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Old 03-04-2010, 10:04 PM   #21
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The electric solenoid is a great idea. Check the voltage on the valves for a rainbird sprinkler system. I installed several in a green house operation some years ago. Can't remember if they were 12 volt or 18 volt. If twelve volt, would have to operate a toggle to fill tank, then turn toggle off, removing voltage so valve would close, and transport. Could also run a wire from the pump pressure switch to open the valve when the pump ran, this letting air in. Sounds like a plan.
Ohhhh, Yeah! connect it to the pump, didn't think of that. This is becoming "overly complicated" (in my best DR. Evil voice) and I love it! Gonna have to put my thinking cap on now.

Last summer I had found a 12 volt solenoid sold by a small company online that was for just such a purpose. I will have to look around and see if I saved the URL for it.
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Old 03-04-2010, 11:17 PM   #22
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If I'm not mistaken, the filler cap is not a sealed inlet, yes it tightens, but I believe it is vented with a two holes, one with the retainer lanyard to keep it from getting lost, thus the reason the vent hose is able to siphon, otherwise, the siphon would stop because the vacuum created (by the siphon process) would not be strong enough to collapse the tank, the purpose of the vent hose is to create a large enough vent when the high volume water is filling the tank. If this is the case, the solenoid connected to pump is a mute point
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Old 03-04-2010, 11:21 PM   #23
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Yep, you connect to the pump for letting air in when you need to. Will need a toggle switch/override to open the valve and let the air out while filling. Lowe's and Home Depot have irrigation valves, fairly small pipe for drip systems, barb fittings, I just can't remember the voltage rating. Would be great if they were 12 volt. I might can come up with wiring schematic if anybody would like. As I stated in an earlier post, doesn't affect me, but willing to help. Having and Electronics Degree has it's benefits.

Flyrotor, if you read all the posts, I think you will find it's not a siphon problem, it is apparently a "sloshing out" problem on these motor homes due to a shallow tank. The cap should seal on all trailers, due to health reasons and to keep rain out. The vent on my Work and Play is right beside the fill pipe, and actually higher than the fill pipe. The lanyard hole is only in the trim piece, and not through the fill pipe, yours may be different.

I hope I'm correct on all of this, and if not, somebody correct me. Just remember, I don't have a motor home, just trying to help.
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Old 03-04-2010, 11:38 PM   #24
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Yep, you connect to the pump for letting air in when you need to. Will need a toggle switch/override to open the valve and let the air out while filling. Lowe's and Home Depot have irrigation valves, fairly small pipe for drip systems, barb fittings, I just can't remember the voltage rating. Would be great if they were 12 volt. I might can come up with wiring schematic if anybody would like. As I stated in an earlier post, doesn't affect me, but willing to help. Having and Electronics Degree has it's benefits.

Flyrotor, if you read all the posts, I think you will find it's not a siphon problem, it is apparently a "sloshing out" problem on these motor homes due to a shallow tank. The cap should seal on all trailers, due to health reasons and to keep rain out. The vent on my Work and Play is right beside the fill pipe, and actually higher than the fill pipe. The lanyard hole is only in the trim piece, and not through the fill pipe, yours may be different.

I hope I'm correct on all of this, and if not, somebody correct me. Just remember, I don't have a motor home, just trying to help.
Windrider,

The issue I keep running into is that we need a solenoid that does not require current in either direction. IE, you want to supply momentary +12v to open or close the valve. Most that I can find are "normally open" or "normally closed". Obviously we wouldn't want to have to energize the solenoid continuously to hold it open when dry camping or it would be a constant drain on power.

For that reason I was thinking that a normally open solenoid valve rated at 100% duty cycle that was engergized (closed) with +12 volt, ignition switched power would be the best idea. That way you could never drive off having forgotten to close the vent valve, the solenoid would do it for you as long as the ignition on the RV was on. When you shut off the RV then the solenoid would de-energize and open the valve.
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Old 03-04-2010, 11:53 PM   #25
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That would be the best way, normally open valve, closed when 12 volts applied, wired to a switched ignition source. I was thinking irrigation stuff, and they are going to open only with 12 volts applied. That's why I suggested wiring to the pump, and override switch for filling. Normally open valve would work great, and simplify wiring. One wire to switched ignition source would keep it closed while traveling. Upon setting up camp, with ignition off, valve would be open. It would also be open for filling the tank, as long as the ignition was off, and would not be drawing any current while dry camping.
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Old 03-05-2010, 10:03 AM   #26
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I like it! Not totally automatic since you still need to power it when filling the tank, but it gets rid of the possibility of forgetting to open it when getting at camp.

Windrider, there is siphoning going on. I've filled the tank in my driveway until it comes out the vent and it will keep sucking water until the tank is over half empty without moving. The sloshing when driving gets the siphon started if it wasn't already.
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Old 03-05-2010, 11:27 AM   #27
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Siphon Question

I love the way you guys have taken off with my thread and brainstormed it to a solution. One question though. If I understand correctly during the water tank fill ignition stays off to allow air escape. Once the siphon draining starts to occur, then turn on ignition to close the valve. If the valve were opened again, wouldn't the siphoning start up immediately? I haven't tried this but wouldn't running a water tap or flushing a toilet stop the siphon? I know when I've siphoned gas or water the process interrupts easily.

While driving (ignition on) any water use would cause the pump to pull against a closed water tank system. I'm assuming the water tank is a plastic of some sort and could "shrink" a bit allowing a toilet flush or two. Once ignition goes off, valve opens vacuum is relieved but does the siphon start up again? If the siphon is always a potential, then a manual valve would seem to be the answer.

I occasionally get into a brain fart loop so forgive any stupid questions here.
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Old 03-05-2010, 11:46 AM   #28
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I like it! Not totally automatic since you still need to power it when filling the tank
Actually Ron, no this wouldn't be correct. Solenoid valves can be bought in either "normally open" which means the valve is open UNTIL +12v is supplied to the solenoid, or "normally closed" for which the valve would be closed UNTIL +12v is supplied to the solenoid. Just like electrical switches.

Therfore: If you select a "Normally Open" valve the vent would remain open, UNTIL you turn on the ignition on the rig, then the valve would close. Power would not need to be applied in order to fill the tank.
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Old 03-05-2010, 11:51 AM   #29
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While driving (ignition on) any water use would cause the pump to pull against a closed water tank system. I'm assuming the water tank is a plastic of some sort and could "shrink" a bit allowing a toilet flush or two. Once ignition goes off, valve opens vacuum is relieved but does the siphon start up again? If the siphon is always a potential, then a manual valve would seem to be the answer.

I occasionally get into a brain fart loop so forgive any stupid questions here.
The little amount of water used while on the road would not be a big concern as far as the vent being closed. If this were a concern you could have an override switch on the dash to cut power to the solenoid for that short amount of time but as it is now when we close the valve manually before we hit the road we still use water without the vent open.

Siphon could be a concern no matter which way you go. Whether the valve is opened by you or automatically a siphon could still start. My theory is that if the solenoid was installed right at the elbow on top of the tank then there would be no water head in the pipe to start the siphon process going.

When I hit the road yesterday to run the rig up to the repair shop I was in a hurry and forgot to close the vent. I drained water overboard all the way into town. The solenoid is starting to look better and better to me as my forgetful brain gets older.
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Old 03-05-2010, 12:03 PM   #30
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Well to answer the question, "wouldn't the siphoning start again?", NO. If the tanks has a vacuum from toilet flush, or other water running, as soon as the the ignition is turned off, the valve would open, and air would be drawn through the valve, back in to the tank, thus equalizing the pressure. Seems the siphoning doesn't start until there is sloshing.

"KISS" every project, in other words, Keep It Simple Stupid. I don't have one, and have no idea what the tanks or hoses look like. Could you put a tee in the vent line where it comes out of the tank, then add a piece of hose on the tee, run it across the tank and up the fill pipe using zip ties. Get it as high as you can, and leave it there. Now fill the tank until the water comes out of the overflow. Nothing should come out of your added pipe if it's high enough. Water will take the path of least resistance, and shouldn't climb up the added vent, but the new line will act as vacuum break, and will prevent siphoning. Won't help with the sloshing problem, still need a valve.

One other thought, go under the rig where the drain hose is. Add a piece of hose long enough to go somewhere. That somewhere would be engine compartment or other place where the extension could be turned up and gotten higher than the tank. Then turn it back down towards the ground so it can be monitored for tank full. It only has to be an inch or two higher. Length doesn't matter to vent hose.
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