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Problems with Whale water system

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Problems with Whale water system Empty Problems with Whale water system

Post by hblewett Tue May 12, 2015 9:14 pm

Sadly I have to seek assistance/advice on our Whale system.  Last time the problem was with the immersible pump while we were in Finland.  This time we are in Romania and we're having problems filling the tank.  We're not too sure how many helpful English speaking Whale system experts we're going to find here!

Having tried to fill a few days ago and never got beyond the panel reading '0% Full', we wondered if we might have more water in, as the level sensors are not always wholly reliable.  We ran dry after two days, so very little went in in 1/2 hour of trying.  Today we tried to fill with both the hose and the external pump, and the water is just not going in - we can hear a trickle, but that's all it is - 1/2 hr of leaving the hose on and 15  mins with the external pump confirm there is little to no water going in - something is kaput.

I'd be grateful for any diagnoses, solutions, thoughts or anything which may help, please.  At the moment we are working off bottled water - we stocked up at Lidl's today to make sure we had some, and some plastic containers to refill, and at least at 35p for 5 litres we've not broken the bank yet with our coping (if not terribly well) solution!
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Post by moggyminor1966 Tue May 12, 2015 10:11 pm

Are you sure you have switched the 12v power on at the control panel. If you have then it could be the solenoid inside the van opposite the filler input. Maybe the filter on the inlet to the solenoid could need cleaning.
If it will not fill using the submersible pump then it sounds like the solenoid is not operating to open the input to allow water into the tank.
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Post by Peter Brown Wed May 13, 2015 5:55 am

I haven't personal experience of this system but I think the solenoid operated valve just inboard of the fill point has failed. It is there to facilitate a permanent connection to a tap to autofill the tank on demand.

I expect you could bypass it but I'm told that a temporary solution is to backfill via the freshwater tank drain tap assuming you can access a mains pressure water source and fabricate a connection from it.

I have a couple of rubber connectors that are designed to push over various sized taps and connect to a hose. One of those pushed over the drain tap and connected to a pressurised water source should allow you to fill the tank till water appears from the overflow.

I hope this helps.

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Post by hblewett Wed May 13, 2015 7:37 am

Thanks Peter.  I thought I had read on here about some such device, and I guess that is the problem.  Good idea about 'backfeeding' the tank through the drain tap, I'll see if I can get one of those type of tap connectors.  Of course I have one at home which I used to carry in the old van, but as it is useless under the pressure needed to fill this one It's now in the  shed at home!!
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Post by hblewett Wed May 13, 2015 3:07 pm

moggyminor1966 wrote:Are you sure you have switched the 12v power on at the control panel. If you have then it could be the solenoid inside the van opposite the filler input. Maybe the filter on the inlet to the solenoid could need cleaning.
If it will not fill using the submersible pump then it sounds like the solenoid is not operating to open the input to allow water into the tank.
Thanks MM.  Yes, definately got the 12v switched on.  I can't see why the filter should need cleaning, it's only evr had clean water put in it, so I guess it must be the solenoid  - or maybe the connections to it?
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Post by Gromit Wed May 13, 2015 3:52 pm

Absolutely no help to you at present I fear, but we were chatting yesterday to someone who got so fed up with the Whale system that they got Autosleepers to fit a standard Fiamma "hole-in-the-wall" filler which takes a garden hose or the spout of a trusty watering can.

Interesting to note that Autosleepers now fit both systems as they have on our new van, but I doubt if we shall ever use the whale set-up. Just too much hassle and too many people having problems with it. (A/S must have been inundated with complaints - but why continue fitting, and charging customers for a fancy system which would be better offered as an optional extra!!)

Sorry to be of no immediate help, and I wouldn't necessarily ask Autosleepers to fit a Fiamma filler 'cos they are very expensive, but maybe a call to your dealer when you get home to see if his technician can fit one for you??

Hope you get it sorted.

Dave
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Post by moggyminor1966 Wed May 13, 2015 4:03 pm

hblewett wrote:
moggyminor1966 wrote:Are you sure you have switched the 12v power on at the control panel. If you have then it could be the solenoid inside the van opposite the filler input. Maybe the filter on the inlet to the solenoid could need cleaning.
If it will not fill using the submersible pump then it sounds like the solenoid is not operating to open the input to allow water into the tank.
Thanks MM.  Yes, definately got the 12v switched on.  I can't see why the filter should need cleaning, it's only evr had clean water put in it, so I guess it must be the solenoid  - or maybe the connections to it?

If it is the solenoid then try this as I got one as a spare and cheap as chips.

[You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]
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Post by Peter Brown Wed May 13, 2015 4:28 pm

[You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]

Above is a photo of the whale installation I took whilst mooching round a dealers a couple of years ago.

IF you can get at your installation it should be easy to remove the solenoid to see if its working.  If its jammed in the closed position and you can't free it (assuming its a mechanical and not associated circuitry fault) it looks as though you could remove the solenoid from the pipe with 4 screws and cover the hole with a bit of plastic blue tacked to seal and held in place by wrapping with duct tape.

As I've not had hands on I don't know if there is anything else in the plumbing that would stop the water flow.

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Post by paul bullock Wed May 13, 2015 4:53 pm

Sort of pleased to see from the photo mine wasn't the only A/S wired/plumbed by a 5yr old!!!Regards Paul
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Post by Gromit Wed May 13, 2015 4:55 pm

Just went out and looked at the rat's nest shown in Peter's photo. shrugg

It looks as though there's a pipe that goes straight through the floor into the tank, after all the gizmos and gadgets. It should be possible (even easy) to disconnect that pipe and connect it to a hosepipe. A fairly tight push fit would be OK, so long as another person is on the tap and ready to switch off the instant you yell out!!

It's obvious on our van, so suggest you have a look.

Dave

P.S. I wouldn't suggest you try to fill the tank, but you should be able to half fill it without risking a flood.


Last edited by Gromit on Wed May 13, 2015 10:12 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : typo)
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Post by hblewett Wed May 13, 2015 8:33 pm

Thanks for all these helpful emails - what a brilliant bunch of people on here allthumbz hugegrins  We've just got back from a late afternoon/evening visiting Sighisoara - the birthplace of Vlad the Impaler.  Very nice place without him here, and with a nice meal inside us at what, for us, is a bargain, the water problem seems to be not too bad!  

I'll have a look in the morning and see what I can make out of it all, but with your help I now know it is not too daunting an issue.  I will certainly be buying a new solenoid and a spare when we get home.  

Somehow when you're away travelling/visiting and touring places there just isn't the time to 'waste' delving into these things when there is an alternative solution.  Armed with all this helpful info I know I won't be potentially wasting hours, puling my hair out (what's left of it!) and making things worse by delving into the problem, so many thanks for all the help.
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Post by inspiredron Thu May 14, 2015 7:09 pm

The filling is controlled by the solenoid valve in Peter Brown's post above but there is also a float switch which is in the tank.  So power goes from the Sargent to the float switch, then to the solenoid.  The float switch turns off th epower when the tank is full.  It might possibly have stuck in the Full position. Check that there is power to the solenoid when the Sargent is on.  I am guessing that the 12V+ is the brown wire. I think that white and red is Sargent's earth (12V-) convention.

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Post by hblewett Fri May 15, 2015 9:24 am

Thanks Ron, that's very useful to know - I'll work on it
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Post by boggythediver56 Tue Jun 02, 2015 8:55 pm

Sorry for delayed response (just read the posts today). I've had similar problems with this system and almost unbelievably found the small gauze filter in the solenoid valve inlet port to be blocked. I too always fill with clean ? water and almost always soft.

Depending on access the valve is easily removed and the filter cleaned and/or replaced. I made some new filters which I now carry as spares.

Interesting point Peter makes about filling through the tank drain. I must make an adaptor for this purpose.
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Post by GrahamF Tue Jun 02, 2015 10:26 pm

Sorry for delay in picking this up but my internet has been off due to a lightning hit. My Whale system failed 18 months back in this manner due to the solenoid not opening necessitating me to use the back fill method that I put forward on the forum. The actual fault was due to the wiring corroded on the float valve in the tank as "Inspiredron" has indicated resulting in no 12V being supplied to the solenoid. Unfortunately this float valve is difficult to get at without dropping the tank - hence I resorted to a dealer for repair. However as the backfill method is so much quicker at filling the tank (third of the time on lowish pressure supplies) I have continued to use this ever since and have given up on the Whale input for all normal use. Hope this is useful.
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Post by hblewett Wed Jun 03, 2015 6:53 pm

Thanks to you both for your helpful advice.  We have just been managing with bottled water (refilled as we go) which is not too bad - better than giving up on the trip.  When we get back I'll sort it all out and see what's best now I have more understanding of the likely problems and options to resolve the way forward
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Post by boggythediver56 Wed Jun 03, 2015 7:30 pm

Today I made and tested an adaptor I made to connect to the fresh water tank drain and it works fine.

I'll probably retain it as an auxillary method of fill 'til the Whale system inconveniently fails.

Anyone requiring further details I will be glad to share. up!
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Post by ajrm Fri Jun 05, 2015 6:28 am

I had mixed thoughts about the whale system fitted to our Broadway and have had times when I haven't managed to fill the tank from service points with lower pressure after paying my €2 for 10 minutes of water. Most of the time it's been fine though.
We are currently refurbishing our house in France and we are living in the van parked on the drive. This is where the whale system comes into its own. We are permanently connected to water and the valve automatically fills the tank on demand without me having to intervene.
Perfect, while it works, but I might think about fitting a standard fill point alongside the whale unit, just in case!
I'd be interested in seeing any photos of how this is installed on the newer vans do I can copy it.
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Post by Tonyr57 Sun Oct 24, 2021 6:20 pm

boggythediver56 wrote:Sorry for delayed response (just read the posts today). I've had similar problems with this system and almost unbelievably found the small gauze filter in the solenoid valve inlet port to be blocked. I too always fill with clean ? water and almost always soft.

Depending on access the valve is easily removed and the filter cleaned and/or replaced. I made some new filters which I now carry as spares.

Interesting point Peter makes about filling through the tank drain. I must make an adaptor for this purpose.
I think the filter must be blocked on our nuevo, pump is trying to pump in water, sometimes none gets through but on the last attempt I managed to get half a bucket in but very slow. Is the access to the filter from outside and if so presumably the 4 screws that sit within the connector housing rather than the ones that hold the housing in place? Thanks in anticipation
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Post by inspiredron Mon Oct 25, 2021 12:23 am

NO. If you look at the photo early on in this thread you will see a blocky thing with a pipe top and bottom and a wire to each side. Disconnect the wires noting which way round they fit and then press the small collars on the pipe fittings towards the valve to allow the pipes to be withdrawn. Then you can remove silt from the gauze filter (which I have never managed to remove).
Your problem could also be that the Whale of is not fitted properly into the socket on the van. The notch in the hinge of the lid MUST engage with the top of the block.

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Post by Caraman Mon Oct 25, 2021 6:56 pm

The solenoid valve is there to stop the water flow when connected to a mains tap and the tank is full.  If you are happy to lose this function you could replace the solenoid with a short piece of pipe.  There will then be no filter to get blocked and the pump will still stop when the tank is full.
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Post by Tonyr57 Tue Mar 08, 2022 8:57 pm

Just planning our first outing, filling was still very slow so took the advice , disconnected the solenoid section,removed it, looked at the filter and all gunged up, rinsed it out , replaced it onto the van and now filling ok, so thanks all for your help
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