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Old 09-24-2012, 08:46 AM   #1
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How do you measure remaining propane levels?

I've been trying to think of a way to make it easier to determing how much propane is in each of the two tanks. It doesn't appear that the stick-on strips are a very good option, since I can't see the tank sides with the shroud in place.

Does someone make a replacement regulator with a pressure valve or some similar setup so that I could turn each tank on independently and read pressure?

Is there some easier way?
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Old 09-24-2012, 09:03 AM   #2
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I take the shroud off and pour very hot water down the side of the tanks. Works every time. Sal.
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Old 09-24-2012, 09:12 AM   #3
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There are replacement tanks that have level gauges built-in: 30 Lb. (7.1 Gallon) Vertical Aluminum LP Tank

Not cheap, but should be reliable.

Marshall Brass also makes a battery powered indicator light that snaps onto the top of their automatic switchover regulators that lets you know when the tank you were using has gone dry and it has switched to the backup. Propane Regulator Valves on Sale - PPL Motor Homes

I use one of these and it works well. I don't know the exact levels, but I do know when I am down to one full and one empty tank. I just refill the empty tank and am good to go.
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Old 09-24-2012, 09:13 AM   #4
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I use the hot water method, pretty fool proof. No shrouds on my Bambi II, so it is simpler for me.
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Old 09-24-2012, 09:13 AM   #5
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Install Gauges

... leave the hot water in the kitchen, and quit hitting your tanks with metallic objects. Install gauges instead. I love these things! Mine are slightly more exotic with electronic readout inside Airstream, but these are a quick, easy after-market solution, and very accurate.
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Old 09-24-2012, 09:17 AM   #6
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If there is propane being used at the time, you can run your hand down the side of the tank and feel the liquid level as it will be cooler that the area that just has gas behind it. I can sometimes tell by hitting the tank wall with something metallic. He ring from the empty top of the tank is higher than the area with liquid behind it. I have one of those devices posted above but it is too much trouble moving it between units all the time.
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Old 09-24-2012, 10:04 AM   #7
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This is why I want to keep my tanks the way they are. They don't have OPD valves on them but they have a very accurate float gage. The OPD valve gets in the way of the float so I don't know how the ones at VTS work if they have the OPD valve. Most of the ones on tanks now days are some sort of pressure gage and don't measure actual levels. They make a guess at it. I can't get my tanks filled right now so I guess I am going to have to cave and get them downgraded to OPD valves.

Perry
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Old 09-24-2012, 10:43 AM   #8
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Welcome to the World of OPD, Perry..

Yep, thanks to our nanny, Uncle Sam, we must all install OPD valves on all propane tanks.
This means about 20% of what is in our tanks will never be available to use.
So what is the good news?
The pressure gauges give us an accurate reading of "useable" propane.
No, you will never be able to use all the propane in your OPD equipped tanks, but it is not the gauge's fault.
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Old 09-24-2012, 10:59 AM   #9
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So are you saying that the last 20% of our tank volume can not be used? I had thought that we got all of it out. When we get to the point that we transfer to the other tank, shall we check the tare weight and make sure that we are not paying for a complete fill up when we are only getting 80%??
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Old 09-24-2012, 11:24 AM   #10
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No, no. The tank is filled to 80% volume by liquid and it all evaporates into gas when used. You get all that you pay for. When empty, there is nothing left in the tank but a little vapor. The new OPD valves don't change anything about that at all, they just keep the tank from being overfilled.
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Old 09-24-2012, 11:32 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by perryg114 View Post
This is why I want to keep my tanks the way they are. They don't have OPD valves on them but they have a very accurate float gage. The OPD valve gets in the way of the float so I don't know how the ones at VTS work if they have the OPD valve. Most of the ones on tanks now days are some sort of pressure gage and don't measure actual levels. They make a guess at it. I can't get my tanks filled right now so I guess I am going to have to cave and get them downgraded to OPD valves.

Perry
Hi Perry,

The new tanks have a float gauge installed in its own bore, like the old ones. That's why you can't just add the gauge later. If you look at the link I posted to VTS, for example, it has the following text:
Gauges cannot be installed in tanks that originally did not have gauges because they are installed in a separate bore in the tank. This is necessary because both the OPD valve and the gauge each require their own floats inside the tank.
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Old 09-24-2012, 11:42 AM   #12
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Well that explains a lot and that adds to the cost as well. I guess the new Air Stream tanks are that way as well.

Perry

Quote:
Originally Posted by vswingfield View Post
Hi Perry,

The new tanks have a float gauge installed in its own bore, like the old ones. That's why you can't just add the gauge later. If you look at the link I posted to VTS, for example, it has the following text:
Gauges cannot be installed in tanks that originally did not have gauges because they are installed in a separate bore in the tank. This is necessary because both the OPD valve and the gauge each require their own floats inside the tank.
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Old 09-24-2012, 11:43 AM   #13
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This in Not Correct

[/QUOTE]Gauges cannot be installed in tanks that originally did not have gauges because they are installed in a separate bore in the tank. This is necessary because both the OPD valve and the gauge each require their own floats inside the tank.
[/QUOTE]
My propane tanks do not have a separate bore in the tank.
These tanks were manufactured in 2007.
This type gauge measures pressure.
They are extremely accurate in measuring "useable" propane.
Propane not under pressure is not useable no matter how much remains in your tank.
If you pay by volume, you will be paying for what you get,
If you pay by weight, you will be paying (again) for any propane left in your tank when you refill.
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Old 09-24-2012, 11:55 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alumaholic View Post
Gauges cannot be installed in tanks that originally did not have gauges because they are installed in a separate bore in the tank. This is necessary because both the OPD valve and the gauge each require their own floats inside the tank.
My propane tanks do not have a separate bore in the tank.
These tanks were manufactured in 2007.
This type gauge measures pressure.
They are extremely accurate in measuring "useable" propane.
Propane not under pressure is not useable no matter how much remains in your tank.
If you pay by volume, you will be paying for what you get,
If you pay by weight, you will be paying (again) for any propane left in your tank when you refill.
If you pay by weight, an honest propane dealer charges you by the DELTA between the weight before the fill and the weight after.
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