Water Gauge (again)

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Water Gauge (again)

Post by merv on Mon Mar 06, 2017 8:19 pm

An interesting day spent having the water gauge sorted! The van is June 2016 and we've only had a total of 9 nights away since then because of poor health so  you can imagine my surprise when the fresh water gauge behaved erratically when filling and remained all over the place just before a short trip and on site last week. I read what I could find on the Forum and realised it was a common problem but I was surprised that it could have been limescale with so little use, (I never leave water in when we're not away.)
Back to Motorplus today and sensors were replaced. I don't have a great deal of technical knowledge but in previous posts here everyone calls them 'probes' and I have always assumed that the probes fit through the sides of the tank at the appropriate level. Are the sensors a different method of measuring the amount of water in the tank, I wonder? Anyway, apparently each new sensor now has a sheath on it to help prevent limescale but these new ones are giving problems in quite a short space of time from new!
Although we can all manage without the gauge through experience and guesswork, we really shouldn't have to. Time you sorted it, Auto-sleepers.
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Re: Water Gauge (again)

Post by Lemon2 on Sun Mar 12, 2017 10:49 am

Hi
I agree. My 2016 Nuevo is the same. Both the fresh and waste water gauges are erratic. Have been from the first few trips. Having asked our dealer about it I had what felt like a very honest response which was that consumers generally believed the gauges to be more accurate than they were and that the tanks were very shallow and therefore made it challenging for the gauges to read properly. Whether true or not I just decided to live with it. It would be great if AS sorted it as my van is the most expensive item I've ever bought other than my house and it seems a lot to spend on something that needs guesswork!

Interesting to hear about the sheaths used to prevent limescale. Thanks. I didn't know about that as a possibility.

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Re: Water Gauge (again)

Post by Peter Brown on Sun Mar 12, 2017 11:29 am

merv wrote:I read what I could find on the Forum and realised it was a common problem but I was surprised that it could have been limescale with so little use, (I never leave water in when we're not away.)
Back to Motorplus today and sensors were replaced. I don't have a great deal of technical knowledge but in previous posts here everyone calls them 'probes' and I have always assumed that the probes fit through the sides of the tank at the appropriate level. Are the sensors a different method of measuring the amount of water in the tank, I wonder? Anyway, apparently each new sensor now has a sheath on it to help prevent limescale but these new ones are giving problems in quite a short space of time from new!

Thanks Merv for noting your experience.

There have been many posts on this subject but in summary; the level detection circuits from the Sargent PSU terminate on the tank with five studs set into the side of the tank at rising levels.  The studs used until very recently are stainless steel screws held in place by surrounding rubber plugs with a metal insert that squeeze up and seal when tightened.  The 25, 50, 75 & 100% indications occur when minute currents flow through the water from the bottom stud to those above in a cumulative manner.  Approximately 2 cm (I've experimented and performance can't be enhanced by increasing the size of the stud) of each stud is exposed to water but as they scale up they resist the current up to the point none is passed and the level reads 0% all the time.

I learned at the NEC that AS had found a similar stud that has been successfully used for this purpose in US RV's for many years and have started to use it.  I made a note to investigate but haven't had the time yet, however I'm told: the studs are slightly thicker than the originals so could be used as replacements; the stud is coated with Teflon to the end and the tip is copper so should not attract scale.  I intend to investigate, acquire and experiment with these studs in due course but Mervs post has changed my optimism to pessimism.  I guess some electrolytic action could be attacking the copper tip but that is pure speculation.

The benefit of other experiences with these new studs would be appreciated.

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Re: Water Gauge (again)

Post by Billy Ruffian on Tue Aug 15, 2017 11:57 am

I've learnt to live with the guage reading 0%.    What I find frustrating is that the alarm goes off to say it's empty when you turn on the water at the control panel.   Can the alarm be disabled?
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Re: Water Gauge (again)

Post by Peter Brown on Tue Aug 15, 2017 12:29 pm

If you wire the bottom stud to the next one up, the gauge will always show 25% and you wont get the alarm.

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Re: Water Gauge (again)

Post by Gromit on Tue Aug 15, 2017 12:57 pm

Billy Ruffian wrote:I've learnt to live with the guage reading 0%.    What I find frustrating is that the alarm goes off to say it's empty when you turn on the water at the control panel.   Can the alarm be disabled?
Mrs Gromit has had the alarm a couple of times, and has managed to shut it up without swearing at it - a skill I've yet to master.  Whistle1

She just prods one of the buttons on the control panel and it stops. (I would never have thought of that! She's completely useless with anything technical, so maybe it was female intuition!!  broomstick lol4)
It's not a permanent fix anyway, and if it gets on your nerves too much Peter's suggestion would restore peace and tranquility.  up!

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Re: Water Gauge (again)

Post by dbroada on Tue Aug 15, 2017 1:16 pm

I press the "left arrow" button to silence the alarm.

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Re: Water Gauge (again)

Post by Billy Ruffian on Tue Aug 15, 2017 2:26 pm

Thanks Peter.   I'll do that.smile!
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Re: Water Gauge (again)

Post by Libraryman2 on Tue Aug 15, 2017 2:41 pm

My 2016 Ek Broadway had to go back to Derby autosleeper several times to have the issue sorted, however I use the term "sorted" in a loose way, I don't think it was really fixed for long!
I exchanged the Broadway for the Corinium ( hopefully delivered in 2 weeks) but I'm not optimistic about the water level system.

I was told by Derby service that they had never come across the sensors looking so bad as mine in such a short time.

Ray
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Re: Water Gauge (again)

Post by Gromit on Tue Aug 15, 2017 4:11 pm

A while ago Cymro and others devised a simple manometer type of water level gauge to indicate the level in their toilet flush tank.

I'm just throwing out an idea, but might it be feasible to set up a similar arrangement for the fresh water tank. I'm not sure where the "indicator" part of the tube could be located, and haven't crawled under our van to think of possibilities.

Or perhaps a magnet in a float inside the tube, with three or four reed switches attached externally at suitable heights, leading to a simple LED lights gauge? I'm useless at electronics, but I bet it can be done fairly easily.
Hmmmm. An interesting thought experiment, even if it is a bit far fetched. (Hope nobody sends the men in white coats!! scratch head hugegrins  wave )

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Re: Water Gauge (again)

Post by StewPotch on Tue Aug 15, 2017 4:37 pm

Dave,

Don't you think the problem is that we accept what the manufacturers give us, we pay for it, then try to fix it or make it better?

Maybe the manufacturers should invest in a reliable capacitance measuring system that works!  content
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Re: Water Gauge (again)

Post by Gromit on Tue Aug 15, 2017 5:09 pm

StewPotch wrote:Dave,
Don't you think the problem is that we accept what the manufacturers give us, we pay for it, then try to fix it or make it better?
I do indeed, however . . . .

I think a further problem is down to our age - well, a lot of us anyway. We were brought up in an era where things were repaired, rather than plugging a computer into a diagnostic port to determine which expensive module is to be pulled out and replaced with a new one. You didn't throw out a bundle of kit because one tiny part of it had broken, you were able to buy the spare part and repair it.  shrugg

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Re: Water Gauge (again)

Post by StewPotch on Tue Aug 15, 2017 5:15 pm

Dave,

I am of that age too, however, spending £50,000 + on a van, I do not want to be shorting links, fitting manometers, etc. to cover manufacturers short comings.
I work in an industry where technology advances (I have to try and keep up) - why can't MH manufacturers.

PS capacitance systems were used in Aircraft fuel systems in the 1940s. 

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Re: Water Gauge (again)

Post by bikeralw on Tue Aug 15, 2017 5:27 pm

Sign of the times. I'm just back from taking an old carpet to our local recycling centre, and the pile of electrical items thrown into a massive ship's container was amazing. I could see at least 20 lawn mowers, dozens of electric power tools, and too many vacuum cleaners to count. This made up just a small percentage of what was there.
Just not feasible to repair anything given the price of labour and the fact that if something is last year's model parts are no longer available..
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Re: Water Gauge (again)

Post by Libraryman2 on Tue Aug 15, 2017 5:30 pm

StewPotch wrote:Dave,

Don't you think the problem is that we accept what the manufacturers give us, we pay for it, then try to fix it or make it better?

Maybe the manufacturers should invest in a reliable capacitance measuring system that works!  content

This is my line of thinking! However the truth is that these motorhomes are built to a price in order to satisfy the market and what it will stand.
Personally, I'd rather the factory be up front and not fit something unreliable, I'd rather guess at the level than be fooled into thinking I have a reliable indicator.
Same goes for other aspects too! Don't fit crap!

Ray
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Re: Water Gauge (again)

Post by StewPotch on Tue Aug 15, 2017 5:49 pm

Ray,

I think you are 100% correct BUT you do say they are built at a price.
AutoSleeper choose a higher price, we buy it thinking we are getting quality but it's just the same as the bottom end of the market.
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Re: Water Gauge (again)

Post by Libraryman2 on Tue Aug 15, 2017 6:05 pm

StewPotch wrote:Ray,

I think you are 100% correct BUT you do say they are built at a price.
AutoSleeper choose a higher price, we buy it thinking we are getting quality but it's just the same as the bottom end of the market.

I wouldn't know to be fair, how Autosleeper compare price wise, when I bought my 1st autosleeper, I did not look else where really, of those I had seen; non fitted the bill.

So price was my second priority, not to be arrogant but I wanted to buy local (relatively) and as soon a I saw the Broadway knew it was o.k. So did the wife!

I'm not so foolish to think that they are perfect, I expect faults to manifest but faults that are due to poor quality fittings are another issue and have no place in an expensive vehicle.

Build issues and faults developing due to poor assembly, are to be expected unfortunately, it's the real world of quality control!
I suspect that many of us on this forum have worked in industry and seen the failure of production line assembly...it's common.

As for bottom end product, I can't agree, or at least my pride won't let me accept that I'm such a fool to pay a lot of money for rubbish!

Ray
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Re: Water Gauge (again)

Post by Peter Brown on Tue Aug 15, 2017 6:14 pm

There is a seperate forum for grumpy old men. This discussion is not going to help anyone trying to understand the water level indication system.

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Re: Water Gauge (again)

Post by Libraryman2 on Tue Aug 15, 2017 6:16 pm

Mmm Peter, not sure you comment is relevant, the discussion is about the poor or perceived poor quality of components!

Ray
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Re: Water Gauge (again)

Post by StewPotch on Tue Aug 15, 2017 6:18 pm

Ray,

I accept what you're saying and respect it. I can only speak for myself.
I probably spent two years looking at vans before I shelled out well over £50,000 on our van. On hind sight, I fell for it.
I have had the niggley faults with level gauges, blinds, cupboard catches.
I have had miswired 12v sockets that when I emailed AutoSleepers, they chose to ignore.
I have had water leaks from the kitchen and bathroom.
At the moment I am on the cusp of going national with a gas leak inside our motorhome that could have asphyxiated us or blown us up.
Nearly a month now and still waiting for anAutoSleeper management response.

For 50 odd grand and the vans a year old!!!!


Last edited by StewPotch on Tue Aug 15, 2017 9:01 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Re: Water Gauge (again)

Post by StewPotch on Tue Aug 15, 2017 6:19 pm

Yes Peter. I agree with Ray on the above.
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Re: Water Gauge (again)

Post by Libraryman2 on Tue Aug 15, 2017 6:25 pm

Just to bring this back on post, at the moment I don't see a cure for the water level indicator misreading, I wonder if in my case the issue was exasperated by the hard water in the potteries area, perhaps trying to be more selective what water hardness we use!

Sounds impractical to me even as I post hugegrins hugegrins

Ray
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Re: Water Gauge (again)

Post by Peter Brown on Tue Aug 15, 2017 6:31 pm

It is certainly the case that the hard water in the lotteries amplifies the problem (on the vans that have the problem). A couple of fills with soft eater gets things working properly.

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Re: Water Gauge (again)

Post by safariboy on Tue Aug 15, 2017 6:48 pm

Boats seem to use a pressure based system. Has anyone tried a boat gauge?
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Re: Water Gauge (again)

Post by Billy Ruffian on Wed Aug 16, 2017 5:46 pm

All the boat water gauge sensor units I've seen have a vertical spindle with a 'polo' shaped float around the spindle.   The float goes up and down the spindle according to the level of the water.
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