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How to monitor amount left in propane tanks?


angler
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No doubt we are the last Oliver people who haven't figured this out yet, but does anyone have good ways to monitor the level of propane left in your tanks? In our prior truck camper, this measure was included on the panel which showed remaining levels of battery power, water, etc.

Thanks.

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Angler,

 

I've read numerous ideas on propane level checks, from a stick on decal "thingy" to pouring a special fluid down the side and watching it change colors, and the good old standby "tap test". In your post, you mentioned tanks, meaning I suppose, that you have two. If this is the case, I'm sure you also have the automatic crossover valve. In this case you're all set.

 

With both tanks connected to the auto-switchover valve, operate with both propane tanks to the full open setting (full counterclockwise on the tanks).

 

There is a lever on the crossover valve. Place it full to the side towards one of the tanks and this will become your initial primary tank. It should last a long time, depending on use. I have 30 lb tanks and one lasted five weeks of continuous camping. (For one guy and his dog - no furnace used)

 

Go camping and have lots and lots of fun, occasionally lifting the cover to your tanks and checking the GREEN stripe in the view window of the crossover valve. When it turns to RED, your initial primary tank has gone totally empty and you're now running on the back-up tank.

 

Swap the lever over so it points at the back-up tank. It now becomes your primary. Close the valve on the empty tank and get it filled at your leisure, being sure to not tarry toooooo long. When you fill it up and put it on your trailer and open its valve full open, it is now the back-up.

 

By using this method, you really don't need to know the exact level because you always have a full back-up waiting to take over.

 

Enjoy! :D

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Angler,

Another school of thought...We don't use the auto switch, because we dry camp, a lot. We leave one tank off.If the primary tank feels light on our occasional or daily (as we get close) test, we switch over, and know that it's time to fill the first. There are a lot of guages available, most don't work any better than manually picking up the tank and guessing what it weighs when you think you're low. Our 20 lb. tanks last a really long time... If you're not wasteful. (Blankets are great... so are the propane stops like tractor supply where you can fill on meter, instead of exchanging.) Using water heater, two burner stove and refrigerator on gas, and only occasional furnace (summer in the mountains), a tank probably lasts two to three weeks. We've never actually run out... We use the "extra" tank for the grill and keep an eye on it, too.

If we knew we were close and were winter camping, we'd use the auto feature so that we wouldn't run out during the night. Otherwise, one tank is good for quite a long time.

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We also don't use the auto-switch because we dry camp a lot too. We want to be very aware of our usage and not get caught off guard with our back-up tank getting depleted. We've also found that our regular full time usage, we get a good 3 weeks out of a 20lb tank (we're using more now, because of winter). We've yet to have to fully deplete our back-up tank (which is a 30lb) before we found a fill station. But figure we have a good 6-8 weeks of gas on board between the two.

 

As far as figuring out our levels, a lot of it is actually general awareness of our usage. Same as with our water and tank levels (since the level indicators really aren't all that accurate).

 

 

- Cherie

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  • 4 months later...

I was going through some old unread posts that I had missed, and somehow I hadn't seen this thread.

 

We use the changeover indicator on ours, but I added the remote indicator, it blinks a yellow LED whenever the first propane tank is out. We don't do many long trips, so when it starts blinking we just switch the tank selector so it stops blinking and refill the empty tank at the next opportunity.

 

http://oliver.hewus.com/Mods/Remote_Pro ... _Indicator

 

(We usually never run it out while camping though, usually we run out the BBQ at home and then go steal a tank from the trailer and then refill just before we leave)

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  • 2 weeks later...

Cool little device. I ordered one and set it up just like Andrew, but left it on batteries instead of 12 volt. I like the idea of being able to leave the tank switch over on automatic, but having the ablity to know when the current tank runs dry.

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Check this out: http://www.vintagetrailersupply.com/30_ ... ts-169.htm

 

This 30lb aluminum tank costs $159, plus $70 for the gauge feature.

This should be lighter than a regular tank - this one weighs 18lbs.

 

I think the gauge on this tank is compatible with the SeeLevel in our Olivers - I found the link to it on the SeeLevel website.

 

This might be the ideal gauge solution, the a bit pricey.

 

- Chris

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  • 9 years later...

The hot water trick works very well.   Boil some water and run it down the side of the tank and then feel for where the warm turns cool. That's where your level is.   We also use the one tank strategy and when it goes dry switch over and look for a fill station.

 

Scotty

 

 

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Gregg & Donna Scott and Piper the Westie  -    The Flying Sea Turtle - Hull # 145     Western NC


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Nice to read through these old threads! Most folks don’t know that Chris and Cherie (Technomadia) were early Oliver owners.

 

I used to worry about monitoring my propane levels. Now, I just use one tank and when it goes empty (or close) I switch to the full tank and fill the empty when I can. They last so long it really isn’t a big issue. Mike

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  • 2 years later...

Question on auto switchover:

Does the switch occur when one tank is empty and both tank valves are open?  We had our tank run out last weekend.  I happened to notice it as I was cooking at the time and the burner flame started sputtering and turned a bit yellow.  I told my husband we were out of propane.  He went to check and assumed the second tank was empty (we have not filled them; still running on the Oliver fill) but it was full.  Did the valve not switch?  I asked him is the second tank was on, but he couldn't recall.

My question is: when you see signs of the LP supply running out, as I did, how long does it take the system to switch over, assuming both valves are open?  Was I just being impatient?

As it was, we had shore power, do we turned the fridge onto 110v and hooked the LP up to our BBQ grill tank so I could finish cooking dinner.

Ray and Susan Huff

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In order for the automatic switch over to work - both tank valves must be open.  Many of us leave one of the tank valves closed so that we know when that first tank runs out of propane (i.e. we do not use this automatic switching feature).

When the first tank runs out you will notice that something running on propane simply isn't working.  If this happens to me with the fridge or the water heater or the furnace I will try to light the stove just to make sure that it is not an issue with that particularly appliance.  It also helps that after awhile you get a sense for when you are about to run out of propane.  If the stove doesn't light, I simply go outside open the access port, open the full tank, go back inside and light the stove.  Perhaps there might be a couple of seconds before the stove lights but usually it lights very quickly.

If you are using the automatic switch feature then you will have both tanks open.  Basically when the switch occurs you will not know it.  This is very nice if you are right in the middle of something or if it is pouring rain, gloom of night, middle of a long hot shower, etc..  But, it could be very bad if you do not remember to check to see if you have run out of propane in that first supply tank.

Bill

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Purchased the Truma propane gage. Easy to use, simple, and  accurate - just like the hot water trick - really.😀

I'm not sure why I am so anal on this topic - I can never remember the settings - in the middle - left - right, leave both tanks open, leave just the one - on.  The damn thing is green, no red, no  wait - turn the other tank on. 

Watch this - hold my beer - damn, the tank is empty.

 

RB

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2 hours ago, BackofBeyond said:

Purchased the Truma propane gage. Easy to use, simple, and  accurate - just like the hot water trick - really.😀

I'm not sure why I am so anal on this topic - I can never remember the settings - in the middle - left - right, leave both tanks open, leave just the one - on.  The damn thing is green, no red, no  wait - turn the other tank on. 

Watch this - hold my beer - damn, the tank is empty.

 

RB

This makes me feel better 😀

 

Ray and Susan Huff

Elite II Twin "Pearl" - Hull#699; delivered December 7, 2020

2013 F350 6.7l diesel Super Duty 4x4 long bed crew cab

1UP-USA Heavy-duty bike rack

2017 Leisure Travel Van Unity Twin Bed (sold)

AZARCAIDNVNMOKORTNTXUTWAsm.jpg

 

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I numbered my tanks # 1and # 2. Let's assume both are completely full, mounted in the trailer with the hoses attached.

Open the valves on BOTH tanks. Turn the lever on the regulator toward either tank. The indicator will be green. Use your trailer and appliances normally. When the first tank is empty, the regulator will automatically begin using from the second tank. There will be no interruption of the flow of propane, but indicator will now be red. The lever on the the regulator DOES NOT physically move.

You will need to be aware of how long a tank will last you and after a period of heavy usage, check the color indicator. When you see it is red, close the valve on the empty tank, remove the hose and take it to be filled.

At that point swap the lever to the remaining tank. The indicator will change back to green. When the first tank is replaced, leave the lever pointed toward the second tank until the indicator again turns red indicating the second tank is now empty.

I use and highly recommend the Mopeka tank monitoring system. I can check the level of propane in the tanks from inside the coach on a readout or with an app on my phone.

I also invested in a couple of these.

Edited by ScubaRx
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I've been using the "hot water method", even without hot water depending upon weather, for more than 40 years, including at my house when I lived on a citrus ranch. Works as well as any gauge, unless you are able to weigh the cylinders.

Edited by JRK

      

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