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Author Topic: Water tank monitors  (Read 1519 times)
Merlin
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« on: June 14, 2006, 06:19:22 PM »

It is crunch time for me … have to purchase and install a tank monitor soon.  The area where the remote readout panel will be placed is about to be constructed and I need to get a gauge in there.

For a long time I’ve been collecting info on gauges, and the one that I settled on is not available in a two tank model, but the factory rep promised to ask the engineers to whip up one for me.  Now, that looks like a slim chance.  They don’t seem to be getting motivated.

My other choices are expensive.

Ultra 8 by Snake River Electronics = $239.95 plus 35.95 for each sensor set.   http://tinyurl.com/hmjdq

Vena Engineering = $299.00 with sensors for three tanks
http://tinyurl.com/cxqpc

Catcon Products
http://www.catconproducts.com    Price unavailable from info on web site.

713 SeeLevel III with sensors = $699
http://tinyurl.com/zcaoy

Am I missing something here?  Why are these so expensive?  All I want is a simple two tank monitor … no frills, but I want it to be more than just four lights (F, ¾, ½, and ¼).  I like the more definitive readouts in digital format.

Has anyone located a simple two tank gauge?
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belfert
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« Reply #1 on: June 14, 2006, 06:30:25 PM »

Snake River Electronics will give you a better deal if you call.  They don't have any kits with the Ultra 8s and the sensors listed on the web site.

There were Venas on Ebay for $199 or less all the time for at least a few weeks back about 8 weeks ago or so.  I decided I should look at buying one and the deals were gone.

Brian Elfert
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jjrbus
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« Reply #2 on: June 14, 2006, 06:36:05 PM »

I purchased an Accuguage several years ago, It will monitor 4 tanks and battery. It has aluminum strips which mount to the tanks. It is a step above the old in the tank sensors, but not a great improvement. The best way I have found to accurately determine how much is in tank is in the freshwater is to hold a lite up to the tank, I have a sight glass on the blackwater. Added after the accugauge. Fast Fred suggests a flashlight aimed down the toilet into the tank.  All in all if I had too do it over again I would not spend $200 on a gauge. But a few years have went by and maybe the new monitors are a much better breed. Keep us informed.
                                                                                               Work?/Play safely Jim
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Merlin
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« Reply #3 on: June 14, 2006, 06:51:01 PM »

...  Fast Fred suggests a flashlight aimed down the toilet into the tank.  All in all if I had too do it over again I would not spend $200 on a gauge. But a few years have went by and maybe the new monitors are a much better breed. Keep us informed.

Yes the old "look in and see the level" is foolproof.  Probably will be my job since the wife will have a tizzy if I tell her to check the black tank.  Much thinking tonight has me on the right track.  I will install two bright lights behind the tanks and put the switch at the front of the water bay.  Easy enough to look at the levels that way .. then I will build in a place for a future tank monitor remote panel and put enough wires behind it to handle any fancy-schmancy monitor that will come along.  Wires are already in place from the water bay to the front of the bus.  Next I will just wait for technology to hit me between the eyes with a new tank monitor/sensor gizmo somewhere in the future.  If I wait long enough something is bound to turn up and it better be in my price range.
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NJT5047
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« Reply #4 on: June 14, 2006, 07:15:25 PM »

Don't have a "Vena" tank monitor...but have a Vena electrical panel monitor and it works great.  Covers almost all functions anyone would need (and functions that no one needs), and can be "multiplexed" if necessary for additional functions.  And Vena monitors are compact and use little battery power...    One thing about the LCD panels (Vena)...plan to mount them at eye level.  The are not easily viewed from below or above.  They are easily read from most angles with the backlight on, but then you gotta push a button for the light.   I plan to get a Vena tank monitor  to match the electrical panel.  I bought the electrical panel from ebay for $124 bucks...this was an oversight on the part of someone.  Cannot believe it didn't sell for more.  Doubt most people knew what it was...they had a funky title on it.  The tank monitors that I've watched brought over $200 bucks most of the time.  They are in season right now.  My LED tank monitor works fine, just is low tech....and doesn't match the Vena Monitor.   
Be certain that your tanks are compatible with whatever monitor you buy.  Some material isn't...stainless and alluminum tanks often are not compatible with inexpensive monitors. 
Vena offers online wiring and install directions...so if you plan on this, you can prewire the unit.  It will (may) have a bundle of phone sized wires going to the tanks. 
All the shunts and transformers on Vena units also use twisted pair phone cabling.
CampingWorld sells Vena Engineering monitors.  Vena Engineering has a descriptive website.
Good luck, JR
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jjrbus
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« Reply #5 on: June 15, 2006, 05:36:53 PM »

Bright light behind tank sounds like a great idea. Instead of running wires how about a large conduit?
                                                                                                                                        Work?/Play safely Jim
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El-Sonador
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« Reply #6 on: June 15, 2006, 05:47:15 PM »

Anything available in wireless... ?

Will you be using your computer to integrate and monitor all the bus info in addition to these tank levels...?


Steve
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TomC
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« Reply #7 on: June 15, 2006, 10:53:10 PM »

My monitor is very simple.  I mounted the 130gal water tank under the rear bed and cut 4 staggered slits in the wood.  With a bright light above the tank, can see the level in about 2 seconds.  To check the gray tank (85gal so it takes a few days to fill) use a flashlight when dark. As to the black tank, since my tank is offset by about three feet, I can't look down into it.  Instead, I know when I need to dump is when the toilet "burps" when flushing. Simple, not going to upgrade.  Good Luck, TomC
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