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Old 01-07-2014, 06:58 PM   #21
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Originally Posted by FlyWright View Post
Sounds like the higher density of the buildup is throwing off the density calibration for the sensor. Try recalibrating your system instead of cleaning. Maybe it'll improve its sensing.
I don't have the instructions handy but I don't think there's a way to calibrate it. There are three or four sensors and when the level gets to a sensor it lights a light when the button is pushed.

Having just written that, it seems possible that placing a spacer between the sensor and the tank wall might reduce sensitivity and still allow it to work. A project for a rainy day.
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Old 01-07-2014, 10:17 PM   #22
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I don't have the instructions handy but I don't think there's a way to calibrate it. There are three or four sensors and when the level gets to a sensor it lights a light when the button is pushed.

Having just written that, it seems possible that placing a spacer between the sensor and the tank wall might reduce sensitivity and still allow it to work. A project for a rainy day.
I don't know...I'd think twice before changing the sensor-tank contact. Sounds like just the opposite of what you'd want to me. If you damage the sensor strip, you'll need to buy a new one.

Many manufacturers put instructions online in pdf format. I'd refer to the instructions and speak to the mfr before removing the sensor or modifying the system. Many of these systems are identical but with different company badging. Look for online instructions for recalibrating. It's a free resolution attempt without the potential of damaging the hardware.
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Old 01-16-2014, 10:09 PM   #23
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That old no longer used depth sounder could be put to use. (Odd shaped tanks may take some extra effort.) The idea is to place the transducer on the side of the tank with a couplant (a liquid that fills the void between the transducer and side wall of the tank. Water works well.) Start at a level low enough to be sure you have contents and look for a signal of the bottom (it will be the far side of the tank). That would be your reference signal. Repeat at higher levels until no reading is returned. That is above the content level. You can scan up the side the tank and find the level really fast. Works with any liquid in a tank.

I do this all the time in industrial applications using ultrasonic test equipment. It is rather pricey, hence the repurposing of old equipment suggestion. If anyone wants more info ask. Too much to try to post without knowing some specific application variables.
Yo, SD... Ya think that would work on aluminum gasoline tanks?!?!

Our Tolly has 2 100 gal tanks; electric gauges on salon console... they read, but I don't trust em! Transducer "rays" transmitted into/through explosive gas vapor of tank's empty portion toward top would pose no problem, I guess... eah??
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Old 01-17-2014, 12:57 AM   #24
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Far too complicated!
Inspection port in the top, and an arm. You`ll establish the level fast. Very fast.
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Old 01-17-2014, 02:18 AM   #25
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The dipstick was a joke, right? And the sight gauge with clear hose? Almost as bad. If you don't have a plastic tank you can shine a light through, you need to get one as pee will eat through stainless. Nothing more fun than a metal tank that leaks into the bilge, then you've got to get it out of the nicely finished cabin... If you have stainless poop tanks or tanks with a metal top pump out? Get rid of them before they fail or you will need a large bottle of Vicks to even get in the boat; strong enough to gag a cadaver dog! My friend's 55 has a leaker.......
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Old 01-17-2014, 06:45 AM   #26
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Yo, SD... Ya think that would work on aluminum gasoline tanks?!?!

Our Tolly has 2 100 gal tanks; electric gauges on salon console... they read, but I don't trust em! Transducer "rays" transmitted into/through explosive gas vapor of tank's empty portion toward top would pose no problem, I guess... eah??
Pretty sure sound waves are OK even in an explosive atmosphere....I think there are commercially produced fuel tank transducers.
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Old 01-17-2014, 08:27 AM   #27
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I doubt you will get a reading with a grounded alum tank. Your best bet if you need high accuracy would be a flo scan type system, I had them once and they were amazingly accurate, today I just keep track of run time.
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Old 01-17-2014, 09:36 AM   #28
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I'm a new owner of a Comano 31 and new to this forum. I cannot for the life of me figure out how to determine the level in the holding tank of this boat. My simple solution, unless I'm overlooking a method already present, is to simply drill a small hole for a dip stick and then cork it but sure don't want to mess with tank integrity with something stupid/unworkable.
Input appreciated.

An infrared temperature gun scanned over the side of the tank will detect a surface temperature change between the transition from liquid to air/gas inside the tank. Seems to work best in the morning after an overnight change in ambient temperature.
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Old 01-17-2014, 10:27 AM   #29
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Pretty sure sound waves are OK even in an explosive atmosphere....I think there are commercially produced fuel tank transducers.
Thanks, I'll look into that on the net!
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Old 01-17-2014, 10:41 AM   #30
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I doubt you will get a reading with a grounded alum tank. Your best bet if you need high accuracy would be a flo scan type system, I had them once and they were amazingly accurate, today I just keep track of run time.
Thanks! Don't know about readings on grounded aluminum??

Picked up a Flo scan for twins last summer at estate sale. Helluva great price, never used. Still in orig box and wrapping; bout a year old. Haven't had time to install - yet! I currently run time calcs too, and I do occasionally look at boat's electric gauges... with tongue-in-cheek - lol. Unfortunately both tanks fill tubes twist from deck to tank (they should have done it straight - would've been easy at factory). I'd use straight stick if possible; even 3/8" dowel won't pass through to either tank.
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Old 01-17-2014, 11:02 AM   #31
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An infrared temperature gun scanned over the side of the tank will detect a surface temperature change between the transition from liquid to air/gas inside the tank. Seems to work best in the morning after an overnight change in ambient temperature.
Yup! I use one. For me, I found that best time to tell is after engines have run for an hour or so; tanks are close by so their top area with vapor becomes notably warmer than lower portion with liquid. Still, I'm not always sure I'm getting accurate readings even then, and, its a pia to stop and open salon sole in midst of cruise for fuel-level check. In morning I'm suspect of readings; temps seem to have equalized. Keeping tanks topped off is always a sure way to have ample fuel... but with today's ethanol %age and fuel separation factor I'd like to not leave full tanks for too long a period. 2013 and likely 14 are reduced boat-time due to our 90yr Matriarch needing family company and care. Boat's docked 100 miles away in covered berth and great swimming areas; we go out for days each time... if near-by I'd/we'd be on her way more often for day jaunts... even with Nanaís needs.
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Old 01-17-2014, 01:10 PM   #32
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To the whole topic of holding tanks--a guage is a great help, but is not foolproof as others have mentioned. We leave a significant margin for error--having once tried to use 95% only to have it blowing out the vent on the side of the boat--nasty!
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Old 01-18-2014, 10:25 PM   #33
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Yo, SD... Ya think that would work on aluminum gasoline tanks?!?!




Our Tolly has 2 100 gal tanks; electric gauges on salon console... they read, but I don't trust em! Transducer "rays" transmitted into/through explosive gas vapor of tank's empty portion toward top would pose no problem, I guess... eah??
I missed this earlier.

Yes I think it would work fine. The sound will travel through the solid (wall) and any liquid and read an interface at the far side of the liquid/far wall. Technically both the front side of the wall and the far side of the wall will reflect sound, but the equipment doesn't have the capability of displaying it.

Sound does not travel very well though air (gases). So what you get is a "bottom" reading at the levels with fluid and no return "bottom" signal where it is gas.

Sound is mechanical vibration. Plenty of that aboard my boat. It is safe to use OUTSIDE the tank. The sound would be safe, but the electrical power inside a tank is not safe. Very little equipment like this is intrinsically safe. I am not aware of any that is.
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Old 01-20-2014, 11:29 PM   #34
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I missed this earlier.

Yes I think it would work fine. The sound will travel through the solid (wall) and any liquid and read an interface at the far side of the liquid/far wall. Technically both the front side of the wall and the far side of the wall will reflect sound, but the equipment doesn't have the capability of displaying it.

Sound does not travel very well though air (gases). So what you get is a "bottom" reading at the levels with fluid and no return "bottom" signal where it is gas.

Sound is mechanical vibration. Plenty of that aboard my boat. It is safe to use OUTSIDE the tank. The sound would be safe, but the electrical power inside a tank is not safe. Very little equipment like this is intrinsically safe. I am not aware of any that is.
SD Ė TY for Reply!

Because I have never before dealt with or researched items such as placing electronically manufactured mechanical vibration sound waves into/through explosive gasoline fumes (even from outside the tank through its inside liquid or fumes to its other side) I'm a bit concerned as to its 100% safety factor (although at first blush it seems that exterior emanated sound waves, mechanically or electrically produced, through enclosed gas fumes should be perfectly OK).

Brings to mind... if this sound wave feature of accurately reading tanks' fill level can be brought to 99% +/- accuracy there may be a product niche here for sales of a well designed system that could be affixed to many type tanks for ease of level readings?? Boating world might be a good customer! Wonder why no manufacturer has entered this as a feature to new or used vesselsí tank level reads?? Anyone know why!

Just thinken out loud! lol

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Old 01-21-2014, 06:23 AM   #35
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Level Transducers


Ultrasonic Level Sensor - Liquid Level Indicator - Tank Level Sensor

Transducers are available in variety of housings to suit the corrosive environments in tanks, typically PVC, Teflon, stainless steel and explosion-proof for hazardous, flammable liquids. We have had a case where a barge transportation firm requested that our stainless steel transducers were plated with 24 karat gold, to offer best corrosion resistance for the fluids they transport.
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Old 01-21-2014, 06:40 AM   #36
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Lots of them around ...

Ultrasonic Level Indicator | Tek Tanks
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Old 01-21-2014, 11:34 AM   #37
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Thanks, guys - I've reviewed sonar fluid level web sites you provided and emailed price inquiry to one. Other dealer seems bit pricy per tank... seeing as I'd like to have all five tanks in my boat reading their true level... $400 x 5 = $2000 + shipping! Will let cha know results, if any... - Art
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Old 01-21-2014, 09:35 PM   #38
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Whoa! Don't splash the cash yet!

I am not claiming to know all the products available but I can comment on some the issues to be considered.

The transducer reads through to the other side. NOT the level. Consider it a go, no-go reading. So the transducer must be scanned in the scenario I was talking about to determine the level.

On a holding tank one might be fine with setting the transducer at a chosen height such as 85% full.

It is possible to send a signal up from the bottom of the tank to read a level, but I think most installs are going to present issues.

Lots of stuff on the market. Some even measures flow. Some read velocity through the medium to tell what product is flowing through a pipeline for example.

I'm a trawler guy. Cheap and simple - remember.

Anyone with enough $$$$ is sure to find something that would work.

I use a dowel rod with 1/4, 1/2, 3/4, and full notches for fuel. I have straight down fuel filler to tanks.

A light on top of a poly tank for waste.

A valve to shut off the spare 3rd water tank until the other two are empty.

Using that old sounder you were thinking about tossing is as far as I'd take the thought aboard the Dog.
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Old 01-21-2014, 10:05 PM   #39
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Whoa! Don't splash the cash yet!

I am not claiming to know all the products available but I can comment on some the issues to be considered.

The transducer reads through to the other side. NOT the level. Consider it a go, no-go reading. So the transducer must be scanned in the scenario I was talking about to determine the level.

On a holding tank one might be fine with setting the transducer at a chosen height such as 85% full.

It is possible to send a signal up from the bottom of the tank to read a level, but I think most installs are going to present issues.

Lots of stuff on the market. Some even measures flow. Some read velocity through the especially medium to tell what product is flowing through a pipeline for example.

I'm a trawler guy. Cheap and simple - remember.

Anyone with enough $$$$ is sure to find something that would work.

I use a dowel rod with 1/4, 1/2, 3/4, and full notches for fuel. I have straight down fuel filler to tanks.

A light on top of a poly tank for waste.

A valve to shut off the spare 3rd water tank until the other two are empty.

Using that old sounder you were thinking about tossing is as far as I'd take the thought aboard the Dog.
Worry not, SD!

I'm strongly into good olí solid, inventive Rube Goldberg solutions... especially aboard a depreciating value property such as a 1977 Pleasure Cruiser! (well, maybe her depreciation has bottomed out! lol) Anyway - If I could I'd much prefer straight stick such as you have; my fuel tank filler tubes kink too much to even allow 3/8" dowel. I too use bright light for black water tank. Simply make sure to keep our two water tanks full

According to some I read on websites the senders available affix to tank top and by being qued to tank depth they provide %age of fuel remaining. The one Iím waiting price on can accurately read level in all 5 of my tanks.

Will let you know results if/when they get back to me... I sent an email to em. The $2K group of 5 senders I mentioned in previous email is a real, live NO GO!!
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Old 01-22-2014, 06:59 AM   #40
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I am not claiming to know all the products available but I can comment on some the issues to be considered.

The transducer reads through to the other side. NOT the level. Consider it a go, no-go reading. So the transducer must be scanned in the scenario I was talking about to determine the level.

WTF are you talking about?

The ultrasonic level detectors send an ultrasonic sound wave (just like sonar) from the transducer toward the liquid surface. When it hits the surface it is relected back and the time of travel is calculated and displayed as a height of liquid, or converted to quantity.

There is nothing on "the other side." The technology is older than anyone reading this post, it is about as solid as any technology can get. There is nothing Rube Goldberg about it.
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