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Old 10-27-2021, 02:00 PM   #1
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2020 16' Bambi
Port Hueneme , California
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Black Water Tank meter not reading correctly

Hello,


I've had this issue a couple of times. I have a 16' Bambi Sport for about 2 years. I just dumped my black water tank and once I put a some water and chemical in it the meter by the sink showed 13% which seems consistent with all the other times I've dumped it. This morning it was still at 13 until I washed a couple of dishes, brushed my teeth and washed my face, now it's showing 44% full. If I figured it right that would be 4-6 gallons of water.



Is there any way to physically check how much is in the black water tank?


Yesterday, when I dumped it showed 90% and judging from how long it took to empty the tank that reading may have been correct.



Thank you in advance for any input.


Dave
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Old 10-27-2021, 03:43 PM   #2
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Woodstock , New York
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Black Water Tank meter not reading correctly

This may help in the future. In Aviation pilots never rely on their fuel gauges, well because they can fail, so they figure what the aircraft burns in a climb and cruise configuration, that’s the most reliable. You can do the same. You have a 21 gallon on board fresh water tank and a 21 gallon combination black and grey water tank. I suggest you make sure your trailer is level fore and aft n’ side to side. Only fill your fresh water tank even when you have city water available, till you have more confidence in your gauges. I believe the gauge is on the outside of your tank and not internal to the tank.
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Old 10-27-2021, 03:58 PM   #3
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I bought some Happy Camper Extreme cleaner for when this happens. Before I could use it I met someone in a campground that had been traveling with his family of 5. He had tried everything to get the sensors or the walls clean enough for the sensors to work and nothing did the trick. I gave it to him and told him to text me whether it worked or not so I would know if it is something I should keep handy. He said he put it in with a full tank, rode to the next destination, dumped and his sensors worked again! So I now keep some, just in case.

The analogy to airplane fuel is OK but my instructor always told me to always fill up to 100% fuel. The only time you had too much fuel was when you were on fire. That might not be true of what is in the black tank.
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Old 10-27-2021, 04:11 PM   #4
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Black Water Tank meter not reading correctly

Quote:
Originally Posted by LilPeanut View Post
I bought some Happy Camper Extreme cleaner for when this happens. Before I could use it I met someone in a campground that had been traveling with his family of 5. He had tried everything to get the sensors or the walls clean enough for the sensors to work and nothing did the trick. I gave it to him and told him to text me whether it worked or not so I would know if it is something I should keep handy. He said he put it in with a full tank, rode to the next destination, dumped and his sensors worked again! So I now keep some, just in case.

The analogy to airplane fuel is OK but my instructor always told me to always fill up to 100% fuel. The only time you had too much fuel was when you were on fire. That might not be true of what is in the black tank.


Not necessarily to use full fuel at each flight, in fact some airports don’t always have fuel available, that’s the reason to keep time, although that wasn’t the reason why I used the analogy. It’s sort of the same principal. The sensors aren’t internal.
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Old 10-27-2021, 05:06 PM   #5
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Hi

The contents of the black tank pile up and stick places. The piles tip over and can hit the walls. ( Yes, this is the abridged version ....). A full scrub of the tank likely will take multiple flushes and some driving around with just water in the tank. Half full of water is a good starting point. Running the cleaning / flushing system for an hour is also a good start ....

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Old 10-28-2021, 03:46 PM   #6
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I share the same problem. Gauges seem to act sporadically when filling (as when flushing the tank before heading home). Goes from "0" to "20", long pause on "20", jumps to "45" etc. I assume this is the sensor/float getting stuck. Makes me nervous as we approach 100% (not when flushing black tank, but filling fresh water tank).
We had a build up in the black tank. On this forum, I found this formula:
.5 cup Borax (bought at Big Box Store)
.25 cup Dawn Dish Liquid (MDW has a large refill bottle on hand)
Poured thought toilet into Black Water Tank.
Added a bag of ice cubes (sure wish ice company/store would have this frozen before melting into large chunk instead of individual cubes).
Then, drive to next camp site.
Once there, all connected to city water and sewer, ran flush. Observed archaeological formations passing through the stinky slinky.
I assume this process was helpful in improving the sensor/float as well as releasing the stored material.
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Old 10-28-2021, 05:14 PM   #7
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On most trailers (not recent Classics with macerator toilet) you can look down through the toilet with a flashlight to check tank level.
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Old 10-28-2021, 06:05 PM   #8
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I just pooped this question on another thread.
I don't 'pile up' in the the BT, flush completely after every emptying, drive at least 25mi before dumping, use Happy Camper and 1/4 cup dawn after dumping.

YMMV

Bob
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Old 10-28-2021, 07:15 PM   #9
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In the 2 years we've owned our Intl Serenity, we've spent a good portion of those 2 years in it, traveling all over and not once have we had a problem with the gauges. I credit flushing the black tank everytime I dump it. You've likely got some toiled paper hung up on the sensor so if it was me with this problem, I'd probably dump the tank, put 1/4 full water (with or without a detergent) and go for a drive, it'll loosen everything up so you can dump completely. If you flush everytime you dump, you'll see there is still residual black water in that 2nd attempt.
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Old 10-28-2021, 09:50 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by buttnerd View Post
Is there any way to physically check how much is in the black water tank?
Yes. Get your self a flow meter that attaches to a garden hose. They sell on these Amazon for about $15
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Old 11-03-2021, 01:30 PM   #11
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Gaugues!!!

These gauges are good many but not all times. You should know about how long it takes to fill your tanks after a couple seasons. the grey tank will bubble up in the shower.
I always empty both tanks when leaving a campsite then I add a couple gallons of water in both and chemical in the black so it slouses around in them while driving, hopefully cleaning the edges/sides a bit.
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Old 11-03-2021, 04:41 PM   #12
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A 2nd to “wazbro”. Don’t sweat it. Sooner or later it will quit reading all together. Just look down the hole when you flush.
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Old 11-03-2021, 09:25 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by buttnerd View Post
Hello,


I've had this issue a couple of times. I have a 16' Bambi Sport for about 2 years. I just dumped my black water tank and once I put a some water and chemical in it the meter by the sink showed 13% which seems consistent with all the other times I've dumped it. This morning it was still at 13 until I washed a couple of dishes, brushed my teeth and washed my face, now it's showing 44% full. If I figured it right that would be 4-6 gallons of water.



Is there any way to physically check how much is in the black water tank?


Yesterday, when I dumped it showed 90% and judging from how long it took to empty the tank that reading may have been correct.



Thank you in advance for any input.


Dave
Look down the toilet. Use this recipe. Tried and true. I traveled a couple years with older seasoned airstream people. That taught us a lot.

DUMP A FULL TANK
When camping and connected to a sewer/septic intake, leave the drain valves closed until the tank is full and ready to dump. This provides sufficient water to flush solids from the tank. Leaving the drain valves open allows the water to drain off without flushing out solid waste. That solid waste will collect in the tank(s) and cause problems over time. If your tanks are not full when you are ready to dump them, fill them with fresh water first, and then dump them.
DUMP DIRTIEST TANKS FIRST
This means first dump the black (toilet) water tank first, then gray water tanks. This way you will be flushing out the sewer hose with progressively cleaner water.
USE WATER SOFTENER, DETERGENT, and CHLORINE BLEACH
Buy a couple of boxes of powdered water softener – Calgon Water Softener preferred because it dissolves quickly in water. Dissolve two (2) cups of the water softener in a gallon of hot water. Then, pour the solution down the drain into the empty tank. Use two cups of softener for each wastewater tank in your RV. The tank’s drain valve should be closed. Add a cup of laundry detergent at the same time as you add the water softener. Then use the tank normally until it is full and drain it normally. With softened water, wastes washes away instead of sticking.
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