Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
 
Old 09-17-2020, 06:48 AM   #1
3 Rivet Member
 
Park City , Utah
Join Date: Jul 2020
Posts: 115
Inaccurate fresh and grey tank readings?

We just arrived at Zion National Park yesterday. Second trip in our FC 23FB. On our first trip, we were dry camping with no dump station near, so we were judicious about water use. We were still at only 30-35% of capacity on the grey after the second night (~48 hours into the trip).

On this trip, we’re already at 25% capacity and we’ve only been here about 14 hours, and half of those we’re sleeping. It’s possible that we haven’t been *quite* as conservative with water, because we know there’s a dump station right here at Watchman campground and also potable water available. But it doesn’t feel like we’ve used ~ 9 gallons (1/4 of our grey tank).

Also, our fresh tank is still reading 100%, which is impossible if the grey is at 25% (unless we’ve been dumping outside water down the drains, which we haven’t.) And the black tank is showing 0%, which also seems impossible because we’ve all used the toilet a few times.

Any idea what might be going on here?
switters is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-17-2020, 07:15 AM   #2
Rivet Master
 
billrector's Avatar
 
2017 27' Flying Cloud
Fort Worth , Texas
Join Date: Sep 2017
Posts: 738
We find the black tank is the last that needs to be dumped so we usually put 10-20% water into it after we dump. This provides adequate liquid to keep the tank “healthy”. And....no, the indicators are not accurate. They are for relative readings only.
billrector is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-17-2020, 01:55 PM   #3
3 Rivet Member
 
Park City , Utah
Join Date: Jul 2020
Posts: 115
Ok, black tank still at 0%, so definitely something wrong. On our first trip the % increased as expected as we used the toilet. This time it is stuck on 0% almost 24 hours after we’ve arrived.

Also, the fresh water tank is still at 100. I get that these are not supposed to be perfectly accurate but they are WAY off and they are behaving differently than they did on our first trip.
switters is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-17-2020, 02:22 PM   #4
4 Rivet Member
 
SilverWind's Avatar
 
2017 25' International
1968 17' Caravel
Los Osos , California
Join Date: Nov 2013
Posts: 462
We are on our fourth modern era Airstream. Tank level readings can be notoriously wanky.

Not sure what to say about your fresh water tank level, but I've noticed that sometimes it is slow to start reading the initial usage. This is especially true if you filled the fresh tank to overflowing.

Black tank. We do two things. Never, ever flush toilet paper regardless of grade. Always do a black tank flush when we dump. Both practices will keep the sensors more accurate and will promote proper tank health and sanitation.
SilverWind is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-17-2020, 05:05 PM   #5
Rivet Master
 
2018 25' International
Slidell , Louisiana
Join Date: Sep 2017
Posts: 2,232
Indeed you should treat the tank level indication more like a guideline. They are passive indicators because direct measures get gummed up too easily. Trouble is wall slime build-up and installation variability throws the things off. Best way to keep them close is to keep the tanks as clean as possible. Other than that treat them as a loose reference of what might in the tank. If you want the technical details of why they are inaccurate, just ask.
__________________
Brian
BayouBiker is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-17-2020, 06:23 PM   #6
Rivet Master
 
kscherzi's Avatar
 
2013 27' FB International
El Dorado Hills , California
Join Date: Jan 2013
Posts: 1,439
Images: 24
You probably have the Seelevel tank system. I retrofitted that on my trailer. Its the best there is. The Seelevel sender are semi flexible stick on circuits that adhere to the outside of your tank. Peel and stick. Not unlike duct tape, just with wires. They come in the package about 18" long. The installer uses scissors to cut them to length, the height of the tank, which in the Airstream is about 9" or 10" inches. However the Seelevel senders can only be cut at specific locations, roughly 1.5 inch segments without destroying them.

In practice other things come into play. The fresh water outlet isn't mounted precisely at the bottom, about 1" of water still remains in the tank when the pump starts sucking air. Same for gray and black, they don't totally drain empty.

Since the Seelevel sender must be only trimmed at specific locations the installer is forced to cut it shorter than height of min and max water level in the tank. For example, if the tank is 9" high and 1" can never be accessed, then difference between min and max is 8". If the longest sender segment less than 8" happens to be 7", then that's what gets stuck.on the tank.

For fresh water the proper install is to attach the sender so that the pump starts to suck air the moment the sender reads 0%. For gray and black it's the opposite. When those read 100% overflow is about to happen. The sender won't read tank info about the 1" gap above or below until the water levels move past the gap.

This is why the fresh tank may read 100% for a while, and the black and gray may read 0% even though fluid has been pumped out or put in.
kscherzi is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 09-17-2020, 06:27 PM   #7
3 Rivet Member
 
Park City , Utah
Join Date: Jul 2020
Posts: 115
Thanks, everyone. I guess I’m just perplexed by how different it is this time from the first time we went. That time we also filled the fresh tank to full before leaving, and as we used it through the first days it went down incrementally and as expected. Same for the black and grey in reverse. This time it’s totally different.

Of course, my main goal is to avoid a mishap, where we either run out of fresh water or, worse, have a grey or black back flow. Not much risk of black filling up since we’re only out 4 days and there are 3 of us. Last time black was only about 40% full after 3 days. But I just want to have at least a *relatively* accurate idea of the tank status.
switters is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-17-2020, 06:29 PM   #8
3 Rivet Member
 
Park City , Utah
Join Date: Jul 2020
Posts: 115
Quote:
Originally Posted by kscherzi View Post
You probably have the Seelevel tank system. I retrofitted that on my trailer. Its the best there is. The Seelevel sender are semi flexible stick on circuits that adhere to the outside of your tank. Peel and stick. Not unlike duct tape, just with wires. They come in the package about 18" long. The installer uses scissors to cut them to length, the height of the tank, which in the Airstream is about 9" or 10" inches. However the Seelevel senders can only be cut at specific locations, roughly 1.5 inch segments without destroying them.

In practice other things come into play. The fresh water outlet isn't mounted precisely at the bottom, about 1" of water still remains in the tank when the pump starts sucking air. Same for gray and black, they don't totally drain empty.

Since the Seelevel sender must be only trimmed at specific locations the installer is forced to cut it shorter than height of min and max water level in the tank. For example, if the tank is 9" high and 1" can never be accessed, then difference between min and max is 8". If the longest sender segment less than 8" happens to be 7", then that's what gets stuck.on the tank.

For fresh water the proper install is to attach the sender so that the pump starts to suck air the moment the sender reads 0%. For gray and black it's the opposite. When those read 100% overflow is about to happen. The sender won't read tank info about the 1" gap above or below until the water levels move past the gap.

This is why the fresh tank may read 100% for a while, and the black and gray may read 0% even though fluid has been pumped out or put in.
Just saw this right after my last reply. This makes sense, I just wonder why there is so much of a contrast between this trip and our first. Maybe that’s not knowable.
switters is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-18-2020, 07:21 AM   #9
Rivet Master
 
kscherzi's Avatar
 
2013 27' FB International
El Dorado Hills , California
Join Date: Jan 2013
Posts: 1,439
Images: 24
Because the tanks are long and flat even tiny "out of perfect level" campsites can cause readings to vary enough to be noticable.
kscherzi is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 09-18-2020, 12:51 PM   #10
3 Rivet Member
 
2010 25' FB Flying Cloud
Snoqualmie , Washington
Join Date: Nov 2014
Posts: 154
Images: 3
No help here other than to say when we go out, sometimes the levels read good and sometimes they are off. No idea why, but usually when they are off, they are off by 25 to 50%.
Anders79 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-18-2020, 01:29 PM   #11
Rivet Master
 
banderabob's Avatar
 
2008 19' Bambi
2012 23' Flying Cloud
Bandera , Texas
Join Date: Jun 2012
Posts: 552
My add is that we have never ever used the readings, we have simply learned through experience when we are approaching max usage. It doesn’t matter when you have a site with hookups, but we know with proper conservation, using park restrooms if available (or if not, only flushing when “necessary”), dumping dish water outside, drinking bottled water, using paper plates to reduce washing, one minute showers (shower head off while soaping) and other strategies, we can go 4 days, maybe 5. I know this post wasn’t about conserving necessarily, but tank readings on our unit are worthless.
banderabob is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-18-2020, 03:31 PM   #12
RFP
Rivet Master
 
RFP's Avatar
 
2014 23' International
Hurst , Texas
Join Date: Jan 2016
Posts: 1,228
Quote:
Originally Posted by banderabob View Post
< snip > ...but tank readings on our unit are worthless.
Ours too! I could stand under a tree in the next county and GUESS and be just as accurate as our Micro Pulse.
__________________
2014 23D International Serenity - "Fortune Cookie"
2015 Ford F150 3.5 EcoBoost, Max Tow - "Cookie Monster"
And some stuff

Fortune Cookie: https://www.flickr.com/photos/rfpd30...57663633667345

"The Black Swan": https://www.flickr.com/photos/rfpd30...57648991024725
RFP is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-18-2020, 04:41 PM   #13
Rivet Master
 
greghoro's Avatar
 
2013 25' Flying Cloud
Wheaton , Illinois
Join Date: Aug 2014
Posts: 523
What year trailer or what monitoring system?
greghoro is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-18-2020, 06:05 PM   #14
rasyl
 
rdsyl's Avatar
 
2018 30' Classic
CALGARY , Alberta
Join Date: Oct 2018
Posts: 21
The Sea level monitoring system in our 2018 Classic provides a rough idea. Black and Gray seem close. Fresh has never shown 100% even though we always fill to overflowing and lately it seems to drop to 55% quickly, which doesn't make sense. But, we are comfortable with our feel for the actual water level based upon our usage habits and 9 months of use in the past 2 years. We prefer no hookups and living off solar, so we practice the good conservation habits mentioned by others in this thread.
rdsyl is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-19-2020, 06:30 AM   #15
4 Rivet Member
 
Mikebrady62's Avatar

 
2019 27' International
Rogers , Arkansas
Join Date: Aug 2019
Posts: 266
As we are coincidentally parked here just outside of Park City at Jordanelle SP our black tank has shown 75% full since we arrived on empty. It cannot have more than 5 gallons in it now but I have seen mine go from 65 down to 10 over night. So I suggest going with common sense and try to pay attention how much comes out, then rinse and repeat several times when emptying. Throw a sanitizer pack down and add some water before you get back on the road. Hopefully that will clean the tank up a bit for better readings.
Mikebrady62 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-19-2020, 07:23 AM   #16
3 Rivet Member
 
Park City , Utah
Join Date: Jul 2020
Posts: 115
Quote:
Originally Posted by greghoro View Post
What year trailer or what monitoring system?
2018 FC 23FB with SeeLevel II
switters is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-19-2020, 07:25 AM   #17
S/O#080
 
Tschupp's Avatar
 
2006 30' Classic S/O
Tucson , Arizona
Join Date: Aug 2017
Posts: 73
Wow, you have sensors that read levels. Mine haven’t for years despite flushing my tanks after every dump and doing a bio lean a couple of times a year. We know the black tank always fills last our gray fills first. We empty gray water into black water tank, dump the dish water down the toilet. The two of us boondocking have stretched to 14 days between dumps and refills but 10 is more likely. You too will get a feel for water usage and become a gauge for your tanks. Happy travels. Isn’t Watchman grand?
Tschupp is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-20-2020, 08:35 PM   #18
3 Rivet Member
 
Park City , Utah
Join Date: Jul 2020
Posts: 115
Thanks, everyone. After a couple days things seemed to normalize a bit. Then we went to Bryce and were at Ruby's Inn and Campground, which has full hookups. That was a first for us so we got to experience what that is like. I don't expect the sensors to be perfect and already I have a pretty good feel for where things "should" be, it was just unexpected to see the fresh tank at 100% after 1.5 days.
switters is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-23-2020, 10:01 AM   #19
1 Rivet Member
 
2010 20' Flying Cloud
Spring , Texas
Join Date: Aug 2020
Posts: 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by banderabob View Post
dumping dish water outside,

Dude. Don't do this.
Big Ol Dad is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-23-2020, 10:57 AM   #20
2 Rivet Member
 
Chicago , Illinois
Join Date: Jan 2018
Posts: 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by RFP View Post
Ours too! I could stand under a tree in the next county and GUESS and be just as accurate as our Micro Pulse.

Yep, that's about it.
janicemd is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Micro-Pulse Tank Sensors - Inaccurate Readings kebrita General Repair Forum 4 08-05-2020 10:17 PM
Fresh Water Level Inaccurate. PLane Fresh Water Systems 5 08-11-2018 07:16 AM
Fresh water tank repair and rebuild black and grey water valves Sierra Skier LP Gas, Piping, Tanks & Regulators 0 07-25-2018 10:55 AM
Getting False Readings on Grey Tank Ponyfvr Plumbing - Systems & Fixtures 17 05-02-2017 05:01 PM
Black Tank, Grey Tank, New Tank, Old Tank Bunkroom Waste Systems, Tanks & Totes 3 07-22-2014 08:35 PM


Featured Campgrounds

Reviews provided by

Disclaimer:

This website is not affiliated with or endorsed by the Airstream, Inc. or any of its affiliates. Airstream is a registered trademark of Airstream Inc. All rights reserved. Airstream trademark used under license to Social Knowledge LLC.



All times are GMT -6. The time now is 08:45 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2020, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.