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Old 03-31-2013, 04:47 PM   #1
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Good bye MicroPulse....

......and good riddance!

I promised that I would report back after installing my new Tank monitoring system and here is my report.

The old system being removed was the factory installed Catcon MicroPulse.
Multiple replacements of sensors, control panel and wiring failed to bring the reliability I wanted so out it came.

New system chosen to replace the old is made by Garnet. I chose the model 7093PW for a number of reasons:
It has a switch for my water pump.
It has the ability to read propane tank sensors of the type used on the tanks sold by Vintage Supply in the 30 pound size (I can feel the next project taking shape...).
It uses tank sensors that literally stick to the outside of the tank thus making them impervious to the typical black tank sensor killer toilet paper. It was reasonably priced.

You can see the system here....SeeLeveL Gauges by Garnet Instruments Ltd. - Model 709-P3W

Installation was a leisurely 4 or 5 hour project over this weekend. I had to deal with creating a bezel for the new monitor as the Catcon monitor was larger than the new one. Then I used some West System epoxy and a small piece of plywood to fill one side of the old hole so the new panel screws had a place to bite (Airstream cut the hole too large for even the old panel and there were only two screws actually holding the panel in).
Finally I ran new wires (jacketed 14 gauge, tinned wire unused from an old boat project) to each sensor, boy am I glad I ran a wire pull the last time I was in there! Next each sensor is cut to length for each tank. Installing the sensors is easy-peasy, just clean the side of the tank with solvent and attach the sensor. I should point out that in the case of the 16' Airstream you can get at the water tank very easily as it is below the settee, I even had enough room to attach the black tank sensor through a hole in the floor beneath the closet. No under trailer work this time!
Finally just wire it all up and turn it on. Everything worked first time!

A couple of notes on the sensors bear discussion here. Think of these sensors as an electronic ruler that sees the tank level and reports back to the panel. The placement of the sensor on the side of the tank is critical if you are concerned about accuracy. For my fresh water tank I ran the tank to the point that the water pump began to suck air and then moved the sensor up and down until I found the spot where it just read zero. The trailer was level and I was fussy. The result is that as the monitor just indicates 0%, I have maybe a gallon or two before I suck air, exactly what I want. Due to the fact that the sensors can only be cut at pre marked segments the last 3/4" of the tank on the top is not monitored. That means I can go through 3 or 4 gallons before the tank monitor begins to show usage, or in other words I only read the bottom 90% of the tank. The same happens (in reverse) on the black or grey tanks. There I adjusted the position of the sensors to accurately read at the top of the tank. I did this by first emptying then measuring 23 gallons into my combined black/grey tank and adjusting the sensor to just read 100%.

I filled and emptied each tank to verify accuracy and everything is working perfectly!

Bruce
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Old 03-31-2013, 10:11 PM   #2
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Bruce,

Nice job. The installation looks great, and the control panel matches the existing switch plate.

Keep us informed of how the system operates in the long run.

A couple of questions:

How do the sensors connect to the panel -- is it just a wire connection?
How did you get to the tanks to connect the sensors -- did you drop the belly pan?

Thanks,
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Old 04-01-2013, 12:18 AM   #3
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Monitoring Your Monitor

I look forward to future posts about durability and performance. Thanks for providing the link to your choice. I may soon follow your lead.
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Old 04-01-2013, 06:02 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by tkowalyk View Post
Bruce,

Nice job. The installation looks great, and the control panel matches the existing switch plate.

Keep us informed of how the system operates in the long run.

A couple of questions:

How do the sensors connect to the panel -- is it just a wire connection?
How did you get to the tanks to connect the sensors -- did you drop the belly pan?

Thanks,
The SeeLevel sensors each have a pair of wires. One is a ground the other is a signal wire. I ran new wires for each sensor and brought each ground back to the panel so I could avoid ground loops.

On our trailer the water tank is easy to access it is under the front settee. I did not have to drop the belly pan for the black/grey tank as I could get the sensor in from the top using a small hole in the floor hidden in the closet.

Bruce
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Old 05-11-2013, 06:13 AM   #5
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72 days post Surgery and I am reporting back as promised.
No problems to date. This is more than 5 times the number of days I got from the MicroPulse. It seems so strange (but very nice!) to just push the button and see a tank level indicated that is about were you expect it should be....
I will continue to report back once in a while.
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Old 06-03-2013, 03:12 PM   #6
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Now we need someone to show us with the longer Airstreams how to access the waste and water holding tanks. It doesn't look like an easy job.

Kelvin
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Old 06-03-2013, 04:11 PM   #7
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Also, knowing how to pull the wires would be helpful.
Jay
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Old 06-03-2013, 05:02 PM   #8
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It is still working perfectly!
I cant help you with the wire pulls, in speaking with the dealer it is apparent that at times even they have to rethink these things as the factory builds so much of the harness into inaccessible areas.
Bruce
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Old 06-04-2013, 06:54 AM   #9
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I'm thinking for my 2008 Classic 25 the cables from the curbside Micropulse panel must run the street side. I think I've seen telephone like cables under the street side wardrobe access panel or behind the access panel behind the storage door under the refrigerator. There are cutouts in the subfloor under these locations and the street side shower to the waste tanks so I'm sure the wires go down to the waste tank outlet pipes.

I can't see why you couldn't use the existing wire, just cut of the RJ11 jack to expose the wires the connect to the new monitor. Then use the wire to connect to the new sensors of the new monitor system.

The real issue is pulling down the sheet metal pan to expose the two drain pipes coming off each waste tank. I'm sure AS puts the sensor in each drain pipe upstream of each valve. Downstream of the valves the pipes join together to the single delivery pipe. It appears it would've been easy for AS to put an access hatch at the bottom of the pan and just seal it with a few screws and caulk. Not only is it needed for replacing monitor sensors but what happens if you have to change out a dump valve.

The water tank is aft of the waste tanks. There is a Rotocast shell that protects the bottom of the water tank. I have no idea where the sensor could be, curbside or street side. Nor how to drop the shell.

Having a dealer replace these sensors may not be cost effective. Who knows if they even know. Maybe Colonial Airstream could do the work but I doubt my dealer, Vogt RV in DFW would have a clue. They couldn't diagnose my converter issue correctly.

Kelvin
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Old 10-05-2013, 07:27 PM   #10
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Six months in and everything is still reading properly
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Old 10-05-2013, 11:05 PM   #11
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Quote:
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Six months in and everything is still reading properly
Bruce
What do you charge for installation?? :-)

Congrats. My micropulse is still telling me my empty black tank is full (that is, when it decides to even register the black tank - sometimes it just skips that LED altogether! ).
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Old 10-06-2013, 08:38 AM   #12
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Yeah! What do you charge?
Our Micropulse says the fresh water is empty even when we just filled it.
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Old 10-15-2013, 11:33 AM   #13
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Bruce,

Please keep us updated on your success. I, like you all, have had no luck with my Micro Pulse and I'm tired of my trailer spending more time in the shop dealing with it than on the road. I may insist the factory swap out my Micr Pulse for something that works.
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Old 10-15-2013, 11:47 AM   #14
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My EB has this system from the factory, minus the propane sensors.
Works well for me, battery scans a bit lower than my volt meter.
It could be beta testing for an across the model range, factory upgrade in the future.
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