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Old 07-12-2009, 01:07 PM   #1
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Micro-Pulse tank monitor blues

I've got this Micro-Pulse tank monitor system on my 2008 Safari Sport. Looks like the same system was used on a lot of late model Airstreams. On our last trip I did some towing in the rain. The black water sensor got wet and died. Catcon sent me a new sensor and it didn't work. I'll get back with them Monday to get this resolved.
How many of you are having trouble with this system?
Have you replaced it with something else?
Are you just living with the problem?
Please let me know. If your system is working great, I want to hear about that too.
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Old 07-12-2009, 01:35 PM   #2
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On my '05 the black tank sensor has not worked right since day 1. It shows green on an empty tank and flashes red after a gallon or two are in the tank. I've ignored it because I read of numerous other problems with the sensors and it is easy to look down the drain and see the level.

The fresh and gray sensors have always worked properly.
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Old 07-12-2009, 01:40 PM   #3
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There have been many complaints about this "system". I've had my monitor and other parts replaced under warranty and now it's giving strange readings again. Sometimes the connections—it's just telephone wire—get dirty under the trailer and need cleaning. Some of them on some models are accessible, apparently others are not.

I'll bring it in again before the warranty runs out, but the good thing is, after a while I have a pretty good idea what the status of the tanks is anyway. For example, when the black tank smell can be smelled after flushing the toilet, it's full enough and needs draining and flushing. That happens long before the thing is truly full. I know the grey tank is pretty full after two showers and washing a lot of dishes—water coming up through the drain in the shower confirms it. Of course you may have one tank for black and grey water and they are smaller than mine, but experience with a particular trailer does help.

As someone posted on another thread, various monitor systems have been a problem for decades and how come they can't get it right?

Gene
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Old 07-12-2009, 01:57 PM   #4
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Unless things have changed, Catcon warranted these systems for 5 years. I replaced my main panel due to a burnt out LED under Catcon's warranty. Configuration is always an issue and some of these units haven't held their configurations well. Early when Airstream first started using this system, configuration was done by a Palm device at build time in JC. According to Catcon, some of the trailers were being loaded with the wrong configuration. I would hope that is an item of the past.

TPI, you probably need to reconfigure your unit. I think that when you go into the reconfigure routine you have to reconfigure all the holding tanks. I don't believe you can only reconfigure one. If you are still under Airstream warranty the dealer could do this for you.

My fresh water tank goes into yellow mode after we use about 5 or so gallons of water. It's a candidate for reconfiguration but I don't feel like going through the process. Especially since I have no local outlet at home for the black water. The process is a matter of filling a tank with a known quantity of water and then telling the unit how it should display for that quantity of liquid.

I think we may have a site somewhere where a PDF of the configuration routine is displayed.

Jack
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Old 07-12-2009, 02:47 PM   #5
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I found the link for the config PDF.

Configuration PDF

Jack
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Old 07-12-2009, 03:02 PM   #6
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My 09 25" International water tank has never worked right even after 2 separate attempts at configuration (empty, set, fill, set). After a few gallons it goes to 1/8 and pretty much stays there until the tank runs dry. Agree with others that the system just doesn't seem to work very well
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Old 07-12-2009, 03:29 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tpi View Post
On my '05 the black tank sensor has not worked right since day 1. It shows green on an empty tank and flashes red after a gallon or two are in the tank. I've ignored it because I read of numerous other problems with the sensors and it is easy to look down the drain and see the level.

The fresh and gray sensors have always worked properly.
Yeh, that sounds about right. Only now the black water sensor doesn't work at all. I think I'll give this one more try and then just look down the tank to see the level.
My old 72 Safari had the simple tank probes. It gave 1/4, 1/2, 3/4 and full readings. It was kind of crude but it did work.
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Old 07-12-2009, 05:17 PM   #8
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Personally there are only 2 sensors I'd like to work properly. One is fresh water and the other is the gray water. Any other sensor is not necessary since it's easy to monitor propane and the toilet is a matter of looking.

From my standpoint after owing 4 different trailers, the current system is better than what used to be supplied. Most of those systems started failing on different tanks within the first year of use. Black water was usually the first to fail. But as others have noted, nobody yet has produced a system that is totally reliable.

Jack
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Old 07-12-2009, 05:54 PM   #9
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Jack's right—grey and fresh water are the important ones. Unless I have 10 people with cholera in my trailer, it's impossible to fill the black tank before it smells so bad we have to flush it. I can monitor the battery with the solar panel monitor which is more accurate.

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Old 07-12-2009, 08:19 PM   #10
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I used the manual (same as linked above) and re-calibrated all my tanks the other weekend. It really helps to be able to fill and empty the tanks several times to test and calibrate it properly. For the "Empty setting" you do need a little bit in each tank, I'd guess 2 gallons. For the full setting, I would fill, then drain a gallon or two from each.

I had it to where the fresh water started flashing red with a gallon left before the pump started vibrating and sputtering. The black water would flash when I only had two half bowl flushes left. And the grey water when two gallons would start the shower drain to overflow. I calibrated one tank at a time rather than all three at once.
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Old 07-14-2009, 02:21 PM   #11
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Thanks to Steve over at CatCon; I finally got the sensors to work. He emailed me the wiring diagram and I was then able to get everything going. CatCon now recomends dielectric grease and a sealant to keep the water out of the sensors that are mounted outside the trailer. I did the calibration and now it all works fine.
The freash water gauge is not really linear but the red light starts to flash just before the pump starts sucking air. That's good enough for me.
CatCon sent me a new sensor with no problem at all. I just gave him the year and type of trailer. They have a five year warranty.
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Old 07-14-2009, 02:53 PM   #12
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I talked to Steve when I had trouble with an LED. He's really a nice guy. Thanks for the update on the dielectric grease. I'll keep that in mind in the future.

Jack
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