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Old 11-25-2020, 10:26 AM   #21
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What do boats use to monitor fresh water levels? Since they're constantly shifting, I suspect the simple sensors used in RVs don't work. Do they monitor flow in and out, like battery monitors?
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Old 11-25-2020, 10:46 AM   #22
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....
I flush until all the lights go out and I am good to go until the next time.
This wouldn't work on mine since the bottom light indicates EMPTY and is always on - even when a tank is empty.
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Old 11-25-2020, 11:43 AM   #23
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On our last boat the water tank had a floating sender that went up and down with the level, like you would find in a gas tank. Worked fine but then the tank was 18 inches deep and held 200 gallons.

The black tank had a SCAD tank monitor. That had a copper strip on the outside of the tank with a remote display. Once you set empty and fuel correctly it was very accurate, showing level in eighths.

With RV tanks being wide and not very tall not sure either of those options would work.
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Old 11-25-2020, 11:36 PM   #24
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This wouldn't work on mine since the bottom light indicates EMPTY and is always on - even when a tank is empty.
They are all like this.
The empty light just indicates there is 12 volts to the system.
The first (lowest) sensor shorted is the 1/3 light.
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Old 11-25-2020, 11:37 PM   #25
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When we got our TT, the size of the tanks were all questionable. My dealer said one size but the FR site said another size for our model. So about the second year, I checked the manufacturer and model number stamped on the grey and black tanks and sent an email to the manuf. They confirmed these were 40 gal tanks. On one trip that summer i marked my water bucket for 3 gallons. After emptying the black tank completely, I began putting 3 gallons at a time into the toilet keeping track of how many gallons it took to trigger each light. Now I know when the full light comes on how many more gallons I still really have available.
Since we all have the same tanks, your data would be appreciated.

BUT

Each tank would be slightly different since the tanks are drilled by hand.
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Old 11-26-2020, 04:18 PM   #26
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Since we all have the same tanks, your data would be appreciated.

BUT

Each tank would be slightly different since the tanks are drilled by hand
.

Well, I need to correct my sizes. I found my notes and the Fresh water tank was 40 but the Grey and Black are 32 gallons. The dealer had told me the tanks were all 40 gal.

After emptying the black completely, my 1/3 light came on with only 2 gal added back in. Another 15 gallons added and the 2/3 light came on. Adding 12 more gallons triggered the full light so by adding these up, once the full light comes on I should have about 3 gallons to be maximum. Try this the next time you drain for comparison.
I hope everyone is having a great Thanksgiving. Stay safe.
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Old 11-27-2020, 08:17 AM   #27
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Originally Posted by Sebourn View Post
After emptying the black completely, my 1/3 light came on with only 2 gal added back in. Another 15 gallons added and the 2/3 light came on. Adding 12 more gallons triggered the full light so by adding these up, once the full light comes on I should have about 3 gallons to be maximum. Try this the next time you drain for comparison.
I hope everyone is having a great Thanksgiving. Stay safe.
Once again, levelness will impact the amount of liquid that can be held in the tank to illuminate you lights and total usable volume.
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Old 11-27-2020, 02:32 PM   #28
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Once again, levelness will impact the amount of liquid that can be held in the tank to illuminate you lights and total usable volume.

Agreed. I was level in a campsite at the time.
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Old 11-30-2020, 07:36 PM   #29
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All sensors are notoriously inaccurate. On order for is to "know" we did the following

When our gray indicator showed "full", I used a 5 gallon pail and added water until it reached the shower drain. We have a 40 gallon tank and it took about 18 gallons to fill out. So for us, full means just over half...

Similar tests with the black tank meant 3/4 full. Suggest you do your own experiment.
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Old 11-30-2020, 07:51 PM   #30
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i'm honestly kind of surprised that no one went the DIY route to improve their gauges.

they really are just glorified relays that are tripped just by the water making electrical contact in the tank via the "buttons".

it would be very easy to expand the amount of contacts (to double or even tripple) in/on the tank and hook up either a digital bar graph LED module (such as this simple one https://vetco.net/products/12-led-bar-graph-module ) and just put it in the old gauge shell with a part of the sticker cut out to allow viewing the addtional LEDs.

all your doing is shorting out the ground leg of each individual LED which then completes the circuit and lights that LED up to indicate the level.

you could even take the push button of the old gauge and jumper a couple wires to the new LED module to reuse the existing power lines to that gauge.


for a reference of how the concept works if you were to scratch build it look here: https://www.instructables.com/DIY-Si...-Water-Flow-S/


you would only add or subtract (why?) to the amount of LEDs and current limiting resistors to whatever resolution you'd like (how many increments to the gauge you'd like).

and obviously you'd change the ohm rating of the resistors to match whatever your source voltage is but that is only if your scratch building a gauge.
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Old 11-30-2020, 08:24 PM   #31
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fools guage

monitors only wprk for a few weeks
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Old 11-30-2020, 09:07 PM   #32
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Originally Posted by kenandterry View Post
Ever noticed how long the fuel gauge in your car reads full, and youíve been driving for quite awhile? It canít be full ALL that time.

The indicators are just that.....an indication of different levels.

I was thinking just the opposite: when your fuel gage says low, how low is it? You could just keep driving, but ...

When your tanks say full, you could just keep adding to them, but ...
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Old 11-30-2020, 09:45 PM   #33
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Originally Posted by Herk7769 View Post
This has been explained previously, but from the responses it looks like it could use a refresher.

The system uses 4 metal buttons that are installed by the factory in a convenient side of a more or less rectangular plastic tank. (see photo)

One is located on as close to the bottom as possible without hitting a seam and is connected to the system's ground wire.

Another is located about the same place on the tank vertically and although it is supposed to indicate 1/3 full on the monitor is really a "not empty" light.

The next one up is about 1/2 way up the tank wall and is the 2/3 full light, but indicates about 1/2 full.

The last is located about 7/8 the way up the wall and when the liquid level hits that, the tank indicates full.

Now, having said that, the levels only indicate the above when the tank is LEVEL. Any tilt to the tank will affect how the monitor reads when the button gets submerged.

If the tank is tilted away from the buttons, the tank may be "full" (not able to accept more liquid) while the middle indicator button only shows 2/3.

Conversely, when tilted towards the buttons, the tank may indicate full even though the tank can accept a lot more.

I attached the wiring diagram and troubleshooting guide if you are having issues.



Herk, didn't you change your tank sensors out to another brand? if you did how did that work out for you and what kind were they?
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Old 11-30-2020, 09:59 PM   #34
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Sooner or later...

Sooner or later, you'll learn to ignore the factory sensors on the black tank. They're notorious for giving false readings, since they gunk up with toilet paper and... stuff. Ultrasonic or capacitive sensors are much better. The capacitive sensor array goes on the outside of the tank, where it's not prone to contamination.
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Old 12-01-2020, 07:26 AM   #35
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The galley tank on my Cardinal 3600 is also serving the shower.
If the tank is full, water will start to leak in the kitchen sink since it is lower than the drain height of the shower.
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Old 12-01-2020, 09:03 AM   #36
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Holding tank mod.

Check out the Wandering Wagners on youtube. They did one Video where they replaced the monitor and added a sensor strip to their tank. It show fullness as a percentage. Although they have an easily accessible tank in their Super C MH.
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Old 12-01-2020, 12:18 PM   #37
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What a great post by Herk showing the tank sensors, size, placement in the frame etc. Man, you can't get more help than that from the manufacturers! Cudo's Herk!

My guess is that anyone that has been RV'ing for any appreciable amount of time has grown accustomed to ignoring their tank level idiot lights. About the only time I even think of checking them is when we have grandkids with us for a night or two. My DW and I have a pretty good idea of how long our tanks will last. Forty-five gallons of black tank waste is really a lot of poo. For the grey tank, as mentioned previously dishwashing seems to be the big water user and tank filler so we use a dishpan for the rinse water and dump that water outside where ever there is stone or blacktop. I would venture to guess most RVs with two people should allow you to get close to a week's use (that's what our goal is) with moderation and remembering where you are.

I know habits are hard for some to break and I realize there are many campers that use their RV utilities like water and waste tanks capacity as if they are home in their sticks and bricks. You see this on threads about different toilet papers to use.
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Old 12-01-2020, 12:31 PM   #38
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monitors only wprk for a few weeks
Keep the sensors and tank clean and they will work for a very long time. I just sold my 2005 Class A (with over 109,000 miles none-the-less) and the sensors were still spot-on.
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Old 12-01-2020, 03:39 PM   #39
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As RobbieH said, some folks work at keeping their sensors operational. When I first started out RV'ing someone told me to put a packet of black tank waste digester in the tank after I dumped it so it would be in there sloshing around between both the return trip and then the next time out. That worked just ok on the sensor light to the degree that it became less of a priority breaking camp, more often than not putting the digester in at the next campground. This past camping season we started to use Happy Camper (Amazon) in the black tank (more for TP digesting), and the grey tank periodically for cleaning, again putting it in after dumping. I must say my black tank lights do show empty more often (looking out of curiosity) with using that product.
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Old 12-01-2020, 04:31 PM   #40
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Thanks for posting the diagrams and pics!!! I really like to understand what going on and it's great to have someone like you help us all!
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