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Old 05-09-2006, 12:02 AM   #1
"Formerly Diplomat Don"
 
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Newmar Owners Club
Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: Moorpark, Ca.
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I thought I would share my Vena tank monitor installation. I have a 2005 Monaco Diplomat 36SKT with the standard tank monitor in a wall panel. I looked at both See Level and Vena. I chose Vena because I liked the look of the display and that all tanks are displayed at once and have alarms. The Vena panel is 4" x 6" and requires more space for mounting.

I did not want to cut up the old wiring so I bought 50 feet of (6) lead outdoor phone cord (recommended by Vena). I thought running the wiring would be the most difficult part, but it was the easiest. My monitoring panel is against a bathroom wall and my plan was to incorporate the Vena panel above the other switches and controls.

By removing a bathroom drawer and a couple of different service doors, I was able to route the phone cable through the wall and down into the tank bay. I opened an exterior door, (one that is screwed shut with no handle) to access all three tanks. You need to mount the sensor on the tallest portion of the tank. This door allowed me access to the largest part of the water tank only. I installed the sensor, cut open the phone cord and tapped into two of the wires for the fresh water tank. I fished the rest of the wire through to the other side where the tallest portion of my grey and black tanks are located.

Here's where I got bogged down. The tanks are behind the control panel for the water supply and sewer controls and would have taken a tremendous amount of work to disconnect all of the fittings and hoses. I was able to reach behind the panel and look with a mirror at both tanks. The grey tank was wider and allowed the application of the sensor unit without too much difficulty. (I should note that Vena uses a 6" wide sensor strip that has to be mounted to the tank. Before you purchase this unit, you need to see if you have a flat surface that will allow a sensor that wide to fit on the tallest portion of your tank. "See Level" uses a much narrower strip. I bought this unit without realizing this could be a problem.) Next came the black tank where I found embossed letters on the front of the tank. I was able to reach up behind the water panel and shave off the embossed letters with a razor knife and then sanded smooth.

The sensors were cut to length and applied to the tanks after they were cleaned with alcohol (not beer ) rubbing alcohol. I soldered all of the conections and was left with the propane tank connection. I didn't want to cut up the interior wiring so I went directly to the tank and connected the last two wires of my (6) lead telephone cord to the sensor at the back of the tank.

The bulk of the installation was now complete and I went inside to connect the wires. On my coach all of the slide switches, water pump, water heater, battery meter and tank gauges are all incorporated into a 7" x 14" aluminum panel that is screwed to the wall. I removed the panel and located a ground lead and a hot lead on the battery meter. My battery meter reads both the house and coach batteries by toggling the switch. I hooked to the house side because I would rather know the condition of the house batteries than the chassis. The upper half of the aluminum control panel has 4 slots cut in it that allow you to see the LED's that light up behind it on a small circuit board. This was my old tank monitor. I removed the ciruit board and cut a hole through the center of the slots so the Vena panel could be attached. I attached the Vena monitor to the upper half of the panel and it looked very clean and fit well.

The panel looks great and is easy to read. The only two things I didn't connect were the water pump switch, as it would be redundant, and a wire from the ignition to turn off the tank alarms when the engine was runing.

Tomorrow I'll do the calibrating which requires filling all of the tanks so the monitor can learn the values.

I consider myself fairly handy and this job took me six hours to complete. As with any install if I had to do it again it would probably take about three hours.

I'll try to provide an update with the usefulness of this new monitor after the next few trips. Vena
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Old 05-09-2006, 12:02 AM   #2
"Formerly Diplomat Don"
 
Dutch Star Don's Avatar
 
Newmar Owners Club
Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: Moorpark, Ca.
Posts: 9,279
I thought I would share my Vena tank monitor installation. I have a 2005 Monaco Diplomat 36SKT with the standard tank monitor in a wall panel. I looked at both See Level and Vena. I chose Vena because I liked the look of the display and that all tanks are displayed at once and have alarms. The Vena panel is 4" x 6" and requires more space for mounting.

I did not want to cut up the old wiring so I bought 50 feet of (6) lead outdoor phone cord (recommended by Vena). I thought running the wiring would be the most difficult part, but it was the easiest. My monitoring panel is against a bathroom wall and my plan was to incorporate the Vena panel above the other switches and controls.

By removing a bathroom drawer and a couple of different service doors, I was able to route the phone cable through the wall and down into the tank bay. I opened an exterior door, (one that is screwed shut with no handle) to access all three tanks. You need to mount the sensor on the tallest portion of the tank. This door allowed me access to the largest part of the water tank only. I installed the sensor, cut open the phone cord and tapped into two of the wires for the fresh water tank. I fished the rest of the wire through to the other side where the tallest portion of my grey and black tanks are located.

Here's where I got bogged down. The tanks are behind the control panel for the water supply and sewer controls and would have taken a tremendous amount of work to disconnect all of the fittings and hoses. I was able to reach behind the panel and look with a mirror at both tanks. The grey tank was wider and allowed the application of the sensor unit without too much difficulty. (I should note that Vena uses a 6" wide sensor strip that has to be mounted to the tank. Before you purchase this unit, you need to see if you have a flat surface that will allow a sensor that wide to fit on the tallest portion of your tank. "See Level" uses a much narrower strip. I bought this unit without realizing this could be a problem.) Next came the black tank where I found embossed letters on the front of the tank. I was able to reach up behind the water panel and shave off the embossed letters with a razor knife and then sanded smooth.

The sensors were cut to length and applied to the tanks after they were cleaned with alcohol (not beer ) rubbing alcohol. I soldered all of the conections and was left with the propane tank connection. I didn't want to cut up the interior wiring so I went directly to the tank and connected the last two wires of my (6) lead telephone cord to the sensor at the back of the tank.

The bulk of the installation was now complete and I went inside to connect the wires. On my coach all of the slide switches, water pump, water heater, battery meter and tank gauges are all incorporated into a 7" x 14" aluminum panel that is screwed to the wall. I removed the panel and located a ground lead and a hot lead on the battery meter. My battery meter reads both the house and coach batteries by toggling the switch. I hooked to the house side because I would rather know the condition of the house batteries than the chassis. The upper half of the aluminum control panel has 4 slots cut in it that allow you to see the LED's that light up behind it on a small circuit board. This was my old tank monitor. I removed the ciruit board and cut a hole through the center of the slots so the Vena panel could be attached. I attached the Vena monitor to the upper half of the panel and it looked very clean and fit well.

The panel looks great and is easy to read. The only two things I didn't connect were the water pump switch, as it would be redundant, and a wire from the ignition to turn off the tank alarms when the engine was runing.

Tomorrow I'll do the calibrating which requires filling all of the tanks so the monitor can learn the values.

I consider myself fairly handy and this job took me six hours to complete. As with any install if I had to do it again it would probably take about three hours.

I'll try to provide an update with the usefulness of this new monitor after the next few trips. Vena
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2014 Newmar Dutch Star - All Electric - 450 ISL
2016 GMC Canyon 4WD Crew Cab
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Old 05-09-2006, 04:09 AM   #3
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Don,

Thanks for posting about the panel installation. It's good to hear about the various systems out there for RV'ers. We're anxious to hear your nexts posts about it.
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