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Old 05-03-2012, 01:27 PM   #15
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I have a question about the black water flush. Our dealer says close the valve and let the water build up a bit before releasing, which seems to make good sense. But the placard on the A/S states to ALWAYS have tank valve open when when flushing. Does it really matter? Any thoughts on this from experience? Thanks
I do close the valve and let a little water build up in the tank. It helps get a good flush of the solids, a lot like adding water down the toilet as mentioned in posts above.

I find it simpler, because I don't have to stand with the toilet, filling the bowl and flushing.

The only down side, is if one forgets and leaves the water running to long. The tank will fill, and either flood the trailer via the toilet or wash over the roof out the vent on top.

Either is a @hitty out come, pun intended.......

I usually let the water run for about a minute or less.

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JD
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Old 05-03-2012, 04:12 PM   #16
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The only down side, is if one forgets and leaves the water running to long. The tank will fill, and either flood the trailer via the toilet or wash over the roof out the vent on top.
JD
To avoid that event from happening I set an alarm on my smart phone. Hase worked every time so far.
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Old 05-03-2012, 04:54 PM   #17
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Old 05-03-2012, 08:43 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by lubelg View Post
I have a question about the black water flush. Our dealer says close the valve and let the water build up a bit before releasing, which seems to make good sense. But the placard on the A/S states to ALWAYS have tank valve open when when flushing. Does it really matter? Any thoughts on this from experience? Thanks
I let ours fill up some, too...but I am VERY careful to not let it overfill...so if you close the valve to let the water build up, do NOT let yourself get distracted...or you will be REALLY sorry. I usually stand right by the tank monitor — when it hits yellow I get ready, and when it hits red, I sprint to the valve and let 'er rip. Works well! A couple of times like that and it's clean as a whistle.

We usually don't do the flush thing if we are moving to a new location after dumping...I call that a "quick dump". But if it's the last time we dump before heading home and there's no line at the dump station I do the full routine (a "full dump"). This assumes, of course, that the dump station is set up to make use of a flush system...some are not, unfortunately.) If I do not do the "full dump" thing, I make sure there is some liquid in the bottom of the tank to keep things from drying out between trips...and add a packet of chemicals.
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Old 05-03-2012, 09:03 PM   #19
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does anyone use a water meter like this to help prevent overfilling the tank?

Water Saver Usage Meter With Digital LCD Display AN951 at The Home Depot
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Old 05-04-2012, 10:41 AM   #20
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does anyone use a water meter like this to help prevent overfilling the tank?

Water Saver Usage Meter With Digital LCD Display AN951 at The Home Depot
Sounds like a great idea though the reviews say it is not too accurate. Maybe a better one will come out.

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Old 05-04-2012, 04:47 PM   #21
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Sounds like a great idea though the reviews say it is not too accurate. Maybe a better one will come out.

Gene
A little inaccuracy is no big problem if I'm only going for about half full, and I'm shopping today to see if I can buy the meter. I think about the "sprint when the sensor goes red" and then tripping, and sitting on the gorund as the overflow starts to wash over the top on to my head.

I'm using the Sewer Solution and backwashing with that as well, will just add meters to the inputs for peace of mind.
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Old 05-11-2012, 07:56 AM   #22
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OK guys, last chance for version 1 as I am ordering boards in the next couple days, could today, but will defer until Monday to get your feedback. A "better mousetrap" for tank monitoirng and control is going to alpha site (hand built final design) shortly. The unit measures "pressure" similar to your microcpulse stuff, but on steriods. The sensor and electronics are totally isolated from tank fluids and environment and should resolve all your reliability problems. System measures can be calibrated in percent (very easy) or custom calibrated with a flow meter to achieve 0.1 gallon accuracies (and better if needed) but this is far more accurate then you need.

I need some information as I may be able to automate your flush needs. To calibrate the unit it contains an input used to monitor a flow meter during calibration, as well as an output that controls a "sprinkler water valve" that is used to automatically turn on and off water through a garden hose during calibration. AFTER calibration, if done, the input and output are available for "other stuff". I debated using it for "automatic water tank filling" where you would connect up water line, hit button, it would fill clear water tank and shut off. I didn't do it as I was told not necessary. If configured, this output can be activated with the configurable "high" or "low" level alarms. These alarms change screen colors for each tank, can optionally beep at you, but this output "could" possibly be used for what you are talking aboutl.

Right now this output is configurable to "turn on" either above a high level alarm or "turn on" below a low level alarm. I could "add" a feature where this output could be activated by "pushing a button" and then deactivated by a high or low level trip point. If we can clarify the need, I will clearly have the desired functionality added before final product release.

Ya, I know, you don't see vendors being so open about pending products, but I kind of like to get stuff right the first time. I will be offering an "upgrade service" so "new functionality can be added to your unit" by returning for update and/or service, but again, would prefer to improve the customer experience whereever I can.

Please help me understand your desires and I will provide a specific operational description here for your confirmation and approval. Unit does communicate with other modules, so functionality could be added there, but his one may work in the standard unit.
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Old 05-11-2012, 08:18 AM   #23
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Would the following meet your needs?
1) You connect a water valve (sprinker valve) to the black water tank flush fitting, either temporarily or permanently if you like.
2) Plug in water valve. You would have to run a wire from tank gauge to water valve location. This could again be temporary or permanent, your choice.
3) Connect hose to water vavle.
4) Go to tank gauge and select "Black Flush" or something like that.
5) Press "Start" and system will turn on water valve and add water until it reaches "high level alarm point". You can set this for any level you would like.
6) When high level alarm point is reached, water turns off, and unit beeps at you a couple of times so you can put down your beer and go complete your job.

I could make it so you could do this for "any tank" fill. Of course I would stop filling if say you selected "Black Flush" and all of a sudden when the valve turned on that the "Clear Water" starting rising!
Would this work for you, or again, is this totally glitz and not needed? Your comments are appreciated.
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Old 05-11-2012, 11:43 AM   #24
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C5',

I am unsure of whether you are discussing the monitoring system for all tanks, or a measuring system for backflushing the black and grey tanks.

I appreciate that you want feedback to build better products even though I have trouble understanding what you are saying, so I'll try to respond.

First, keep it simple. I have plenty of electronic stuff that has gazillions of options that I don't care about and will never use, but do not want to pay for (sort of like cable or satellite TV—lots of garbage channels I have to pay for that I never watch). All that cool stuff that is useless to most people may be fine for the technophile, but most people are not.

If the former, after a while most of us seem to figure out what is in the tanks regardless of the inaccuracy of the OEM system. Any aftermarket monitor would have to be easy to install and cheap to buy; I have no interest in removing the belly pan to install new sensors. If you can use a pressure sensor (you wrote about pressure) installed in an easy place to reach (hard in an RV) with wireless and batteries that last for a very long time, that might be a seller. Otherwise the market would be RV companies when they build them.

If the latter, which I think is what you are actually asking, all I would want was a gauge that measured how much water goes in the tank for backflushing and is accurate (and of course, cheap). All that was needed would be a paddle in the line and something like an odometer for a non-electronic solution, but maybe an electronic model would be cost effective and simple too. It would have garden hose fittings. I don't need a gauge for filling the fresh water tank since when it fills, it overflows.

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Old 05-12-2012, 09:21 AM   #25
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CrawfordGene: This is a aftermarket product, hopefully becomes OEM through time as it corrects the reliability problems with existing tank level monitors. If I used the existing sensors, where connector failures are common, I wouldn't fix the problem.

Initially only those whom need to "replace a system" or are so disatisfied with sensor faults and such would likely buy the system.

The system referenced follows KISS principle. All levels and battery voltage on one screen. Push on/off button it displays levels. If you don't press on/off again, it turns off after period of time. Pretty simple.

Difference is this aftermarket product is it is not just a dedicated stand alone product. It contains capabilities you would never see unless you need to diagnose a problem, should it ever occur. Some people just take it in to get fixed, as they have the money to do so, others do it themselves to save money, thus we provide "hidden screens" for those individuals. We are trying to reduce "cost of ownership" for those whom prefer to spend their money elsewhere.

Someone in this thread (TBRich) watches their tank level during a flush, adds water to black water tank, then "sprints" to turn off the water when high level so it does not overflow. Just thought I would make it so they don't have to sprint to turn off water before it overflows into their trailer or comes out the overflow. In effect, push a button and avoid the run. I figure camping, and camping clean up, should be as pleasant as possible thus the questions about adding this feature to our soon to be released product.

This system is "competitive" and since it is not "just a tank gauge", which the existing market is familiar with, we are always looking to add "pleasant features" that might sway the buy decision for those buing a unit. We obvioulsy would also like to reduce warranty costs of companies like Airstream by switching to our system. In effect, a better mousetrap.

Rather than putting a flow meter (paddle) in line with water our system uses a flow meter to "calibrate" each tank where we effectively build a "lookup table" of tank volume versus pressure. This would be done by us, or trailer manufacturer once, for each tank shape for their trailer models and would be contained within the unit. Then when we measure the level rising, we use this "lookup table" and display the "volume". In effect we eliminate the need for an "expensive flow meter" by using the capabilities of the tank gauge. So I think that would meet your "cheap" criteria.

Our system, unlike those on the market today, has "level alarms". Rather than just telling you level, the system can be optionally configured to "change the tank volume for each tank to red, yellow, green and so on" and can "beep" if configured to do so, indicating exceeding or dropping below a preset level. That funcitonality exists today in our unit.

We also have an existing output, which is currently used to turn on a water valve, and turn off a water value, during manufacturer or do it yourselfer calibration. Once calibrated, that output is available for "other stuff". Since the water value we use to turn water on and off during tank calibration is one used for water sprinker systems, it cost about $15 at your local building center. Thus, for customers willing to run a wire from "our tank gauge output" to the tank flush location, they could buy a water valve at their local building center and automate their flush process, without buying a flow meter and such. For your info, the cheapest flow meter (outputs a pulse and needs electronics like ours to monitor it) cost just over $100. Then you need to add a monitor/counter for a minimum of about another $100, and then you still have to pull some wires to get power there. So if someone is willing to pull the wires, if I add this option it would save you $200. All I have to do is "label an existing spare button" on my product, add the control firmware for the respective screen, and the addtional product feature exists.

By the way, we can do this because our tank monitor has a color graphic screen, like a lower end cell phone, thus we can add functionality via firmware changes and not add hardware, and manufactured cost. The system has an integrated CAN network, and thus can "talk to other products" where this display device can be used to control and monitor "other stuff" in the trailer, thus saving more money. For those whom can afford it, they could even place another display unit at the service location and "avoid the walk" inside the trailer, a benefit of networking.

I hope this clarifies my questons. If not I would be more than happy to answer any ohter questions. If there is "other stuff" you want us to monitor, please let me know. By the way, we will be offering a fimrware update service, at a VERY reasonable cost, to update your unit to add "future features" so you don't have to "buy a new one" as we add features, like the one being described here, thus saving you more money and not obsoleting your product purchases.
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Old 05-12-2012, 09:48 AM   #26
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lubelg:

As the factory service team stated at last years Alumapaluzza - use it or lose it. I let my tank fill up because you want a substantial amount of water to flush out the contents.
Just out of curiosity what do you lose?

In 28 years of using a black water tank I have never used any form of chemical or flushing device. When it comes time to dump I drain the black water tank, which has been closed off during the stay, I drain it and then while holding the drain hose, at the connect, up just above the tank level I open the gray water tank valve and count to 10. Drop the hose and close the gray water valve. This charge of water back flushes the tank far more than any city water hose system could. Let it drain and close the black water valve.

Periodically I will travel with a full tank and drain at the house or the next campgroung. The travel time really emulsifies everything.

Call me cheap, not green or just out of sync but having started in a plumbing shop and worked all my life in building maintenance I learned early on that "S++t flows down hill" and that is all there is to it. Additives and or perfuming it has no effect on anything. That plastic tank will be there and work just fine long after we are all gone.
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Old 05-12-2012, 11:58 AM   #27
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[QUOTEJust out of curiosity what do you lose?][/QUOTE]

I believe they are talking about the spray head inside the black tank becoming clogged, stuck if not used. This happened to me.
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Old 04-20-2013, 05:35 PM   #28
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I tried my black tank flush for the first time on my 2008 Classic 25fb and it flooded the hallway between the shower and bathroom. The area forward of the water pump underneath the shower is wet. What went wrong. I'm taking wads of paper towels and a light to see what happened. Did leaving the dump handle closed while filling the tank do this?

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