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ElectronicsNut
(@electronicsnut)
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Joined: 2 weeks ago
Posts: 11
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Appreciate being accepted as a member of this forum. I have a lot that I can offer and especially a lot to be learned from all of you. Below I have copied my "About Me" and pasted it here, since it is an easier way for me to share my information with you. Not that I do not like to type things twice.

I am RETIRED, and love electronics. I attended DeVry Tech for Electronics in the late 60's. Went on to get a Bachelors and Masters degree. Electronics projects include the Arduino, ESP32, 8266 and of course the Raspberry Pi. My current projects include: RV Propane Tank real time digital scale. 3 tank liquid monitoring using pressure sensors and a Pi. Redoing all my Home Automation devices as the existing devices are at EOL due to the company going out of business . A real time creek water level, flow and temperature monitoring system for my son's house. A lot of projects with never enough time in each day. I grew up in Chicago, spent 2 years in the Military with an all expense paid vacation in the tropics. Retired and moved to Florida. In the summer we spend a lot of time in our RV in the North Georgia mountains... which brings me to an ongoing RV remote monitoring project that has Internet access 24/7/365. I never run out of Electronic projects and project ideas.

Have a GREAT evening!

Tell me and I will forget. Show me and I may remember. Involve me and I will understand.
Benjamin Franklin


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Inq
 Inq
(@inq)
Estimable Member
Joined: 2 months ago
Posts: 213
 

Welcome to the forum.

Many of those projects sound interesting.  I hope you will consider publishing threads about your projects... or anything else.  I'm sure @zander will pipe in soon and be an avid follower of many of those RV type projects.  We were recently discussing one using an ultrasonic sonar transducer that won't work in his case.  I'd be interested in the creek concepts.  Anyway, we look forward to your time here.

VBR,

Inq

3 lines of code = InqPortal = Complete IoT, App, Web Server w/ GUI Admin Client, Access Point Manager, Drag & Drop File Manager, OTA, Performance Metrics, Web Socket Comms, Easy App API, All running on ESP8266...
Even usable on ESP-01S - Quickest Start Guide


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ElectronicsNut
(@electronicsnut)
Active Member
Joined: 2 weeks ago
Posts: 11
Topic starter  

@inq 

Thanks for the welcome. I will keep the forum updated with the status of my projects and results, whether successful or not. The creek monitoring system is going to be installed in a 4" PVC pipe that will be set up in the creek using a 6' rebar to keep it in place. The ESP32 (currently working with, but is subject to change) will be mounted in the top of the PVC with the waterproof Ultrasonic sensor. There will be openings at the lower end of the pipe to allow water to flow through. I have not settled on a method for monitoring the creek flow as I have a few options to choose from. The ESP32 will transmit the data to an Arduino or Pi (probably Pi) inside the house and display it on a small display. If a high creek level is detected the computer will display all the information on the display and send a text message to my son to inform him that his attention is needed.

I will check out @zander with his RV project as I also have the SeeLevel which is not working and I am tossing around a few ideas for how I want to go about monitoring the tanks.

Tell me and I will forget. Show me and I may remember. Involve me and I will understand.
Benjamin Franklin


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Ron
 Ron
(@zander)
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Joined: 1 year ago
Posts: 1824
 

@electronicsnut Welcome to the forum. Yes, my eeLevels have stopped and soon I will get back underneath to see why. I will be real curious to see your projects, taking the weight of captive tanks is different.

It is considered poor judgement to traverse a chasm in 2 leaps.


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ElectronicsNut
(@electronicsnut)
Active Member
Joined: 2 weeks ago
Posts: 11
Topic starter  

@zander 

Thanks for the Welcome. I see that I am not the only one with the SeeLevel tank system that is not operational. I have opened the the underside of the RV a couple times, rewired each time, tested and still not working. I waited a year before installing, lack of time, so there was no returning it.

I am working on a pressure sensor circuit to measure the pressure in a sealed PVC pipe that I will put into the tank to measure the water level. Granted there will not be much pressure, but it still is measurable. I was going to go with waterproof ultrasonic sensors, but since the contents of the gray and black water tanks is not clear water, the sensors would become coated with well you know what, and become inoperable. So a pressure sensor option is pretty much, other than a capacitance system (SeeLevel) the best way to go.

I just ordered a batch of rubber grommets from Amazon that the PVC pipe will be inserted into the tank. Unfortunately, I do not have access to the top of the tank so I will be drilling a hole for the grommet/PVC pipe. At the top end of the PVC pipe where I will be attaching a Pressure sensor that outputs a voltage between 0 and 4.5VDC with a 5VDC input. The bottom of the PVC pipe will be approximately 1' from the bottom of the tank. No need to measure anything lower than that. I am also adding a fresh water inlet with a one way valve to flush out the pipe in case any of the tanks contents happens to make its way into the PVC. I believe I just located some 1.5" grommets so that I can use a larger size PVC to avoid any possibility of clogging. I should not have to worry about the tank contents making its way up the tube very far as the level of the water in the tank rises it will increase the pressure inside the PVC keeping the water away from the top of the PVC pipe. I will pretest this on my rain barrel watering system at home.

As for computing power, I may pull out an ESP32 to start with, or maybe either an Arduino or my one and only "Beagle Bone Black" (a Pi with analog pins). I like the Pi version better than the ESP/Arduino as I can just connect my 25' HDMI cable to the Pi and plug it into HDMI port 4 on the RV's TV so that I can view the levels on the TV along with the city water pressure, hot water temperature, outside temperature, battery voltage, Solar panel output, LP tank weight.... So much to do in so little time. I will post updates as I have them.

Have a GREAT DAY everyone!!!!

Tell me and I will forget. Show me and I may remember. Involve me and I will understand.
Benjamin Franklin


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Ron
 Ron
(@zander)
Noble Member
Joined: 1 year ago
Posts: 1824
 

@electronicsnut The issue I believe with the SeeLevel is the bond between the tank and sensor. I think I did not clean the tank surface enough. I will try a little heat gun and see if I can get a better seal. As far as the rest, I can't follow it and the idea of penetrating the black tank is scary. Good luck.

It is considered poor judgement to traverse a chasm in 2 leaps.


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ElectronicsNut
(@electronicsnut)
Active Member
Joined: 2 weeks ago
Posts: 11
Topic starter  

@zander If you are reluctant to put a hole in the black tank (it is not under pressure and the grommets are a very tight fit), take a look at where your black tank vent tube is. If it is like mine it comes out of the black tank and goes up the inside of a wall to the roof. On mine I can see the PVC vent tube in my rear storage compartment and it goes straight up from the tank. If yours does, you could possibly either use a ultrasonic sensor or a pressure sensor in a long tube inside the vent tube. This option would eliminate any actual access to the tank and it would be easy to seal the opening once your are finished. Just some alternatives for you.

Tell me and I will forget. Show me and I may remember. Involve me and I will understand.
Benjamin Franklin


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ElectronicsNut
(@electronicsnut)
Active Member
Joined: 2 weeks ago
Posts: 11
Topic starter  

@zander As for the SeeLevel install. I cleaned the tank with alcohol prior to installing the tape and the sensors. Not sure as to what the issue is, but I removed them and they are sitting in a box next to my desk. I was hoping to find some time to install them on my rain barrels but I like the idea of viewing the system on the RV's TV. I even had my son try his luck at programming it, with no luck

Tell me and I will forget. Show me and I may remember. Involve me and I will understand.
Benjamin Franklin


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Ron
 Ron
(@zander)
Noble Member
Joined: 1 year ago
Posts: 1824
 

@electronicsnut Those vents are not reachable in my rig and I am not yet convinced your design will work. Once you have a working setup I might try to hire a gifted small person to climb between the floor of the RV and the top of the tanks but where to put the entrance hatch? By then I will have sold this rig and moved into an apartment, I only have about 18 months of RV life left.

It is considered poor judgement to traverse a chasm in 2 leaps.


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ElectronicsNut
(@electronicsnut)
Active Member
Joined: 2 weeks ago
Posts: 11
Topic starter  

@zander What about a "Weight Pressure Pad" between the bottom of the tank and the straps that secure them to the RV floor. It might take a little signal adjusting, but that might work. Those sensors are dirt cheap on Amazon.

Tell me and I will forget. Show me and I may remember. Involve me and I will understand.
Benjamin Franklin


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Ron
 Ron
(@zander)
Noble Member
Joined: 1 year ago
Posts: 1824
 

@electronicsnut I now know how long the black tank takes to fill up, the other tanks can just be left open so the need for any monitoring is not relevant to me anymore and for many other experienced full time RVers. I set a repeating calendar entry for 10 days and if something changes we can tell by the sound a flush makes if it needs a dump earlier. Therefore this project while interesting is very low priority for me. Now getting Alexa to turn the water on and off via an electric valve is my today challenge. Before you ask, ever had a water valve on the toilet fail but by dumb luck walk in the bathroom to see the water level a 1/4" from overflowing? That is when you realize how close every RV is from flooding since those toilet valves have about a 2 year lifespan. My valve is in the convenience center above the hose entry hole so any leak before the valve goes on the ground. After that I have control. Sure still some points of failure but very few, I even have a sensor to tell mne if the valve has received power or not. Yes, it's a NC valve.

It is considered poor judgement to traverse a chasm in 2 leaps.


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ElectronicsNut
(@electronicsnut)
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Joined: 2 weeks ago
Posts: 11
Topic starter  

@zander The only time my toilet had an issue was when the park's water pressure dropped to around 10PSI and the spring in the flush valve I guess was old or something and water started to seep past the valve into the toilet bowl. Lucky for us my wife was walking past it and noticed that the bowl was more than half full. I went to the rear of the RV and the outside pressure gauge was showing only 10 PSI. Turned of the water until the park fixed the problem. Replaced the valve assembly on the back of the toilet.

Maintenance... Maintenance... Maintenance RVing is soooooooo much fun.

Tell me and I will forget. Show me and I may remember. Involve me and I will understand.
Benjamin Franklin


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Ron
 Ron
(@zander)
Noble Member
Joined: 1 year ago
Posts: 1824
 

@electronicsnut That is a possible line of investigation, but I don't have any straps, my tanks are the new rotomolded one piece tanks and just hang off the frame. Out of an abundance of caution I did add steel L beams under all of them but they are pretty snug and of course the weight on them changes with use, and with walking in the rig. Can you give me a link, I am unfamiliar with them. NOTE for amazon links, enclose the link in double quotes inside a quote block (the symbol above that looks like a double quote)

It is considered poor judgement to traverse a chasm in 2 leaps.


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Ron
 Ron
(@zander)
Noble Member
Joined: 1 year ago
Posts: 1824
 

@electronicsnut Similar thing happened to me, that is why I now have an electric valve with an ESP32 controlling it, added push buttons in 3 places each with a software timer and I hope to add Alexa. I had Alexa working but I had to remove it to simplify the code to find a bug. Still working on it, cloud development is a PITA.

It is considered poor judgement to traverse a chasm in 2 leaps.


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Ron
 Ron
(@zander)
Noble Member
Joined: 1 year ago
Posts: 1824
 

@electronicsnut Have you seen the Mopeka propane tank sensors? I think they work by sending an ultrasonic pulse up through the tank. Would not the same principal work through plastic tanks? The Mopeka's work well when they work, sometimes a little vaseline is needed between the sensor and steel  tank, so a glued on sensor to the outside of the plastic should have a good chance of working. The problem with that approach is find a place that is NOT in contact with the coroplast and has a proper representation of the tank upwards, in other words not too close to the corners.

It is considered poor judgement to traverse a chasm in 2 leaps.


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