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Old 08-27-2014, 03:31 PM   #1
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Propane tank level checker

I saw an ad for Truma in a mag recently and bought one. They are a well established German RV company and this device is a little handheld sonic detector. It seems to work well on a clean tank but gives false negatives on a dirty tank. So it is fine for my AS tanks, not so good for a bbq grill tank stored outside.
You may ask why bother...I like to start trips with two full tanks but I want to know whether I really I really need propane in the in service tank without having to wrestle it down and weigh it. Perfect device for the job!
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Old 08-27-2014, 04:06 PM   #2
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There's an even cheaper tester: hot water. Pour it down the side of your propane cylinder, then feel the wet side of the cylinder. Where the cylinder switches from feeling hot to feeling cool, that's where the propane level is. Propane is very cold in its liquid state, and it will suck the heat right out of the water you poured on the cylinder.
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Old 08-27-2014, 04:47 PM   #3
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Ditto, been doing it that way for years. Sometimes you just got to pass on the tech.
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Old 08-27-2014, 05:00 PM   #4
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Not me...tech is good. Why would I want water all over the tank and base when they are normally protected from the weather?
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Old 08-27-2014, 05:16 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Protagonist View Post
There's an even cheaper tester: hot water. Pour it down the side of your propane cylinder, then feel the wet side of the cylinder. Where the cylinder switches from feeling hot to feeling cool, that's where the propane level is. Propane is very cold in its liquid state, and it will suck the heat right out of the water you poured on the cylinder.
I tried that one time, it must not work on aluminum tanks.
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Old 08-27-2014, 05:39 PM   #6
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We use the gadget and like like it, simple to know levels as we travel. No surprises. I think of it like the black tank, fresh and grey water and gasoline gauges, better than a dip stick.
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Old 08-30-2014, 05:02 PM   #7
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Hmm. I like the water trick, but I like tech too. Thanks for sharing these tricks.
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Old 08-30-2014, 05:10 PM   #8
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How much hot water?
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Old 08-30-2014, 05:15 PM   #9
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I just use a large glass of hot water and it works every time.
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Old 08-30-2014, 05:23 PM   #10
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At one hundred dollars for the Truma, I think I'll forgo the tech and use the hot water method


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Old 08-30-2014, 06:39 PM   #11
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I just bought one. It was $69. A bit spend, but isn't everything these days?
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Old 08-30-2014, 08:44 PM   #12
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I weigh the propane tanks using a cheap scale that we got at WalMart near the luggage and travel stuff:

http://www.walmart.com/ip/17472591

The "tare weight" of an empty propane tank is stamped on the metal handle. To determine how much propane is left in a tank, just weigh it and subtract the tare weight. (I weigh the tanks right after I fill them, and write the weight on the top of each one, in pencil; that way I know how much they weighed when full.)

The scale isn't terribly accurate (+/- a pound or two), but this isn't rocket science. The measurements are close enough to determine whether a tank should be refilled. Besides the scale only costs about $6-7.
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Old 08-30-2014, 10:06 PM   #13
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You can also just pick it up and give it a shake. Pretty easy to judge how much liquid is in the tank.
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Old 08-30-2014, 11:41 PM   #14
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At one hundred dollars for the Truma, I think I'll forgo the tech and use the hot water method


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Yea but once you pay to heat sixty thousand glasses of water you could have bought the device.
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