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Old 08-16-2014, 10:53 PM   #1
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Tank sensor errors - I discovered something. Theory.

Recently started out a trip from home with perfectly clean tanks and tank level sensors reading zero. Got to our site and after setting up went inside to wash hands and use the "facilities" and then out of force of habit checked my tank levels. Found they were both almost half full! After immediately ruling out the possibility that this was an accurate level I flashed back to another trip where I had a similar experience. Both trips were made in the rain. Lots of rain. It continued to rain on and off through the nite and finally stopped the next morning. Later that morning I took a peek under my trailer and verified what I thought was the cause for the totally wrong reading. The outside of the tanks were wet and a little dirty. The sensor wire connections were wet and dirty. The wet crude on the outside of the tank was conducting electricity in the sensor circuit just like water inside would do. Once it dried up later that day the readings returned to normal. For now I am going to coat each sensor wire connection on the outside of the tank with silicon. I'm pretty sure this will stop the false readings due to wetness on the outside of the tank. I have read here where lots of other people have had erratic readings and wonder if this is one of the causes. I have a feeling that even early morning dew could cause this but probably dependent on the tanks size, shape and how far apart the sensors are mounted.

Any takers?
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Old 08-17-2014, 07:10 AM   #2
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Sorry, but I don't think that's the answer to the erroneous indicator problem.

The tanks on our Sunseeker are enclosed so water and dirt from the road cannot get to the sensors. I still have the same problem of starting with empty and clean tanks (cleaned with a water jet) showing empty initially but showing 1/3 or 2/3 full as soon as anything goes into the tanks.

I ignore the black and grey tank level indicators. I can check the black tank level through the toilet and the grey tank is full when the shower has water standing in it. We know that the two of us can use water normally for three days and the fourth day is iffy. We seldom stay in one place without hookups for more than three days so that works for us. The fresh water indicator lights always work properly.
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Old 08-17-2014, 07:27 AM   #3
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Agree with Rambler,we don't even look at the panel indicators! We know how many days before tanks are in need of dumping! Goshen Rally+ 2days extra,we dumped the day we left! Youroo!!
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Old 08-17-2014, 07:39 AM   #4
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Hmmm... I see your theory, and how you come to that conclusion. Wet wiring = faulty, and dry wiring = correct readings makes sense to me.
As a boat owner I also put a blob of silicone around all of the crimp splices 8 have had to re-make due to corrosion.
i'm interested in hearing if your sealed splices put an end to your faulty level readings.


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Old 08-17-2014, 08:15 AM   #5
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Probably the biggest complaint is tank sensor readings. Mfgs. Offer every option available so you would think they would offer an option to upgrade the sensors to something that works reliably. I can order a fireplace in a 25 ft trailer but not a decent sensor. A few years ago I had a class c that that problems. I installed a see level tank sensor system. The adhesive sensor strips were placed on the outside of the tank and used the existing wires to hook it up to the tank sensors and new inside monitor. No other modifications were necessary and it worked flawlessly. And cost around $300.00. If one Mfg. starts it the rest will follow. I just don't get it!
(Just venting my 2 cents)


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Old 08-17-2014, 08:33 AM   #6
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If your tanks are exposed and dirty, then when wet you absolutely will get bad readings. Cleaning and coating the nuts/wires with silicone is a great idea (though will make replacing the probes problematic if needed).

There are many causes of bad readings and most are "people" and "environment" caused as you have discovered.

Environment causes include:

Probe location - A "1/3"probe located too close to the bottom of the tank becomes a "not empty" light as one or two flushes can make the connection to the ground probe.

Slimy/dirty tank walls - (IN or OUT) will allow a small trickle of signal to short the probes causing erroneous readings

Levelness of camper - tilting the tank towards the sensors results in tanks that indicate filling faster than they should since the tank bottoms are sloped. In the case of the fresh water tank levelness, not only will the readings be erroneous, they can prevent you from getting a full load of water and/or having a lot of "unusable" water due to vent and pump outlet location.

People caused:

Bad tank maintenance habits - Using the "Geo" method EVERY dump will keep the inside walls from accumulation conductive slime in the black tank (search for this). My technique if to use a laundry load of laundry soap, CALGON "water softener" (NOT FABRIC SOFTENER or SALT!) with 4-5 gallons of water, after every dump.

15 - 20 minutes if "Turbo-flushing" the black tank when in full hookups every dump; followed by treatment above.

GRAY tank troubles include "longish hair" and food scrapings in drains. ALWAYS use a drain screen in the kitchen sink and shower.

A permanent fix is to replace the OEM button type probe with "Horst Miracle Probes." An easy mod that uses non-stick Teflon stand offs to prevent "cross wall" shorts and bad readings.




Where to buy:

http://www.horstmiracleprobes.com/buy.php
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Old 08-17-2014, 08:52 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RamblerGuy View Post
Sorry, but I don't think that's the answer to the erroneous indicator problem.
I only said it was ONE of possible reasons for wrong readings, and probably not in the majority of cases. In my case it was cut and dry. Everything else in my trailer as far as how I treat and clean the tanks is a constant and proven over trips out every other weekend. My sensors work good, more or less, and I use the GEO method all the time. I haven't sealed the connections yet so I'm going to experiment with a hose and spraying down the tanks sometime soon and see what happens. can't simulate the dirt though but I will see.
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Old 08-17-2014, 08:59 AM   #8
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I use dish washer soap in mine to clean the tank and sensors. At the end of each trip I put one cup of dish washer soap in each tank with a couple gallons of water. By the time I get home the tanks get cleaned out pretty good. I have been doing this for 20 years and 3 trailers and no sensor issues.
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Old 08-17-2014, 09:04 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LouNick View Post
Hmmm... I see your theory, and how you come to that conclusion. Wet wiring = faulty, and dry wiring = correct readings makes sense to me.
As a boat owner I also put a blob of silicone around all of the crimp splices 8 have had to re-make due to corrosion.
i'm interested in hearing if your sealed splices put an end to your faulty level readings.


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if you are trying to prevent corrosion with standard rtv,you will be fighting a losing battle. ordinary rtv when curing emits acedic acid which in itself is corrosive.to prevent this,alcohol cure rtv is available. 2 of the products are Dow Corning 3145 and G.E.162.this type of rtv should be used on any electronic application.
AnaLog Services RTV Silicones
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Old 08-17-2014, 09:12 AM   #10
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Liquid Rubber would also be useful.

4 oz. Red Liquid Tape | U.S. Plastic Corp.
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