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Old 09-16-2012, 04:55 PM   #1
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What type Lp gas indicator do you use, or recommend?

Hey All, the reason I ask is we just got back from a weekender and our Lp went dry unexpectedly. I looked at the Lp tank before heading out and it read approx. 1/2 full but after just 1 full day it went dry. We don't use the propane much other than making coffee and heating water. The, new to us, furnace ran a few times during the night, 5-10 minutes tops each time, so I can't imagine it would have sucked that much propane. But anythings possible. We had the thermostat set at 60, as we tend to like it cooler.

Back to the Lp indicators. I noticed on another 20 lb. tank I had just re-filled, and knowing it was full b/c I watched the guy fill it on the scale, the indicator on this tank only read 1/2 way on the green color indicator as well. The Lp indicator on that tank is brand new. Now I'm wondering if these Lp indicators are less then reliable. On my other Pup I had the numeric measure level indicator which I liked much better than these color coded ones. Anyone else have problems, and also what type are you using for accuracy readings.

Here is a link to the ones I am referring to.

Amazon.com: Mr. Bar-B-Q Propane Tank Level Gauge: Patio, Lawn & Garden

Thanks All.
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Old 09-16-2012, 06:02 PM   #2
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Just installed 3 of them yesterday on my RV. They were 9 bucks each at Menards.

They work on pressure not volume so they will not tell you how much propane is left in your tank. I expect them to work like a gas guage in an old car. She runs on full forever then once the needle starts dropping, it bottoms out quick. Sooooo, when the guage is NOT on full, that should be your clue to lift a tank out and refill it. When it gets to bottom part of green or yellow, probably too late.

Here is another picture of what they look like.
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Old 09-16-2012, 07:35 PM   #3
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Thanks joelek,

It would be interesting to know when you FILL your tanks if your needle goes all the way to the top or stops at mid-point over the wording "Gas". I bought 2 of these ( brand new ) and both when "fully filled" indicate that the tank is 1/2 full in the green zone. I know they are full b/c I watched the guy fill them on the scale.
When I had my older Lp indicator on my last Popup, it had the 1/4/, 1/2, 3/4, and full indicator ( which showed it being FULL ) and was most accurate. These not so much.

If, and when, you fill your tanks I would be interested in knowing of how the gauge indicates. Maybe this is the new norm for these Lp indicators. So we adjust. Sheesh! Thanks again.
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Old 09-16-2012, 08:03 PM   #4
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They work on pressure not fluid level. In hot weather they tend to read top of the scale, at lower temps they will read mid to low. The only accurate methode is to weigh the tank.
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Old 09-16-2012, 08:11 PM   #5
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They are a 9 dollar piece of Chinese made you know what. Full is subject to interpretation. Remember these are pressure guages. When the pressure drops from were the guage needle has been sitting for days your tank is getting close to empty.

Here is another secret - those swap em out gigs where you give us your old tank and we give you another tank all nice and shiny and full. Well those cleaned up tanks only have 15lbs of propane not 20lbs. They don't fill them all the way full when they reconditon the tank. Ya got ripped off. But hey, your exchange tank is all cleaned up, has new white paint, and a brand new label on it. Makes people feel good when they open up their BBQ or RV and see a new white tank.
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Old 09-17-2012, 02:00 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by joelek View Post
Here is another secret - those swap em out gigs where you give us your old tank and we give you another tank all nice and shiny and full. Well those cleaned up tanks only have 15lbs of propane not 20lbs. They don't fill them all the way full when they reconditon the tank. Ya got ripped off. But hey, your exchange tank is all cleaned up, has new white paint, and a brand new label on it. Makes people feel good when they open up their BBQ or RV and see a new white tank.
Maybe so, however it is a good deal if your old tank is tx'd. It saves you paying 25 or 30 bux for a new tank as they have the new cert dat stamped into the top ring here in Canada anyway. I do that when I get a tx'd tank then just get it refilled at COOP when empty.
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Old 09-17-2012, 06:42 PM   #7
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What is a tx'd tank? Assuming that is on old trashed out one or an old one without the over pressure valve. IF you have a crapped out rusted out old tank, the exchange gig is a great buy. If you have a good tank and she is just empty, go get it refilled.

You Canadians must have special rules with propane. The Columbus 320RS model I have had 4 20lb tanks in 2012. Now they have 3 as they roll off the assembly line. Evidently having 80 pounds of propane was a no no in Canada so the Columbus recieved a design change. I have the 3 tank model and honestly it's just fine.
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Old 09-17-2012, 07:08 PM   #8
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I believe tx'd = time expired.
Canadian tanks have a date stamped into them, good for 10 years if memory serves (actually I have to learn this stuff better myself now...).
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Old 12-11-2012, 11:56 AM   #9
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As others have said, those gauges are strictly pressure gauges. Propane in the tank is a liquid held under pressure. That pressure is constant (except for temperature variations) until the last bit of liquid propane has evaporated in the tank. That is why a pressure gauge gives you little warning until it is too late. The same exact principle applies to CO2 fire extinguishers, as pressure gauges are useless on them also. They must be weighed to determine how much liquid CO2 is in them.

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Old 12-11-2012, 12:55 PM   #10
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For a rough guess take a cup of hot water. Pour it down the outside of the tank. After a few seconds you'll be able to feel with your hand where the tank goes from hot to cool. That's the level of the gas.
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Old 12-11-2012, 03:18 PM   #11
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I've gotten pretty good at tapping the tank with my finger, and judging by the pitch how much liquid is in the tank. It is even easier if you have 2 tanks, and one is always full; then you can compare the sound. Then again, if you have 2 tanks and 1 is always full, when one goes empty, you just switch to the full tank, and then re-fill the empty one at the first chance you get.

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Old 12-11-2012, 07:16 PM   #12
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My school of thought on this is, make sure you have an extra tank for your grill, and once the flame goes out, change it! not really a problem on the camper, since it already has two tanks, but I use the same thought process there. If I go to bed with the heat on, and wake up cold, it's time to switch to the other tank. I also use a small electric ceramic heater when we camp in cooler weather, so it's not that big of an issue.
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Old 12-11-2012, 08:07 PM   #13
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If you have 2 tanks leave both open. If one runs out of gas during the night you will not wake up cold because the 2nd tank will be the one that the gas is coming from. We winter camp in BC and we never ran out of propane. I also ran with 3 30lb tanks. I have found that when running the furnace a 30lb tank will last 6 to 7 days. After 4 days I would start checking the change over switch. When the gauge shows red I would switch to the other tank. Replace the empty tank with the spare full tank. I would then get the empty tank filled.
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Old 12-11-2012, 08:19 PM   #14
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Quote:
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If you have 2 tanks leave both open. If one runs out of gas during the night you will not wake up cold because the 2nd tank will be the one that the gas is coming from. We winter camp in BC and we never ran out of propane. I also ran with 3 30lb tanks. I have found that when running the furnace a 30lb tank will last 6 to 7 days. After 4 days I would start checking the change over switch. When the gauge shows red I would switch to the other tank. Replace the empty tank with the spare full tank. I would then get the empty tank filled.
Even with both tanks open, wouldn't you still need to flip the changeover switch on the regulator before it would run off of the second tank?
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Old 12-11-2012, 08:39 PM   #15
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It will change over on it own. If you leave the switch in the center then both tanks will empty at the same time.
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Old 12-11-2012, 08:40 PM   #16
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It will change over on it own. If you leave the switch in the center then both tanks will empty at the same time.
Didn't realize that, thanks!
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Old 12-12-2012, 07:56 AM   #17
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auto change over

I am suppose to have auto change regulator....is there such a thing? the regulator has a lever on the top that you can move thru 180 degrees so it can point to one tank entry hose or the other tank entry hose.....what happens it you move 90 degrees? do both tanks empty at the same rate? If you point to one hose does that tank empty first then switch over to the other tank?
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Old 12-12-2012, 09:45 AM   #18
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There is an auto change regulator. The tank that the switch is pointing at is the tank that will be supplying propane. When that tank is empty the gauge on the regulator will turn red and the other tank will supply the propane. If the switch is at 90 degrees both tanks will discharge at the same time. If you have a full tank on one side and the other is empty. if you set the switch to the center then the full tank will transfer propane to the empty tank and both tanks will become 1/2 full.
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Old 12-12-2012, 09:50 AM   #19
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I use the temp gun I check my wheels with when we stop for fuel. I can point it at the LP tank, starting at the top and moving down. I can see where there is a temperature change and know the level of the LP I have on a particular tank.
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Old 12-12-2012, 02:50 PM   #20
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X2 on the temp gun. Very usefull for checking the temp of tyres and bearings on the road too.
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