|My Monitor Panel|
It seems simple to me that a company would want to manufacture something newer and better with the ability to use better sensors that would fit in the same space. As everyone knows, these things fail A LOT.
Wouldn't it make sense for some enterprising company to create a retrofit kit that would fit in the existing opening?? With generator switch/hour meters, water pump switch, water heater switch, etc. as well?
We have MUCH better sensor technology now that give much more accurate readings, but you have to add it someplace else???? Seems silly to me. I'd like to use the original space provided to mount a new monitor panel, that would allow me to access the new technology sensors.
|My Panel "Guts" At Least It Has LEDs!|
In my RV, I have already replaced a burned out one once, and that was really difficult to find!
I've tried to contact the various manufacturers, but they don't respond. I will keep trying as I believe there is a market for this product. I see many retrofits available now, that use the newer sensor technologies, but they are designed to be installed in another location. Either surface mounted or by cutting out a section of wall (or other "convenient surface") Personally, I don't like cutting into my RV unless I absolutely have to. Yes, I've done it...sometimes even successfully...but I didn't enjoy it!
Let's take a look at some of the newer technology sensors available now:
They are INCREDIBLY easy to install as long as your tanks are no more than 24 inches high. You simply clean the side of your tank VERY WELL, then remove the backing of the self adhesive sensor and stick it on.
For tanks taller than 12 inches then you'd use two, one on top of the other. They can be cut to the correct size if your tank is shorter than 12 inches. Done. Well, almost. I would probably figure out some way of covering the exposed sensor back, maybe a piece of EPDM tape or spread some silicone over it. Seems to me the harsh outdoor environment mixed with road crud would do them in after a while. Unless, unlike me, you have tanks INSIDE of a bay or somehow sealed from the elements.
To wire these to the display is VERY easy. only two wires need to be run back to the display for ALL of your sensors. There is also a brand that uses a different type of capacitance sensor, but can be retrofitted using the original "through tank" sensor locations/holes. It is limited to the "Empty 1/4 1/2 3/4 Full" display, similar to the old monitor panels. In my world I like a bit more information than that, though it would be far more accurate at those tank levels and not susceptible to the "crud" fouling that plagues the original "through-tank" sensors.
|Pressure Transducer Sensor|
The installation is straightforward, but requires a hole at the base of the tank for the sensor. Not my favorite method, especially if I can get away with NO holes! Less chance of stuff leaking out. The display for this system will display from EMPTY to FULL in 1/8 increments. Not really all that better than the original, but likely more accurate! It's wiring is pretty straight forward, and uses telephone jack style connectors.
My personal preference in a system would be to utilize the strip style capacitance sensors, made more weather resistant, with an L.C.D. display that reads out percentages AND a bar graph for each tank. It should include LP, black, grey and fresh water as well as housing switches to turn on the water pump, water heater and start/stop the generator.
I can re-use the old mechanic HOBBS meter (hour counter for the generator) if there was a way to have the cutout done easily. Otherwise, put one in at the manufacturer! It should be available configured for some of the more common sized locations that were in general use. It shouldn't use much/any power. I would be okay with having to press a button to see all the bar graphs and perhaps a button for each numeric percentage display. This CANNOT be that tough to do! There must be a larger consumer market for something along these lines.
If you are interested in seeing someone make this, let me know! I can badger the manufacturers into coming up with a solution! I don't give up easily.
Be Seeing You... Down The Road,
Rich "The Wanderman"