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Old 08-31-2013, 06:20 PM   #1
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1966 24' Tradewind
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Water Meter For Boondocking

We generally boondock so I like to monitor the utilities. We have a "battery minder" to keep track of the battery voltage, so why not a water meter to keep track of how much water we have used and how much is left in the tank. Neither one of us wants to be in the shower when the water tank runs dry.

I bought a standard water meter, probably overkill but I could not find a cheaper more accurate way to measure water consumption. Cost was under $70, including shipping, and I got it from www.watermeters.com. I installed it just after the water pump. I can read it after I pull down the back of the front gaucho. It was a very easy install.

Dan
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Old 08-31-2013, 10:17 PM   #2
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I was thinking about doing this too, looking at the exact same meter. I'm going to be using the old pressurized galvanized steel tank, and I can't think of any other way of knowing the water status. Unfortunately I think I'll need two gauges, one to monitor what goes into the tank, the other to monitor what's going out. Still pondering that.......
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Old 08-31-2013, 10:47 PM   #3
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You only need one meter. Using my meter, I determined that my 30 gallon water tank holds 28.3 gal. Ie. after pumping 28.3 gal out of the tank, the water pump stops pumping water because the tank is empty. Just take a reading on the water meter after you fill the tank and note the reading. For example, if the reading is 210 gal, then the tank will be empty when the reading is 238.3 gal. When you get close to that reading, say 235 gal, you may want to add some water to your tank.

Dan
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Old 08-31-2013, 10:55 PM   #4
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My problem is that I want to use the original air pressure pump. So I have to leave space in the tank for air to compress. Therefore, I'd need to fill a measured volume of water into the tank so not to overfill it, not just fill to full. Alternately, maybe I can install a separate reserve air tank to provide the air pressure. Then I think your method will work fine.
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Old 09-01-2013, 07:36 AM   #5
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I would think you could make a water gage. The fitting at the bottom of the tank could be tee'd and a piece of clear tubing fitted to vertical tee. When you fill the tank the water level inside the tank will be equal to what ever the water level is in the external tube.
If you wanted to be a bit more fancy, every couple of gallons you could put a hash mark on the tube with a number... 2, 5 ,7, 10 etc. Simple cheap, more moving parts.
This could be done anywhere in the line between the tank and the pump.
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Old 09-01-2013, 09:21 AM   #6
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Goshawks, I thought about that too. PexSupply sells a sight glass that looks like the right idea.
20-104-00 - Conbraco 20-104-00 - 1/2" Gauge Glass Set

I just haven't figured out how/where to attach the return line yet. But with more figgurin this might be the way to go.
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Old 09-01-2013, 01:14 PM   #7
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That's cool looking!!! At least in our trailer...(66 Safari) I would fit it along the corner of the seats where I could do a visual w/o having to take the seat top and cushion off. It's a very neat looking set up!! As far as connections ...It would be bottom of the tank to bottom of the gauge and a open ended tube, maybe with some type of filter to keep bugs out on the top port so it doesn't become water pressure locked
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Old 09-01-2013, 02:40 PM   #8
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The sight glass looks cool and is reliable, but I'd think twice about drilling extra holes in the fresh water tank. Every extra hole is a potential leak point.
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Old 09-01-2013, 03:02 PM   #9
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I can't leave the end open because the tank will be pressurized. The open end would turn into a geyser and relieve the pressure.

I definitely don't want to drill additional holes in the tank. I imagine doing so would require welding new fittings to it, and since the tank is galvanized, that'd be difficult or impossible.

There is a fitting on the top of the tank that is where the compressed air line attaches. Theoretically I should be able to tee into this line for the top of the glass. I can't think of a reason that wouldn't work, but.......?
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Old 09-01-2013, 03:07 PM   #10
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You wouldn't drill into the tank but rather use a "T" fittings at existing fitting, and yes you are right you could "T" at the bottom and at the top with a pressurized tank. My set up isn't pressurized but vent at the fill elbow.
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Old 09-01-2013, 05:22 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Thalweg View Post
Goshawks, I thought about that too. PexSupply sells a sight glass that looks like the right idea.
20-104-00 - Conbraco 20-104-00 - 1/2" Gauge Glass Set

I just haven't figured out how/where to attach the return line yet. But with more figgurin this might be the way to go.
Our '64 Overlander came with a similar gauge. It was hidden under the bed next to the water tank when we got it, but I moved it out onto the front of the bed and built a case around it to protect it. It has a float that rises with the water. The tank is currently empty so you can just barely see the float at the bottom of the tube. I'm assuming it was original to the trailer, but might not be. I've never seen another one like it. It's plumbed into the line to the pump at the bottom and into the overflow line at the top.
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Old 09-01-2013, 07:42 PM   #12
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I guess it's not all that original of an idea. Looks like it should work. I think I'll give it a try.
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Old 09-01-2013, 08:45 PM   #13
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I like the sight glass idea. I wish I would have tried it before I bought the water meter- its cheap, light weight and simple.

Dan
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