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Old 01-19-2022, 03:27 AM   #1
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Propane tank gauge

We have a 12 gallon propane tank like the one in the link below. The gauge is all over the map and has no consistency. I know there is a float inside the tank that operates the gauge but not sure if the problem is the float mechanism or just the gauge. My question is can you replace the gauge while the tank has propane? I thought I would swap the gauge first before purchasing a new tank and see if that fixes the problem. Just in case you are wondering why I even care here is what happened yesterday:

https://tinyurl.com/yame5om5

Tank reading sitting level in campsite is 33% via SeeLevel and tank holds 9.2 gallons so estimated fill should be 6 gallons.

Move RV and connect toad and now the reading is 13 % and the gauge on the tank say Empty. So recalculate and estimate fill should be 8 gallons.

Get to propane filling station and now the reading is 19 % and fill should be 7.5 gallons.

Get the tank filled and it actually tanks 5.2 gallons.

Being an OCD engineer this drive me crazy.

Bob
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Old 01-19-2022, 03:41 AM   #2
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well after seeing the pic, as for it to show amt it has to have the pressure , i would say replacing should be done when empty or your loosing what's inside. Some of what you said makes sense but then actual fill/readings are off. But with the % that don't get put in does come into play. I would just go by what is actual amt in tank, Or run it dry with replacement in hand.
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Old 01-19-2022, 07:19 AM   #3
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It looks like the guage on my tank, which just clips on and is magnetic. It clips on over a non-magnetic alloy plug, and operates via magnets, not by a physical connection to the float. You can remove it whether the tank is full, or empty, you're not going to lose pressure.

It's a bit tricky to get the clips off, so I made this little pry tool (below) out of a bracket I had lying around.

I was getting wildly different readings on the gauge compared to the control panel, and replaced mine. They still don't read exactly the same, but now they're a lot closer. I think the gauge on your tank is more accurate, and the display on your inside panel is just a guesstimate.

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Old 01-19-2022, 11:05 AM   #4
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These level gauges are not that accurate... much like the level gauges for your fuel level. I never expected much more than an idea of the level being close to full or close to empty.

Ken
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Old 01-20-2022, 03:55 AM   #5
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These level gauges are not that accurate... much like the level gauges for your fuel level. I never expected much more than an idea of the level being close to full or close to empty.

Ken
A float is a float and if the vehicle is not in motion the float should be at a consistent level suspended in the liquid. I was aware that the coupling between the float and the gauge was by a magnet but just wanted to make sure before I removed the gauge. Tap4154 has given me the courage to replace the gauge. I am not sure this will improve the consistency of the readings but it's worth a shot.

For those that may be wondering I have added the SeeLevel tank gauge system with Bluetooth monitoring to our RV. I never look at the funky LED level indicators. I have installed the SeeLevel system on just about every RV we have owned. We love the new Bluetooth version and I am constantly looking at my phone to monitor the tanks. We calibrated the propane portion by having the tank filled until a hard shut off by the internal overfill valve and then followed the calibration procedure for the SeeLevel.

Bob
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Old 01-20-2022, 07:29 AM   #6
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If you want an additional read out on the tank level, look at the Mopeka level sensors. They can be used on certain horizontal tanks as well as vertical tanks. I have them on my 40# tanks on the trailer and they work well.

https://tweetys.com/tank-check-024-1...YaAgJ7EALw_wcB
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Old 01-20-2022, 10:12 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nodine View Post
A float is a float and if the vehicle is not in motion the float should be at a consistent level suspended in the liquid. I was aware that the coupling between the float and the gauge was by a magnet but just wanted to make sure before I removed the gauge. Tap4154 has given me the courage to replace the gauge. I am not sure this will improve the consistency of the readings but it's worth a shot.

For those that may be wondering I have added the SeeLevel tank gauge system with Bluetooth monitoring to our RV. I never look at the funky LED level indicators. I have installed the SeeLevel system on just about every RV we have owned. We love the new Bluetooth version and I am constantly looking at my phone to monitor the tanks. We calibrated the propane portion by having the tank filled until a hard shut off by the internal overfill valve and then followed the calibration procedure for the SeeLevel.

Bob
I don't worry much about the LED monitor not being perfect. Before I put the new gauge on the tank I used a magnet to rotate it, and saw that it was very close to the reading to the 5 LED panel. In fact right now the LED panel reads 1/2 full, and the tank gauge is between 1/2 and 1/3 full. Once it gets about to 1/3 on the tank gauge, the LED will begin reading 1/4 full, so in a way seeing 1/4 on the interior LED panel will give me fair warning, while I'll still have 1/3 of a tank. Plus it only takes a second to open the LP door and check the tank gauge.

But I understand your obsession. A nephew of mine is a great engineer, and these kind of things drive him crazy as well. I've always been a bit OCD, but over the years have let go of needing things to being perfect.
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Old 01-21-2022, 03:17 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by TXiceman View Post
If you want an additional read out on the tank level, look at the Mopeka level sensors. They can be used on certain horizontal tanks as well as vertical tanks. I have them on my 40# tanks on the trailer and they work well.

https://tweetys.com/tank-check-024-1...YaAgJ7EALw_wcB
Thanks for the link. Very interesting and I had not seen that.

Bob
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