PP or smart tire on Swift's trucks and Jerry has over 5000 units with 18 wheels lol just the Crossfire systems 

good luck
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« Reply #26 on: June 24, 2011, 01:30:28 PM »

I will say that we have Jim's (rvsafetysystems) system on our bus. We ordered it, as a result of this thread.

My thoughts....we were considering this, vs the smart tire. We opted for this one, for ease of installation. Overall we have been very happy with it.

We have gotten a few codes on hot days. The pressure expands over the 20% upper threshold, and we get an alarm. I simply set the upper limit a little hire, and no problems.

Otherwise, thank you Jim. We like it, and it gives us a great sense of security.

John
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« Reply #27 on: June 24, 2011, 06:49:51 PM »

John, thanks for the kind words.  I have sold sets to many of the regulars on this board and I think they are all happy.

Sean, Smarttire sold their company to Bendix and they are still in business:

http://www.smartire.com/rv

In my opinion, they are the only TPMS that can truly measure tire temperature since the sensor is inside the tire.  All the others that claim to measure temperature are stem mounted systems and I think it is a huge stretch to say that they measure tire temperature accurately.

There are a lot of system available with a pretty good spread in price.  In the last few years, there have been several off-shore manufacturers move into the market.  Some have done well, and others have had some significant problems. 

Many folks just bite the bullet and buy the tried and true products such as Pressure Pro, Doran 360 and Smarttire.  They are the well know vendors and have good track records.

Jim
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« Reply #28 on: June 24, 2011, 06:56:55 PM »

Mine are inside the tire and checking the tire with the IR gun they are not close and I have checked the gun 

good luck
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« Reply #29 on: June 24, 2011, 08:45:07 PM »

Clifford, you are the first person I have heard of the looked at the calibration of the Smarttire system.  Which way was the tire exterior temperature? 

I have had folks tell me that they pick up a lot of brake temperature on long down hill sections.

I always make the point, that tire temperature is not a good measurement of potential tire problems -at least from a preventative point of view.  By the time the tire gets too hot, the damage is done.

In my seminars, I talk about using your hand to check tire temperature.  Most folks can leave their hand on something that is 140*.  Anything hotter, and you quickly remove your hand.  Folks who do welding can handle a bit higher temperature.  In any case, if the  tire feels comfortable to the touch, it is less than 140*.  On a hot day, you are good to go.  Rule of thumb, but it seems to be pretty universal.

Jim
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Jim Shepherd
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« Reply #30 on: June 25, 2011, 07:17:08 AM »

Jim has a good point. Whenever we stop, I check the tires with my hand.

Now, I will say there are days when it is very hot, and I feel the tires. Then they might be a tad warmer then I can handle....
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« Reply #31 on: June 25, 2011, 11:39:07 AM »

It appears as if the Pressure Pro sensors actually transmit temperature data as well, though with very coarse accuracy:

http://www.advantagepressurepro.com/images/Temperature_Measurement.pdf

They also seem to offer ways to get at the raw data stream from the monitor via RS-232, potentially useful for future geek projects.  Neat.

   - Chris
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« Reply #32 on: June 25, 2011, 03:22:23 PM »

Since my last post I turned on the Hopkins monitor again and it is wrong on every tire. Two are reading low by 14 psi and two are reading high by about the same amount?? Two are not reading at all!

It could be because I'm parked near two metal buildings, had that problem before but I'm going to call their tech support again.

If I can't get this corrected Jim may be hearing from me because I'm not going to be without them again.
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« Reply #33 on: June 25, 2011, 07:25:52 PM »

check these guys out too, they've been around a little while and have good prices.
http://www.tsttruck.com/
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