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Old 11-05-2012, 12:54 PM   #1
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Tank level on control panel

How reliable is the tank level indicator on the control panel?

Yesterday, we emptied our black & grey tanks at the dumping station on the campground.
Shortly after, when we checked the tank levels on the control panel (just to make sure), it shows that "Tank 1" (which I assume is the black water) is still 2/3 full !?

It took a few minutes to dump the black water, so I assume it's empty. Before I closed the black water hookup during dumping, I made sure nothing was coming out anymore, so could we have a clog or should we not rely on the control panel to give an accurate level?

Thanks,

Jorn


P.S. We have a '95 Sovereign.
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Old 11-05-2012, 01:49 PM   #2
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You could have both problems. I would put a bag of ice in the tank and drive around a little before I dumped the next time and then flush it from the inside while still hooked up to the dump. The sensors on that year Airstream are also not totally reliable, so I would drive around with a nice clean tank of water for a while to help clean them up before I dumped again.
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Old 11-05-2012, 01:51 PM   #3
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Tank level indicators are notorious for failing/giving erroneous readings.

The sensors inside the tanks can easily get covered with crud.

To verify that your black tank is empty simply look down the toilet with a flashlight. If there is no fluid then it is empty.
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Old 11-05-2012, 03:00 PM   #4
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I'm finding the same issue with our '01 Excella. Is there a remedy for this ???? Is it something we can repair ourselves ???
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Old 11-05-2012, 03:23 PM   #5
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Thumbs up Cleaning sensors off.

I ran into the same problem with the sensors not reading the level of both the black and the gray tanks. Late last year after so some research on keeping tanks clean and also the sensors so they work properly,on our first trip of the season I put in each tank 1 cup of powered laundry soap and 2 or 3 cap fulls of fabric softener along with the other chemicals that I always put in. Well after a few weekends when the tanks were full I was so surprised at the amount of black gunk that was flowing out of the gray tank. the rest of the camping season I did it 2 more times. Now when I dump my tanks my gauges read empty and work great. I think the fabric softener creates a protective film over the sensors. Now that the tanks are clean I think that once a year treatment should be enought.
Jim
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Old 11-05-2012, 03:28 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dwightdi View Post
The sensors on that year Airstream are also not totally reliable,
That is an understatement.....LOL... they work once in a while, if you are lucky, and the moon is blue and the tide is high and it is not raining would be more like it.

Sorry, I just never had any luck with tank sensors on the gray or black water side. Fresh water tank would generally give me a rough idea of level there, but even then there are very few original equipment sensors on any RV's that work well. I guess some after market ones can be ok, but have never had the pleasure of such.
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Old 11-05-2012, 03:30 PM   #7
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Oops, I was speaking in general terms, not specific to the original poster's rig.
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Old 11-05-2012, 09:18 PM   #8
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My fresh water tank seems to be reliable. We had a 1985 Excella and the gauges were good even after all those years. Now on the newer one they seem to be fouled up. I will try the detergent and fabric softener in Feb. if we take our trip south again. Since they are there I'd like to see them, at least, be somewhat reliable.

Thanks all for the input.
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Old 11-17-2012, 10:18 AM   #9
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Stay tuned all as a different approach to monitoring tank levels will be introduced soon, where the approach utilizes proven techniques used in the sewage treatment industry for years and years. The system went through "numerous" modifications to reduce cost but to make installation as easy as possible, which is a major concern for the DIY's on this site. Sorry for the delayed introduction of the system but I had to "pay the bills" as well as design some high priority products for your market. The system has also included functionality to diagnose and maintain the system to readily identify faults should any occur, although we have not been able to create an actual fault in the system through our testing scenarios. If a fault should ever be detected we strive to provide the support necessary to enable DIY repair of the system. Additionally rather than intentionally design the system for "replacement" with a future system, we shall provide an "update service" to enhance your system with new "features" for which your hardware will be capable of performing rather than "replacing the unit". In effect the sysem is designed to meet the desires of the DIY individual as well as the OEM.

Again, despite making every effort "alpha testing" (hand built final design) revealed some flaws in our "customer requirements" where the initial unit to be introduced was cost optimized, but in reality, DIY individuals preferred the "two module unit" as it was easier to install due to "physical access" issues. Thus some "more repackaging design work", changes to existng designs so say components are used in all system configurations, and of course, now more testing. As they say; "At some point you need to shoot the engineer". So stay tuned as I believe the system will far exceed your expectations of any tank gauging systems and should be available shortly. Since all design decisions consider quality, reliablity and ease of installation first we will soon be posting detailed information of initial units for comments from "real users" for the next versions, where your comments are always given serious consideration and numeorus comments from this web site on existing systems is what motivated the development of this product line. So please, stay tuned as you comment will be appreciated.
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Old 11-17-2012, 05:03 PM   #10
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We have a '95 too, so we probably have the same system.

Our fresh water indicator works fine.

Our gray always indicates (at least) 1/3 full. Our black tank always indicates 2/3rds full (or more, I forget). I suspect the sensors are gummed up.

I've used the tank sprayer with no luck. My next attempt involves some of that "sensor cleaning" chemical. You put it in and let it soak while you drive around with the tanks full, then dump. I have the chemical but haven't gotten the chance to try it yet. I keep meaning to put it in and fill the tanks as prep for a camping trip, but I either forget or am going camping somewhere that doesn't have sewer hookups. And the bottle says you shouldn't use it at less than 70 degrees.
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Old 01-11-2013, 11:10 AM   #11
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C5Don I would like to hear more about your new design
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Old 01-16-2013, 09:05 PM   #12
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I would like to hear more about C5Don's new system, too. The MicroPulse system installed on my 2012 is stupid, it's located in a stupid place, and is just begging to be superseded by something that actually works.
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Old 01-17-2013, 08:05 AM   #13
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The system in our '97 hasn't worked for years.
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Old 01-17-2013, 08:54 AM   #14
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Well, still sitting on the edge of my seat waiting for the solution. We'll be heading south in a few weeks and I think I will try the washing detergent and softener as it seems to be the simplest. Hope it works.

See ya'll on the road sometime
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Old 01-17-2013, 09:43 AM   #15
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I will try to give a good response this weekend as I am in a "firedrill" on a product you guys will "really like" where I will say more once released. The reason the Tank Gauge is "not released" right now is during an alpha site investigation it was determined that I really needed to include the "two box" system out of the chute versus the cost optimized single box system for the reasons implied by Wild-Air above. Since I know you guys like details, to cut to some details; the tank gauge includes two circuit boards, one for the color display/keypad and the other for the control module. These two boards, in the "distributed versions" are in two separate enclosures and interconnected by a CAN network, similar to the network in your tow vehicles. In another version these two are plugged together inside one enclosure. The control module has three "bubble tubes" that are small air lines like in a aquarium, that connect to a pressure sensor in the control module and to a small pipe fitting generally in the discharge of each tank. In the two enclousre unit the control enclosure is easily mounted a plumbed in you traditional tank bay of the rv/trailer. Then a typical phone cable is run to the display module where-ever you want to mount it. In the single enclosure system you would have to locate the single module where you want the display unit and then run three air lines to the tank discharge locatins. Bottom line is although two enclosures cost a little more than one enclosure, the flexibility "by customer feedback" seems to be more than worth the difference in cost. I tend to agree but was previously told by the "experts" that "only cost matters". As you can tell, I will have both versions available, but the first release has changed to the two box unit. This required me to design some mechanical parts and enclosure for the separate control module, thus slipping my release date. Got to get to work, but hope this helps.
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Old 01-18-2013, 12:53 AM   #16
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Sounds cool. Keep me posted!
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Old 01-20-2013, 04:09 PM   #17
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Market Research: I tried "very hard" to find the "posting rules and such" but was unable to find them, so I will try to be very careful in these market research questions but I "need" your feedback.
For ALL products, there is this common "cost versus functionality" tradeoff that must be made on many "features" that involve hardware, namufacturig operations and labor, where the hard part is determining "yes yo want the feature, but at what price?"

Per prior posts I will provide various versions of a tank gauge, like everyone else, but far fewer versions and generally mroe functional. But there are things I "could" delete and reduce cost. The "two enclosure" unit (display and moniotring modules) interconnects with a network cable and "all the costs of two enclousres, more connectors and so on are assumed in this product versus the "single enclousre" product contain "all funcationlaity:. So here goes for a two enclosure system;

1) Sysem draws less than one milliamp when off, and turns on when you press a button on the display module. The display module's color display obviously "lights up" when system power up, but how about the monitoring module. In the unlikely event you "push the button and nothing happens" the proble is either; disconnected power, boose wiere and although remote, a failed monitor module. I can install a diagnostic led, light pipe, hole in enclosure, and "seal it" to the enclosure so if you press the button, and nothing happens you can go to the monitor module and see if it is "flashing green or red". The question is, would that be worth between $5 to $10 to you?

2) Although this may sound absurd, system monitors fluid height to an increment of 0.01 inches where I display in "0 to 100%" or system is custom calibrated to tenths of a gallon or tenths of a liter. System currently contains ALL the hardware and software and configuration menus to custom calibtrate your tanks with a "rented flow meter" or "at a service center" or you can actually buy your own flow meter and use it. I can "cut the cost" by removing a number of components that "monitor the flow meter", "control an external water valve", "connectors to plug into board" and "remove a TON of configruaiton screens from display module" and such by moving those parts to a module that then "plugs into" the "monitor module" only during calibraton. The current design "provides it all" as you may initially be fine with the simple 0-100% but then later might want to add the convenience of "knowing gallons" in each tank. So is it worth $10 to $15 to you to have a "full featured" system that you can "enable functionalty and configure tanks" by just investing some time? I know many will use service centers and don't care, but for others, what do you want?

3) Enclosure communications / power cable is 6 conductor cable. Currently I use some "scew connectors" that are plugged into the display module and the monitor module, where you would likely use low cost round 6 connuctor phone cable available at almost any home cneter or hardware store. I "once used" RJ connectors, which are thos small connectors that "click into your old phones" and use the small falt cable. These too are also available from your local home centers, but since some may not want to spend $10 on a low end crimping tool I use the "screw connectors". THe universal "pluggable screw connectors" will cost you about $5 more then the RJ connectors but "anyone" can connect them. Does anyone care which is used as they both unplug? If you have a preference, why?

By the way the "round phone wire" can carry more current when adding "other modules" to the network, another reason it was used. I like the RJ's, but a lot of people do not.

I may be asking other questions, where your answers could affect the final product. I would like to thank you for your time in advance.
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Old 01-20-2013, 05:50 PM   #18
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Market Research: I tried "very hard" to find the "posting rules and such" but was unable to find them, so I will try to be very careful in these market research questions but I "need" your feedback.
There is a link at the bottom of most pages in the Forums to the Community Rules.

This is perhaps easier to follow:

http://www.airforums.com/forums/misc...ork&page=rules
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