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Old 08-27-2014, 02:31 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!
Larry
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Old 08-27-2014, 03:06 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, 03:47 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, 04:00 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, 04:16 PM   #5
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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.
I tried that one time, it must not work on aluminum tanks.
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Old 08-27-2014, 04:39 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, 04:02 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, 04:10 PM   #8
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How much hot water?
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Old 08-30-2014, 04:15 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, 04:23 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, 05:39 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, 07:44 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, 09:06 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, 10:41 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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Old 08-30-2014, 11:59 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lsbrodsky View Post
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!
Larry

Possible that you could tell me how this device was listed in the Magazine, or even the Product name from the box it came in?
Thanks, Derek
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Old 08-31-2014, 04:06 AM   #16
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It is called the Truma Levelcheck and you can find it at truma.com

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Old 08-31-2014, 05:59 AM   #17
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I fill propane tanks here at the shop and seen various kinds of these, however after time or a slight "dropping" of tanks they seem to read inaccurate. I can only agree with Phoenix, the tare weight is stamped on the tank (TW) and depending on your tank size, being a 30# or 40# add the (TW) to the tank size and you will have the full limit of your tank. You should not have to write anything down, unless the filler is not giving you your moneys worth. A bathroom scale will work for this just fine. A 30# tank when full should be about 54 lbs. Aluminum of course is lighter and the TW would show this.
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Old 08-31-2014, 06:39 AM   #18
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You can get a double bung tank with a float gage in it.

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Old 08-31-2014, 09:11 AM   #19
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I've got the MOSCAP tank ultrasonic checker and it works well. http://www.amazon.com/GasCheck-Propa.../dp/B00EUG1DCE

Also have heard that an IR thermometer will work. Just need to have some propane being used. When gas is flowing the propane will get colder.

And the most accurate way as previously mentioned is weight. 50# fish scale will do fine since most tanks empty are about 23# or so, at least the ones on late model AS.
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Old 08-31-2014, 09:29 AM   #20
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Yes weighing is the most accurate, but my objective was to avoid having to disconnect and lift the tank off of the A-frame. The ultrasonic sensor is a more elegant and less physical solution for me.
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