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Old 06-07-2004, 05:50 AM   #1
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Holding Tank sensors

My black water tank seems to read full as soon as any water hits the tank. It has done this since the day I bought the trailer, so I don't think it is a paper issue. Is there anything I can do about this or do these things just not work well?

Thanks, Andy
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Old 06-07-2004, 07:32 AM   #2
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Your unit has the new style sensor so this should work ok. Prior sensors went south fairly quick.

Silvertwinkie has some problems with his also on his new trailer. Since you are under warranty you should probably have your dealer work this out. So far mine are working ok.....

Jack
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Old 06-07-2004, 07:54 AM   #3
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Unhappy Sensors

I probably have bad news for you. This is my 3rd Airstream and the sensors just don't work well. A flashlight down the toilet and water in the shower are the most reliable ways to check!!!!!!!!

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Old 06-07-2004, 08:34 AM   #4
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There is supposed to be a calibration process that MUST be done when the tank is empty. If the calibration was lost this could cause your troubles.
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Old 06-07-2004, 08:50 AM   #5
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Ours reads full after first flush with a little toilet paper; I think the toilet paper must not slide by the sensor(s).
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Old 06-07-2004, 12:04 PM   #6
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anyone ever find out what the calibration process entails?

if you do please post it!

john
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Old 06-07-2004, 12:27 PM   #7
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Same problem with mine. I did the re-calibration process and it worked a bit. The fresh tank seems to work best, followed by the gray then black.

Gray when totally empty reads 3/8 full. Black registers totally full with a gallon or so in the tank.

The calibration process is a major PITA. Reason being is that you not only do an empty reading, but you also do a full one and it calculates the tank levels from that. In a Safari C that means that you will fill the 39 gal fresh tank, the 39 gal gray tank an 18 gallons in the black tank for a total of 96 gallons to compete the calibration test if all tanks are not working correctly. Somewhere it says in the manual you can do individual tanks, but I have yet to get it to work.

I actually spoke with the owner of the company that made the unit. He walked me through a few things. Needless to say, when I'm at Jackson Center, I'll be having them calibrate it or replace it since it too does not work as well as the owner told me it does.

Eric
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Old 06-07-2004, 12:30 PM   #8
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Thanks for the clarification Eric. I was wrong when I said they have to be empty They have to be full Maybe the flashlight system is the best???
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Old 06-07-2004, 12:37 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thenewkid64
Thanks for the clarification Eric. I was wrong when I said they have to be empty They have to be full Maybe the flashlight system is the best???
You were actually right Brett. They have to be empty for the first reading, but then you need to fill them to complete the process. I'll tell you what, the worst of the lot is the black tank and for now, the flashlight is what is working best.

Hard to believe, but our 2003 Bambi with the old system worked flawlessly. I know some folks had issues with the old system....now since we bought a new coach...with the new and improved tank monitoring system...I find I share the same pain others have had with the tank monitoring system. How ironic.

Actually, if anyone wants a PDF version of the process, the owner fella I spoke with sent them to me...PM me with your email address and I will send them to anyone that is interested. Keep in mind that the new coaches should have these documents in the paperwork that came with the coach.
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Old 06-07-2004, 01:39 PM   #10
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Keep in mind for those of you with older units that this is a new sensing system different than what you have seen in the past (2004 may be its first year). I agree that I have never had a black water sensor in any trailer that didn't fail shortly after we began using it. The new system is supposed to get by the problems left by debris on the walls of the tank.
Obviously it has its own hangups as experienced by Eric.

Jack
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Old 06-07-2004, 01:46 PM   #11
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From what I have read many of the new sensors work on a gross density basis. I don't know if the new Airstream ones work this way, but I bet they do.

The empty tank reading on the calibration is to set the minimum. The full tank reading sets a max density. The system then has a base line for comparison. Like one of the electronic stud finders. There are no probes to get gunked up since the sensors read through the walls of the tank.
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Old 06-07-2004, 03:50 PM   #12
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Okay, so you can try to calibrate, but how?

Are there controls on the back? I only have three swithes on the front of the panel.

It is too much trouble to haul the trailer to the dealer, and I am not sure that they could do anythibg with it anyhow. I had mentioned this to someone there after my first trip, and they said that it should straighten itself out!
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Old 06-07-2004, 04:04 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by andyfuson
Okay, so you can try to calibrate, but how?
Have you gone through your documentation that you received when your trailer was delivered? Airstream includes a small booklet from the manufacturer which details the process.

Jack
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Old 06-07-2004, 07:52 PM   #14
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Like Eric and the others have mentioned, the tap water tank is the most accurite. If I take a flashlight and place it on the fresh water tank and I can see the white translucent plastic my tank looks about 1/2 full, and that is what the control panel reads.

Our black tank not only showed Full after a short amount of time, but the red full indicater was blinking. The gray showed full and it started flashing at us, and to get an idea of just how full, we just kept filling, normal usage, until we saw water start to acumulate in the shower. Just sink and dish water. I then drained off about a gallon until the shower was empty, and off to the dump station.

Not real scientific, but it gave us an idea of just what kind of usage we were actually getting. And you can actually hear the water as it trys to get in the shower base.

Even though our black tank read full, there was just no way it could be, because as dumb as this sounds, I kinda kept a mental check of how much of what was gettin in there. The bowl fills with about a quart or so of water each flush, plus a quick spritz with the bowl spray.

A flashlight is handy to.
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Old 06-07-2004, 08:22 PM   #15
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I'm going to give Jackson Center a crack at it when I eventually get there. I expect the tank monitor to be somewhat accurate. As I said earlier, the manufac claims these sensors are suppose to be darn near dead on if installed according to their instructions. They told me that they personally trained the Airstream staff.

I trust that the unit will eventually work, however, I must say that I find it interesting that there are a growing number of folks with what appears to be a similar issue.
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Old 06-08-2004, 06:19 AM   #16
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FWIW, just got back last night from my first 1000 mile shakedown. On the '04 22' CCD, there are both a gray and black tank. My black tank reads EMPTY all the time. So, I used the "ol' flashlight down the hole monitor" to good success.

T'aint right tho, so I'm looking for those calibration instructions too. Nothing in the manual I got with mine... Just checked.
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Old 06-08-2004, 06:30 AM   #17
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X,

I have your email address, when I get settled this am, I will fire off the PDFs that the tank sensor company sent me on the calibration process.

Make sure when you do the calibration, you take your time and have the ol garden hose ready to fill the tanks and have a place to dump.

I think the 22' CCD with all tanks full is about 72 gallons.

Eric
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Old 06-08-2004, 06:36 AM   #18
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Thanks Twink! You're the best.

I'm all empty so itsa perfect time to calibrate!
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Old 06-08-2004, 11:37 AM   #19
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Not sure what my problem is. First time I used my trailer all tanks worked fine. Next time out black water registered almost full with very little use and grey water was not accurate but not as bad as black water. Battery, probane and fresh water seems to be OK.Do you think I have to recalibrate even though it worked the first time ?
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Old 06-08-2004, 02:14 PM   #20
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hate to join this club too but what the hec we've had ours fixed three times already by the dealer and it keeps on loosing this ... calibration!!

You can only guess how frustrated we are with this.

Anyway we're scheduled for yet another repair at the end of this season. Who knows maybe this will be the good and final one.

Anyone actually got it fixed and is still working? Seems to loose calibration when you empty the black tank and leave it empty for a while, as in winterizing..

Couldn't find the instructions in our docs. Eric please include us in your pdf mailing list. Thanks.

Ed keys- Yes we started out fine too...for a short while. Got repaired worked once, as soon as we flushed the black it was back to misreading! And so forth with the other repairs. Now it's even worse all the lights flash on and off with a different reading every time you press the status button. It's just gone fishing.
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