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Old 09-11-2018, 11:32 AM   #1
1978 Excella 500
 
1978 31' Excella 500
Novato , California
Join Date: Jul 2018
Posts: 33
Propane tank level sensors - 1978 Excella Control Panel

My 1978 31' Excella has the original control panel for showing the main/auxiliary tank levels, fresh water tank level, battery charge as well as the levels in the propane tanks. However, the previous owner(s) cut the sensors off the tanks in the front of the trailer. So I have bare wire to tap into, but I have no idea what type of, or where to get, replacement sensors that would work on the tanks in order for the original panel to work as it did back in 1978 (up until whatever occurred to have an owner cut the wires and do away with the original sensors).

Does anyone know what type of sensor that would work with the original panel? And where to get them?

Attached a picture of the panel (red leds on the right most part of the panel are for the left/right propane tanks) - disregard the red arrow, that was for trying to find the oven hood handle replacement knob (which I've yet to find a replacement).

Thanks much!
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Old 09-11-2018, 02:03 PM   #2
retired USA/USAF
 
2001 30' Excella
Somerset , New Jersey
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Not sure how things were done in '78 but on our 2001 Airstream the tanks had a dial gauge on them with an attachment lug for the wire. So, in our case, the tanks would need to have the gauge capability. We have non-dealer tanks now with no gauge or place for the wires to attach so no remote level readings for us.
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Old 09-11-2018, 05:57 PM   #3
1978 Excella 500
 
1978 31' Excella 500
Novato , California
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Quote:
Originally Posted by polarlyse View Post
Not sure how things were done in '78 but on our 2001 Airstream the tanks had a dial gauge on them with an attachment lug for the wire. So, in our case, the tanks would need to have the gauge capability. We have non-dealer tanks now with no gauge or place for the wires to attach so no remote level readings for us.
Meaning the tank had a gauge that read pressure, and the gauge itself output signal to a wire?
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Old 09-11-2018, 08:03 PM   #4
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1994 34' Excella
Warren , Manitoba
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Tanks have a guage and the wire attaches to the gauge. They never worked on my 1994 and I would not waste time or money to make them work. None of my friends that have the gauges have theirs working either. Spend your $$ on more important things!! I have only seen them on the aluminum tanks, and several people that have had the new valve systems installed had the gauges removed when the tanks were recertified. JMHO
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Old 09-11-2018, 09:45 PM   #5
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2000 25' Safari
1999 34' Excella
Davidson County , NC Highlands County, FL
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Emittim3 View Post
My 1978 31' Excella has the original control panel for showing the main/auxiliary tank levels, fresh water tank level, battery charge as well as the levels in the propane tanks. However, the previous owner(s) cut the sensors off the tanks in the front of the trailer. So I have bare wire to tap into, but I have no idea what type of, or where to get, replacement sensors that would work on the tanks in order for the original panel to work as it did back in 1978 (up until whatever occurred to have an owner cut the wires and do away with the original sensors).

Does anyone know what type of sensor that would work with the original panel? And where to get them?

Attached a picture of the panel (red leds on the right most part of the panel are for the left/right propane tanks) - disregard the red arrow, that was for trying to find the oven hood handle replacement knob (which I've yet to find a replacement).

Thanks much!
What you are looking for is a sending unit that threads right into the tank, much like or the same as an oil pressure sensor on vehicles. Somewhere in this forum one member posted that he had used a General Motors part on his motor home propane tank.

If the propane cylinders (tanks) on your trailer have been replaced you may not be able re-connect a sending unit. The original cylinders had an additional threaded port that a sensor screwed into. Worthington used to make or provide these, but they are no longer shown on their website. You might give them a call to ask if they are still available.

Another option may be Manchester. They have several models of sending units and gauges.
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Old 09-11-2018, 10:36 PM   #6
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2016 25' International
Deerfield , Massachusetts
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The bluetooth sensors by MOPEKA work great. About $70 to cover two tanks. Bluetooth.
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Old 09-12-2018, 03:07 PM   #7
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Fort Worth , Texas
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I believe all the senders regardles of brand are 90 ohms. The tanks must have a port with a liquid level arm mechanism screwed in. This arm drives a magnet that drives the gauge when attached. If your tanks have the port all you need is the gauges that fasten to the bases in the port with two screws. I think vintage trailer has Worthington tanks. They would come with senders if they are still available.
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Old 09-12-2018, 04:07 PM   #8
retired USA/USAF
 
2001 30' Excella
Somerset , New Jersey
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Hi Emittim, Yes that's exactly it. They were 30# tanks and were replaced with 40#ers by the previous owner but he also gave me the original tanks with gauges. I sold them last year at a rally. So we have twin 40#tanks with no remote monitors but I'm OK with that. I remove them and shake it to check when I need to fill.
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Old 09-13-2018, 01:22 PM   #9
1978 Excella 500
 
1978 31' Excella 500
Novato , California
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Thanks for all the replies! Now it's just a matter of doing more homework and deciding if it is worth the hassle to have the 'retro' feel of the original diag panel showing the levels of the tanks, or just ignoring it and going with a modern techno solution (or just saving the money for more beer and not having a level sensor at all, and just do the manual pick up and shake method...)
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Old 09-13-2018, 03:55 PM   #10
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2001 30' Excella
Somerset , New Jersey
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Just to set things straight. I have a copyright and patent on the pick up / shake method of tank level measurement. Every time someone does this they have to set aside 1 beer for me. Payable upon meeting down the road sometime. Has worked well for me for a long time.

You won't be sorry so long as you remember to check them once and awhile. Or else you'll be surprised at 3am when the heat goes out.
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Old 09-13-2018, 06:19 PM   #11
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1991 34' Excella
1963 26' Overlander
1961 26' Overlander
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Here is what the sender/gauge looks like. I really should clean it, I'm leaving on a camping trip and just found out both tanks are empty. Growl.
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Old 09-14-2018, 12:25 PM   #12
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2007 22' International CCD
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You havenít heard growling until you run out of propane in the middle of DWís shower time...
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Old 09-14-2018, 01:21 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rmkrum View Post
You havenít heard growling until you run out of propane in the middle of DWís shower time...

Or, 1 am on New Years morning when it's 30 degrees outside.
DW>
Me>
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Old 09-14-2018, 02:57 PM   #14
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1991 34' Excella
2009 34' Panamerica
Telluride , Colorado
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Vintage trailer supply has them, not cheap.

I replaced mine after the originals failed.... dontmwork. I think I accidentally got 30 pound when I needed 40 pound sending units.
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