Seelevel II RV Tank Monitor Reviews
Posted in Seelevel II RV Tank Monitor
Like most RV owners I had become frustrated by the typical 1/3, 2/3, Full LED lights that are supposed to indicate volume in the fresh water, LP and holding tanks on our RV. Not only do the systems sometimes provide false readings due to contamination on the tank walls, they are inherently inaccurate due to the design. As we all know, as soon as the water in the freshwater tank drops a fraction below a sensor, the tank drops to the next lower reading. For our system, as soon as we would use any water, our tank monitor would drop from full to 2/3 when in reality, I still had nearly a full tank. This became really frustrating when dry camping. When that 1/3 light went off, and the empty light was lit, I never really knew was the tank empty, or was it just a hair below 1/3. Often times we would go into ultra conserve mode on the water only to find out later we had nearly 1/3 of our tank left. Garnet Industries has a great system that provides a digital display of the actual percentage of liquid in the tanks. The readout displays a numerical number between 0 and 100 percent for tank readouts as well as battery voltage and LP tank capacity. I just recently installed the system in our Winnebago Journey and added an external display as well. Having the external display eliminates the effort of running inside and outside the coach to see when the tank was getting full when refilling with freshwater. It’s also handy to have when flushing the tanks to know the tank status. The 709 system comes complete with sensors, display panel, and display wiring harness. The 709 also can be purchased with optional switches to control the water heater and water pump, but since I was installing the system into a unit where I already had those switches I purchased the less expensive 709 without the options. Installing the system is really simple 3 step process: installing the display panel(s), installing the sensors, and finally connecting the wiring. Since all the sensors and the display panels are wired in parallel, there is very little wiring that needs to be done. The display and sensors come with short pigtail type harness and are designed to reuse the existing wiring going to each holding tank. In this manner there is no need to fish wires through the RV. In my case, I decided to leave the original holding tank system intact as a redundant system, so I ran new wiring, but normally you can reuse the existing wiring. Step 1 is to install the displays. Since Winnebago uses the “One Place” display, I removed their entire panel and shortened it so that I could mount the new SeeLevel panel above the Winnebago panel. Installing in this manner did require me to rebuild the wood cabinetry that the One Place panel mounts on, but I felt if gave a cleaner installation. The exterior panel can be mounted anywhere near the holding tanks or freshwater fill areas. In my case, it was real convenient to mount it near the tanks. My holding tanks are accessible from a wide open bay that provides a good location for mounting the display. Rather than mount the exterior display directly to the motorhome, I fabricated a bezel to mount the display into to provide some rigidity to it. This way, when pressing a button, the unit would feel solidly mounted. The bezel then screwed to a supporting bracket underneath my holding tanks and the display mounted into the bezel. After mounting the displays, attaching the tank sensors is the next step. The sensors are thin flexible printed circuit boards with an adhesive backing material. The sensors come 12 inches long which is sufficient to measure the liquid level inside a 13” tall tank. For shorter tanks, the sensors are simply cut down to size with scissors. For larger tanks, two sensors are stacked allowing measuring of very tall tanks. Since my gray and black water holding tanks were 7 inches tall, I cut my sensors to 6 inches to allow a half inch above and below the sensor. This half inch is to allow for variations in tank surface thickness and unevenness of the top and bottom. Once the sensors are cut to length, the backing material is peeled off and they are stuck to the tank. Here again, you can see the two holding tank sensors attached to the black and gray tanks. Mounting my fresh water tank was a little more challenging. Because our freshwater tank is mounted underneath the motorhome between the frame rails, it is completely enclosed in a metal housing. When I removed an access panel in the housing, I was pleasantly surprised to find the tank is incased in 1-1/2 inches of Styrofoam insulation. Good for insulation, but I did have to take a few minutes to remove a bit of the thickness of the insulation in the area where I wanted to apply the sensors. The freshwater tank also measured 19 inches in height requiring me to use 2 stacked sensors. Stacking the sensors isn’t difficult and the instructions are clear about how to set them up properly. Wiring is the final step and again is pretty straightforward. Each sensor has a black wire and a blue wire. The black wires are grounded together either at each tank location or just connected together and can be grounded at a central location. The blue wires from all the sensors are connected together and connect to the blue wire of the panel. You can reuse the existing wiring from your old style holding tank monitor for the wiring if you desire. The only other connections are to the panel for a ground, and positive 12 volt power. The existing LP tank sender wire is also connected to the display panel pigtail and provides the input for the LP display. The finished system works great. The external and internal displays accurately display the holding tanks and LP status as well as battery voltage. The displays both inside and out are easily readable with variable intensity of the LED displays. One has the option of pressing the button once for a 5 second display of the tank status, or pressing it twice for a constant display which stays on for 5 minutes. The constant display is nice for filling the freshwater tank as you can actually see its progress when filling. So far I’ve filled and dumped my tanks several times and the system works like charm. The built in diagnostic capabilities of it would also come in handy should there be any difficulty during the installation or down the road. It’s a great system, and I highly recommend it. Double thumbs up!!
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