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Old 01-17-2013, 09:42 AM   #1
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Help With MicroPulse Tank Monitor

Need some help from you guys so reach in your pockets and pull out your $0.02 and letís hear it. I have had ongoing problems with my tank monitor system in my í12 25FB FC since 2 weeks after I bought it. Itís consistently read wrong since I purchased the trailer in October of 2011. It has now been in the shop 5 times for it. Theyíve consistently recalibrated it, the panel has been replaced and the sensors have been replaced.

Back in September I picked it up from the shop after the sensors had been replaced and it seemed to be working good. It worked for 3 weekend trips. The grey and black tanks seemed to be reading correctly. Iím not basing that only anything scientific, just that the levels started at empty and they gradually rose as I would expect them to throughout the weekend. Note that I did not transport fresh water with me on any of these three trips. The fresh water tank was empty the entire time.

In late November we went tailgating to a Texas A&M game so we needed fresh water. I filled up the fresh water tank before I left my house. I verified the tank monitor and it showed full in the fresh water and empty in gray and black, as it should. When I arrived at the site and got all setup I checked my monitor panel and it showed all tanks empty, including fresh. Of course my first concern was I had a crack or leak and had drained my fresh water on the drive but it was full. It ran all weekend and had extra at the end. We used our grey and black throughout the weekend as normal and at no point did the any of the tanks read anything but empty.

So I put it back in the shop end of December to address the issue again. Airstream didnít have any new ideas to fix it they just put the blame on the shop saying they didnít fix it the last time regardless of the fact that it worked on numerous trips before it failed. So it continues to get stranger. The shop went to test my tanks and when they filled the tanks they showed the grey and black reading correctly even though they failed for me. The fresh water continued to read empty even when filled. So they recalibrated on last Friday and they tested and they looked good. They went back on Monday and checked the levels again. Gray and black still showed full but the fresh had dropped to 7/8 full. I told them I could live with that variance so I showed up yesterday to pick it up. We hooked up to it and pulled it up front to show me the progress and we got in it and flipped the monitor panel on and it shows gray half full, fresh and black empty but of course all tanks were full. We pulled the valves on them to verify they were full and they were.

Since I have a trip tomorrow I left with the trailer without a functioning monitor. I called AS and spoke to them and theyíre clueless. They have no solution. They have contacted the manufacturer and having him get in touch with me and the shop to see if they have any ideas. To their credit they did get with them yesterday and the manufacturer called me late yesterday but I was with a customer so I couldnít take the call. Iím hoping to speak with him today.

I see a lot of complaints on here about the system. So any ideas?
Any similar stories?
Has everyone just given up on your monitor being accurate?

The shop has tried multiple times to get AS to just allow him to install a Sea Level brand which he says is better but they refuse to pay for it. Does anyone have experience with this brand?

My other large frustration is that AS told me about the manufacturer and that they are in Dallas so I can bring it to a dealer in Dallas for the manufacturer to look at it. I canít say that I am very willing to tow the trailer to Dallas at my expense. That hasnít come to a head yet so weíll see if they try and force me to do that to get it addressed.
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Old 01-17-2013, 10:06 AM   #2
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Calibration, calibration, calibration. (sigh)

The instructions (MicroPulse) are not user friendly. You've got to read, then reread.

And oh, lest I forget, reread.

The manual basically tells you to measure each tank at its lowest, and then again, at its highest levels. You pull the plate that connects the telephone wire connectors to the circuity, according to which tank (s) you want to calibrate. In other words, it suggests you pull the connections to the tank that you DON'T want to calibrate.

Now things get a little messy at the dealership; say you want to calibrate the black tank. Do you think they want to make sure your tank is empty, before they set the low point calibration? And then wait until it's full and set the high point calibration?

Not too many conscientious dealers like that when I lived there (Dallas) between 1968 and 1987. And I suspect that number continues to dwindle.

My point?

I suspect your monitor works correctly, but this is one of those, "If you don't do it yourself, it's just not going to get done right!" scenarios.

Good luck, and happy reading! :-)
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Old 01-17-2013, 10:50 AM   #3
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Just a thought. You should have never taken your trailer to a Texas A&M game. There is so much #*@# floating around the parking lot that your monitor system probably became overloaded and couldn't differentiate between gray, black and fresh water. Remove all the exterior interference, let it rest and recalibrate. Should be an easy fix.

Trust me, I am a WSU Cougar fan and I know all about this stuff.
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Old 01-17-2013, 11:28 AM   #4
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I kind of have a hard time thinking they just need to be re-calibrated. For the most recent trips to the shop it's been at a small RV shop that specializes in AS, not just some dealer. These guys seem to be extremely thorough and genuinely concerned about getting it corrected.

Granted I don't have much experience with this system, but I can't see that a system that has been calibrated and functioned properly for a period of time (some long, some short) and then consistently loses calibration is functioning properly.

How often do you have to calibrate yours?

But I won't cross it out. After this trip I'll give it a shot myself and see if it works.

And you can lay the aggie jokes on thick. I am not an Aggie, my family is just overloaded with them and we usually get talked into tailgating with them one game a year.
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Old 01-17-2013, 11:33 AM   #5
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MurreyWalker Nails It

Most likely never calibrated.
Few dealers do it.
Few new owners do it.
Service departments just keep replacing sensors and components under warranty.
(Another big sigh.)
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Old 01-17-2013, 11:41 AM   #6
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Ronnie, couldn't pass up the Texas comments. No insult intended.

My 2006 had functioning sensors except for the black tank. I never worried about that since I could visually inspect the level of this one. Everything else worked for a couple of years. Then, all of a sudden, the gray tank was reading empty all the time. I re calibrated just this tank following the not so friendly instructions. It is still working.

So, I would give the recalibration a try. I am thinking of doing the black tank this summer. Strange things happen and since all of your sensors have been replaced, this would be worth a try.

Good luck.
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Old 01-17-2013, 12:41 PM   #7
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Every Year

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Originally Posted by bike_addict View Post
How often do you have to calibrate yours?
I recalibrate every year when I de-winterize.
You would be amazed how many RV service techs don't even know about the requirement to calibrate. You didn't read your owner's manual, did you? Neither did they.
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Old 01-17-2013, 03:39 PM   #8
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Ok. I'll wait and see what the manufacturer has to say. The system has been calibrated multiple times and it works temporarily and then fails.

Maybe my logic is wrong but being that the system did not read correctly and then it goes to the shop and starts reading correctly leads me to believe that the system was calibrated. How else do you explain that it goes from not working to working?

The issue isn't getting it to read properly. I can get it to read properly after calibration. Problem is that it won't continue to work for an extended period of time.
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Old 01-17-2013, 04:24 PM   #9
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I don't think there is a logical answer to how or why these gizmos work and then don't. However, I have found that after a long trip. like a week or more, of filling and emptying the tanks, they seem to work themselves out.
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Old 01-17-2013, 04:43 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by bike_addict View Post
Ok. I'll wait and see what the manufacturer has to say. The system has been calibrated multiple times and it works temporarily and then fails.

Maybe my logic is wrong but being that the system did not read correctly and then it goes to the shop and starts reading correctly leads me to believe that the system was calibrated. How else do you explain that it goes from not working to working?

The issue isn't getting it to read properly. I can get it to read properly after calibration. Problem is that it won't continue to work for an extended period of time.
I went back and read your first post along with your subsequent posts. What I infer is that you attribute a great deal of sophistication to a fairly crude system.
But, based on your observations, I still think it is a calibration issue.
It's true the indoor monitor has become very sophisticated, but it's still based on multiple sensors located in each holding tank. When a sensor is submerged, a circuit is closed. When two sensors are submerged, two circuits are closed and so on.
That said, it is entirely logical for a fresh-water tank to show completely full and then completely empty just as soon as you turn on the pump and fill the lines and the water heater. That could indicate that the topmost sensor is no longer submerged, and the monitor has not been calibrated to "see" the middle sensors, especially if these were the ones that had been replaced.
As "mojo" alludes, there could also be many other dark and mysterious reasons.
When I picked up my current new-used Airstream, I asked if the moniter had been calibrated. The tech of course said "yes." With further questions I discerned that he had no idea what I was talking about.
Anyway, none of us expect precise information. Even from a calibrated system, my fresh water reading is about 10 gallons off. As a fortunate consequence, I always have 10 gallons in reserve.
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Old 01-19-2013, 08:35 PM   #11
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The MicroPulse or Catcom system is garbage. Why Airstream continues to install this junk is beyond me. The manufacturer of the Sealevel system met me at an Airstream dealer (most shops won't let 3rd parties in to work but this Airstream dealer did) and installed their system which is still inaccurate but is an improvement. I carefully worded a letter to Airstream requesting 100% reimbursement but they only reimbursed me the dealer shop. I considered a small claims case considered all the miles, all the gas and all the headache involved.
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Old 01-19-2013, 09:19 PM   #12
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Since these systems operate with very little current to the sensors... I'm wondering if the electrical connections at the sensors could be a contributing factor???

Perhaps a careful examination of these wire ends might help:
1 remove ring connector from sensor - make sure ring is secured properly to the wire without any sign of corrosion
2. With a fine brass wire brush, shine ring conn & attaching surface of sensor
3. Coat components with some dialectic grease like material to insure good clean electrical connection
4. Recalibrate properly
5. If it still doesn't work properly, I'd suspect the control unit itself... Just because they replaced it doesn't mean it's not the problem...
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Old 01-19-2013, 09:33 PM   #13
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Not Garbage; Just Complicated

Quote:
Originally Posted by MPB View Post
The MicroPulse or Catcom system is garbage. Why Airstream continues to install this junk is beyond me. The manufacturer of the Sealevel system met me at an Airstream dealer (most shops won't let 3rd parties in to work but this Airstream dealer did) and installed their system which is still inaccurate but is an improvement. I carefully worded a letter to Airstream requesting 100% reimbursement but they only reimbursed me the dealer shop. I considered a small claims case considered all the miles, all the gas and all the headache involved.
I really like mine, and like it more since I read the manual.
I will be the first to admit it is not user friendly, and it seems unlikely that any more than 10% of us will read the manual and learn the somewhat cumbersome, calibration process.
And as you have discovered your Sealevel is no more accurate.

Complicated yes; garbage no.
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Old 01-19-2013, 09:39 PM   #14
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Very Helpful

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mexray View Post
Since these systems operate with very little current to the sensors... I'm wondering if the electrical connections at the sensors could be a contributing factor???

Perhaps a careful examination of these wire ends might help:
1 remove ring connector from sensor - make sure ring is secured properly to the wire without any sign of corrosion
2. With a fine brass wire brush, shine ring conn & attaching surface of sensor
3. Coat components with some dialectic grease like material to insure good clean electrical connection
4. Recalibrate properly
5. If it still doesn't work properly, I'd suspect the control unit itself... Just because they replaced it doesn't mean it's not the problem...
...and entirely consistent with an understanding of how the system works (when it does) and why it doesn't work all the time.
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