Indicator Lights

#1
I am having a problem with the indicator lights that tell you if the black, grey fresh water and propane tanks are full or empty. The propane tank always shows full, the black water tank always shows full, the frsh water will only show 3/4 full, but will show empty. The grey water only shows 1/4 full even when I know it is closer to full. I have flushed my black water tank, loaded it with chemicals, drove around, dumped, filled it to the top, dumped.......etc...still not working....any solutions?
 

ARCHER

Senior Member
#2
Re: Indicator Lights

Actually the tank sensors really don't work that well. I would just set a schedule and dump by it. The LP gauge should be working, but if your talking about a Class A or Class C and it has a perm LP tank installed, there should be another gauge by the tank that should enable you to determine fullness.
BTW, welcome ;)
 
#3
Re: Indicator Lights

Thank you, This is the second Class A motorhome we have owned and the first one we had the indicator lights worked very well. I think we were spoiled. I have heard they do not work well, but it makes me nervous not knowing the exact levels. We normally camp along the Pacific ocean and there are no services, so I guess we will have to learn to conserve and get a long with out. I am just looking for a way to get them to work. We have a 30 foot 2002 Monaco La Palma. Thank you
 
#4
Re: Indicator Lights

Well, my little ole Winnie Class C gauges work just fine. Of course, it has only had one owner; me! :)

I think the trick is to keep them clean. Your's may not have had that done to it at some time before you owned it. Our advantage here in Texas is that we don't really have a 'storage' season, so my MH gets used some all year round.

This is a subject that has been discussed here often. If you do a search on the forum, you will find more info on keeping the sensors clean, but what might interest you in the search is info on how to get them clean and working (without diving in, so to speak!)

It can be done.
 

Kirk

Senior Member
#5
Re: Indicator Lights

On the waste water and fresh water tanks, there is an adjustment for them which is located behind the display panel's face plate. If you carefully remove that face plate, near each of the displays there should be a very small potentiometer which is the adjustment. While your waste tanks could be in need of cleaning, but the fresh water tank should be accurate, if adjusted properly. I would start with the tank either full, or empty.

Adjust the potentiometer to where the indication is proper, but such that it just goes to that indication, from the direction of the mid-point of the indication. In other words, if the tank is empty, turn the pot to where it says 1/4 and then back off to where it just starts to read empty. If you start with the tank full, adjust to 3/4 and then to where it is just indicating full.

Once that is complete, adjust the level to where it is 1/2 and fine tune it for accuracy, then go to empty/full and adjust again. Make full and empty accurate as they are the most important. For waste water the process is the same, but it is more difficult to do since you can usually look at your fresh water tank and see where the actual level is. When I did my waste water tanks, I knew the total volume of each tank and so began with the tank empty, then adjusted the level with a 5 gallon bucket as a measure.

Also with waste tanks, any residue that is left behind will effect the accuracy and that will probably cause it to vary from time to time. Some folks put a great deal of time, money and effort into keeping the waste tank levels accurate but because the manufacturers use some of the cheapest type of level indicators, most RVs are of fair accuracy at best. The quality of the tank indicators does vary quite widely. Some can be pretty accurate, others are useless. Most fulltimers soon get to where they know how long the tanks will last and only use the display as a general indication, if at all.

There are better quality tank level indicator systems available but they are also fairly expensive. Typically the cost to purchase one is between $300 & $500 and if you get it installed the price will depend on the ease of getting access to your tanks. The cheap ones just measure resistance between electric points which extend inside the tank wall. The good ones use a capacitance probe method that can be very accurate and last for a long time. Such systems were developed for use in submarines and we only needed to do level indication adjustments to them once each year, back in the 60's. But they can also be quite expensive and so are seldom used.
 

DL Rupper

Senior Member
#6
Re: Indicator Lights

My holding tank gages stopped working the first year we owned the RV (1995). The fresh water gage has always worked. I just count the days, showers, and hair washes to know when to dump. At last resort when the water backs up in the tub or sink I know it's time. My black tank lets me know by the sound of the plop when the toilet bowl is flushed. :laugh: :bleh: :eek:
 
#7
RE: Indicator Lights

I am new to the forum, so thank you all for your quick responses. I will take a look at the adjustments behind the panel and try that. Thanks
 

utmtman

Senior Member
#9
Re: Indicator Lights

4evrfree, I had the same problem on my motor home and we ended up having to get a new wall panel gage circuit board put in. Good luck, hope its more simple.
 

DL Rupper

Senior Member
#10
Re: Indicator Lights

Jim, It's the kerplunk sound I listen for. :laugh: ;) Works great. I spent more money than you can imagine trying chemicals to clean the senors. Well I finally gave up and use the Kirk method for my holding tanks. Lots of water and not much else. Seems to work as well and it's a lot cheaper. Our tanks are well vented and there's no bad smell so why use chemicals. Just listen for the kerplunk!!!!!!!! :approve:
 
#11
Re: Indicator Lights

I'm with you...no chemicals. I think the real secret is to flush the tank really good each time you dump. I've never used chemicals. Are you familiar with adding a water softner product to the tank....its suppose to keep the tank slick so "stuff" won't stick.
 
#13
Re: Indicator Lights

Oh, boy....thats all you gotta say?????????????? Your tank probably could use something to make it slick. Can't wait to see what you do with that coment!
 

DL Rupper

Senior Member
#14
Re: Indicator Lights

Hey Jim, I use calgon every once in a while. It helps to clean the tank. I use laundry detergent with the calgon and every once in a while I pour some bleach in the tank shortly before dumping. I don't use it very often anymore because it doesn't seem to do much more than the water does. Don't tell Kirk. shhh.
 
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