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Old 05-08-2009, 01:37 AM   #1
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Why would the gray water light say "empty"..when it can't be??

We bought a 1997 Jayco Eagle 5th wheel. Have done a lot of maintenance to improve it. And we have lived in it for the first time for a week.

But as far as the gauges...everything looks accurate, except the gray water. It is showing "empty". Granted we have done our showers elsewhere. But we've run water to clean some dishes, washed our hands, brushed our teeth...you name it.

The fresh water lights are accurate--the tank is empty and lights show it to be empty. The black water tank is accurate--it shows full and looking down the toilet drain, it's full. And the battery lights are probably accurate too.

So what's up with the gray water? There is NO valve that would be shut and directing it to the black water that we know of.

Janie
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Old 05-08-2009, 07:13 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by doodlebug52 View Post
We bought a 1997 Jayco Eagle 5th wheel. Have done a lot of maintenance to improve it. And we have lived in it for the first time for a week.

But as far as the gauges...everything looks accurate, except the gray water. It is showing "empty". Granted we have done our showers elsewhere. But we've run water to clean some dishes, washed our hands, brushed our teeth...you name it.

The fresh water lights are accurate--the tank is empty and lights show it to be empty. The black water tank is accurate--it shows full and looking down the toilet drain, it's full. And the battery lights are probably accurate too.

So what's up with the gray water? There is NO valve that would be shut and directing it to the black water that we know of.

Janie
Well, Janie, in 20 years of Rving (and not withstanding our new trailer) I've never had accurate gray and black water tank lights. They're cheap, they get dirty easy, the wires break off easily, etc. As best I can tell, it's one of the weaknesses of the industry. If you really want accurate tank monitors for gray and black, consider upgrading to some aftermarket monitors. Search on the forum and see what's out there. Someone will pop in with some good suggestions. David
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Old 05-08-2009, 11:04 AM   #3
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There are two types of tank gauges "Standard" and "Fancy electronic"

If you have a fancy electronic system such as the SEE LEVEL I can not help you

But the standard one I can line out for you

battery(1)----Panel------(F)--/\/\/\/--(2/3)--/\/\/\/--(1/3) (C)---(ground)

Note 1: Battery includes the fuses, converter, and such
(F) (2/3) (1/3) and C refer to the "probes" in the tank

Your problem is most likely that your line looks like this

Battery---Panel---x

Where X is a break in the wire

Now.. IN practice the wire from panel to "F" actually goes to a small cube, this cube has 3 4 wires, the one to the panel, and one to each of the probes. Locate this cube and the wire to the sensors panel

Use a straight pin to pierce the wire to the panel and a jumper to connect the pin to ground (Look at the "C" sensor) the panel should now show FULL, if it does, it's working and the wire is good and the cube is likely bad

If not try a different ground (Perhaps the ground for the black tank)

if that fixes it,,,bad ground

IF nothing lights up the panel, then the wire from the chip to the panel is broken

On my coach they used some fairly heavy wire (like 14ga) to string long runs in the coach, the sensor wires are like 20 ga or smaller, they used BUTT connectors (Crimp ons) and they simply did not hold.

I had to hook 2 or 3 of 'em back up properly (Soldered 'em I did)
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Old 05-08-2009, 10:38 PM   #4
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An update that makes our gauges even worse!!

WELL....after posting all the above...we emptied the tanks today. And guess what the gauges say! Black water says it's 3/4 full and gray water still empty. We have a faulty gauge. Guess I have to order a new one? I do note that instructions say they are unreliable anyway. So how do you know when your tanks are full??

Janie
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Old 05-08-2009, 10:53 PM   #5
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One of the little spoken "beauties" of RVing is that in time you just learn what you "output." You'll learn that the grey starts getting full in x days and the black maybe in y days and that you gotta gotta gotta dump everything after z days. Everyone's rig/use will be different, but you just learn your "output!" I've got the fancy gauges and they read spot on, but over time I have learned and just "know" when I need to pull the plugs!

Of course, when the shower starts filling with water you are probably a day too late!

If you can swing it, I'd bypass the original setup and just install one of the external measuring new setups available these days. Extremely reliable and probably a whole lot easier than debugging your existing setup.
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Old 05-09-2009, 09:21 AM   #6
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It's always fun to try to figure out what is full and needs your attention. You don't want to dump your black water until it is 2/3 - 3/4 full, though.
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Old 05-09-2009, 11:29 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by doodlebug52 View Post
WELL....after posting all the above...we emptied the tanks today. And guess what the gauges say! Black water says it's 3/4 full and gray water still empty. We have a faulty gauge. Guess I have to order a new one? I do note that instructions say they are unreliable anyway. So how do you know when your tanks are full??

Janie
You know the gray tank is full when water backs up in the shower

You know the black tank is full when the toilet won't flush

Seriously: The gauges are not broken, that is normal In a prior post I showed how they are often wired... Just a single wire from the panel to a plastic chip and wires from the chip to the sensors. The chip has 2 or 3 resistors in it. one per sensor (including the common sensor)

The Sensors are nothign fancy, just a nail or screw that extends into the tank.. That is all, they are NOT electronic at all


So how do you tell when it's Full... Two ways The one above or install a better gauge system such as the See-levelhttp://www.rvgauge.com/rv.htm

Here is the problem: IF there is any "Slime" or anythign else that sticks to the side of the tank or gets snagged on the sensor it still shows "Wet"

Normally the 1-down from Full sensor, will do this

I have used the "Geo" method (Empty tank add 1/2 cup each Dawn Dishwashign Liquid (regualr not anti-bacterial) 1/2 cup Calgon water softener (power/liquid, no difference) five gallons water, drive 50 miles, dump again) after doing this the tank showed FULL (Which it was, of soap bubbles) but it quickly dropped to EMPTY as the bubbles popped.

Or I can pressure wash the sensor wall (1/2 inch pipe, capped with 1/4 inch hole in the side of the cap (Drill in line with printing on the pipe) hose fitting on the top end, feed with anti-siphon valves (plural) and aim toward the sensor wall, move around some so you blast the whole wall, turn off water (NOTE you do with with the dump valve open) remove pipe and wipe with Clorox to clean, Wear disposable gloves, dispose of usign haz-mat protocall)
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