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Old 08-10-2018, 06:40 PM   #1
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Auto-Fill on fresh water tanks?

I keep thinking there should be an easy way to keep our fresh water tanks full. We are on the boat a lot and enjoy the shower, washing dishes, rinsing fruit etc. As we also use the boat frequently I'm not worried about the water in the tanks sitting - it will get used up often.

But while sitting at the dock we would like to keep our tanks full! For lots of reasons (we are in an earthquake zone after all) I would like to figure out how to have those tanks fill automatically.

My best idea so far has been to set up a connection to city water with a T valve (with a restricter) so we can just reach under the galley sink, turn a ball valve lever and let the tanks fill until water comes out the air vents. Then we can turn the handle the other way and have the city water go straight into our boat for use.

I also enjoy leaving for trips at the spur of the moment and it is great to just disconnect and go with little fanfare.

I've also read a LOT about the debates of connecting to city water etc and I'm totally comfortable with it (gallon meter, sediment filter, ball valve outside at the end of the finger where it is easy to remember to turn it off when we leave, and a large enough bilge pump that can keep up with city water).

Ideas?

Not sure if this exists but I can imagine a fresh water fill cap that integrates a hose connection on one side (um, the outside and a float switch on the other side. This would only work if the air vents are higher than the fill hole, or at least higher than the float switch which could possibly be in a flexible hose...our fill hose goes straight down far enough for this to work btw.
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Old 08-10-2018, 07:24 PM   #2
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Why not just top the tanks off before you leave the boat to go home?

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Old 08-10-2018, 07:53 PM   #3
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I have done this several ways on different boats. I start by connecting a 12v sprinkler valve to the end of a garden hose. Then I connect the garden hose to the tank fill. I then run the 12v wires through the old telephone sockets that most boats still have. Now if you have a TankWatch or a Gobius you can connect direct to these and they will auto fill from 1/4 tank to 3/4 tank. If not you can install a 120v light or fan timer. Don’t worry that they are 120v, they are just a timer switch and they are more than capable of handeling this 12v circuit. Now all you do is twist the timer and let it fill for a given amount of time.

I don’t like systems that can fail in the on mode, with the timer just make sure it’s not filling when you leave the boat. With the TW or Gobius there needs to be an on/off switch wired in for when you leave the boat.

My valve lives out side the boat and I use quick connects to be able to get off the dock quickly.
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Old 08-10-2018, 09:11 PM   #4
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The thing about automatic anything is they automatically fail when you don't want then to.....
I'd vote for a hose from the city water to the tank fill with a ball valve. Think that would be a far better idea...

Sit in the cockpit, turn the handle, and listen for the overflow. Tough duty...
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Old 08-10-2018, 10:35 PM   #5
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The thing about automatic anything is they automatically fail when you don't want then to.....
I'd vote for a hose from the city water to the tank fill with a ball valve. Think that would be a far better idea...

Sit in the cockpit, turn the handle, and listen for the overflow. Tough duty...
I agree. This might even classify as a first world problem. Some things are best just kept simple. Just sayin'
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Old 08-10-2018, 11:35 PM   #6
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This seems simple. Keep your tanks full, or don’t.

you are in charge. You are on the boat. Leavbe a hose connected to the dock water to make it easy. check your tank level and fill it up.

I have a hard time thinking about a rteason to make it more difficult than it is.
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Old 08-10-2018, 11:36 PM   #7
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This seems simple. Keep your tanks full, or donít.

you are in charge. You are on the boat. Leavbe a hose connected to the dock water to make it easy. check your tank level and fill it up.

I have a hard time thinking about a reason to make it more difficult than it is.
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Old 08-11-2018, 12:21 AM   #8
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I don't want to leave the water fill open with just a hose sticking into it, just waiting for bird poop or spiders

I also don't want the tanks to even get as low as 3/4's when we are just sitting at the dock.

A water fill port with a hose cap would work with the timer.

As I said, we go out on the boat at least once a week and we live where it is reasonable to expect an earthquake large enough to cut off the water supply for a week or three
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Old 08-11-2018, 01:30 AM   #9
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I seem to recall reading danbohn was prone to earthquakes cutting off water supplies for weeks on end. Can`t be easy.
If your tanks fill, where do they overflow?
What time period would you set on your timer?
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Old 08-11-2018, 01:42 AM   #10
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Lol Nothing like autofill when saying who you are.

My tanks overflow through the air vents and out the fill port. When the fill port is capped then just through the air vents. That's why I'll have to limit the volume and pressure so the air vent lines etc don't get blown off.
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Old 08-11-2018, 04:06 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Andiamo2018 View Post

My tanks overflow through the air vents and out the fill port. When the fill port is capped then just through the air vents....
My bow tank,one of 4 tanks,overflows into the bilge . No auto fill for us,but for you,perhaps. Even so,for safety, following the "What could possibly go wrong?" thought process,I`d do it manually.
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Old 08-11-2018, 06:33 AM   #12
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Raise the water tank vent above the top of the tank.

In a stanchion perhaps.

Then the dock water hose can simply be stuck in the fill and excess will run out onto the deck.

EZ to see EZ to hear , EZ to tend , no danger of turning the boat into a water tank.
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Old 08-11-2018, 08:16 AM   #13
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[QUOTE=Not sure if this exists but I can imagine a fresh water fill cap that integrates a hose connection on one side (um, the outside and a float switch on the other side. This would only work if the air vents are higher than the fill hole, or at least higher than the float switch which could possibly be in a flexible hose...our fill hose goes straight down far enough for this to work btw.[/QUOTE]

I would definitely buy such device if available.

Also, if I were building or re-configuring my water tanks, they would be set up with built in float valves installed through an inspection/access port. It would be nice to fill the tanks without having to monitor it so I can do other pre-departure tasks.

I would use the float valves linked below. They're durable and very simple. Just adjust it to stop below the vent.

https://www.amazon.com/Stetson-Devel...70_&dpSrc=srch
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Old 08-11-2018, 08:18 AM   #14
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If you want to automate the process you need to install a float valve in the tank.
https://www.amazon.com/Adjustable-Su...00543272&psc=1

I see Mahal beat me to it.


I’d install a limiter on the dock hose so that you can’t sink the boat if an internal waterline breaks.
https://www.qcsupply.com/360006-flow...iABEgJoMPD_BwE
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Old 08-11-2018, 08:24 AM   #15
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Why bother to use the tanks while in the slip?

A dockside water connection with a quality pressure control can simply be hooked after the FW pump .

Turn it on dockside when getting aboard and off when departing.

Cheap and seamless , with no wear to your FW pump.
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Old 08-11-2018, 10:56 AM   #16
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Also, if I were building or re-configuring my water tanks, they would be set up with built in float valves installed through an inspection/access port. It would be nice to fill the tanks without having to monitor it so I can do other pre-departure tasks.

I have been know to create solutions where there really arenít any problems. However, I really have a hard time understanding the OPs need/desire for such a device. I would go along with the keep it simple approach.

If I am around the boat, I can always here the water overflowing the vent and splashing into the water outside the boat. So I donít have to monitor the process closely. OTOH, it would be nice to have a way to fill the water tanks more quickly. The fill pipe will only take the water so fast so it does take a while to fill all 375 gallons.
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Old 08-11-2018, 11:02 AM   #17
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FF has the best suggestion, if you really want to complicate your boat life.

Quote:
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A dockside water connection with a quality pressure control can simply be hooked after the FW pump .

Turn it on dockside when getting aboard and off when departing.
You may need a check valve in front of the pump.
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Old 08-11-2018, 12:20 PM   #18
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Just add a ball valve next to a window and you have a solution.
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Old 08-11-2018, 01:21 PM   #19
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Quote:
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I have been know to create solutions where there really arenít any problems.
This is so totally me... That is one issue I work on constantly. Complicating an already easy project, well, that's been known to happen all too many times. Argh.

I recall boats sinking at the dock because a hose fell off and water filled the bilges faster than pumps could remove same. This was when hooked to city water and DECADES ago.

I don't know that I would risk such a thing.

Even though I won't do it, I do have three bilge pumps (two 2k Johnson's and an 800gph SeaSense) which will keep my bilges empty even with full force water from a hose incoming.

And yes, I've checked that. The 800gph won't do it -- the first (lowest) 2000gph Johnson kicks in and keeps up with the water incoming.

Side note: Make sure your bilge pumps not only come on automatically but also pump water!!! My highest pump was checked monthly. When the bilges were flooded however for a test nothing happened with that one. Pump vibrated/no water pumped. The Johnson was old so I replaced it.

Always test bilge pumps


Anyway, I would not auto-fill anything. I would fill up prior to leaving though. Have your boat "ready to go at a moment's notice" and if that requires filling the tanks the evening before you depart, so be it.

Personally, I would not fill the tank on the last day. There are too many distractions and opportunities for failure at the last minute. Do it the day before
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Old 08-11-2018, 02:20 PM   #20
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Flow restricter and valve attached to timer switch. What isnít shown are the quick releases.

Lot of old grandmaís on here who havenít fully read the OPís desires nor understand the solution. Flow rate is restricted, system only functions when some one is onboard.
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