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Gauges in MH


SWharton

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Our motorhome has an inside gauge (as well as one at the tank). We've found that the inside gauge does not accurately tell us how much is in the tank (it doesn't agree with the gauge at the tank). However, it's "close enough" for purposes of determining when we should get the tank filled.

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Our motorhome has an inside gauge (as well as one at the tank). We've found that the inside gauge does not accurately tell us how much is in the tank (it doesn't agree with the gauge at the tank). However, it's "close enough" for purposes of determining when we should get the tank filled.

 

Same here. We use the inside one as an indicator and look at the one on the tank when we want to know for sure.

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In nearly all cases, the answer is yes but the indicator inside is usually a very cheap one that sort of repeats the information from the tank. Motorhome propane tanks are horizontal tanks which have a mechanical float gauge mounted on the tank and almost always a magnet is attached to the needle of the gauge and it sends a signal to a "pick-off" to send information to the inside repeater. The accuracy of that inside monitor will depend upon the quality of equipment used by the RV manufacturer and the care with which it was installed. In many cases, if you pull off the front panel of the inside monitor there will be a small potentiometer that can be used to adjust the inside indicator to make it much more accurate, but rarely has anyone bothered to adjust them. It isn't difficult to do, once you get the faceplate off and you just need a jeweler's screwdriver to adjust it with.

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Remember that the tanks are round and the indicators are linear. This would mean that from 70% full to 30% full (maybe even 40% to 60%, they are ??ok?? From 60% to 80% and 40% to empty - good luck! As an idea, hold a glass on it's side and look at a tape measure against it.

 

?? Best solution, make your own scale. Have it filled, use 1/4 and have it filled. !/4 is so many gallons, do the same at 1/2 and 3/4. Tank volume should be on the nameplate of the tank.

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Thanks everyone. Good idea about the scale. We are kind of worried about only one tank and running out of propane. None of the literature we have read mentions a guage. In a 5th wheel you just wait until the tanks switch over, then you know a tank is empty. Wish motorhomes had 2 tanks, better peace of mind.

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Thanks everyone. Good idea about the scale. We are kind of worried about only one tank and running out of propane. None of the literature we have read mentions a guage. In a 5th wheel you just wait until the tanks switch over, then you know a tank is empty. Wish motorhomes had 2 tanks, better peace of mind.

 

You could always have something like an Extend-A-Stay installed on the motorhome's propane tank and then carry an extra tank with you...if you have someplace safe to carry it. This is really only practical if you're going to be staying somewhere for a period of time (otherwise, you can just have the motorhome's propane tank filled when you're changing locations). We had an Extend-A-Stay added to the propane tank of a previous motorhome we had when we knew we were going to be camp hosting at a small BLM campground in northern California several years back. When the portable propane tank was empty, we'd load it into the back of the toad and drive it the ~15 miles to where we could get it refilled.

 

We keep an eye on the inside gauge and when it says 1/4, we'll double check the gauge on the tank itself...that will give us some idea of how long we have before we have to fill it up again. Since we mostly boondock and can't go more than about 7 days before we have to dump tanks because of the size of the holding tanks on our current motorhome, we just stop and have the propane tank filled while we're out and about dumping tanks.

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We are kind of worried about only one tank and running out of propane. None of the literature we have read mentions a guage.

If you look to the capacities, you will find that most motorhomes have one tank that is larger than what is typically found in most other RVs. The average weight per gallon of propane is 4.2#/gallon, so one 30# bottle, when filled to 80% will hold 30# or just over 7 gallons of useable propane. Motorhomes have tanks that are rated in gallons. The one in ours had a 23 gallon tank, but filled to 80% it had just over 18 gallons of usable capacity. That means that it would be equivalent to 77# of propane, or roughly 2 1/2 times what one fifth wheel bottle holds. I have seen motorhomes with both larger and smaller propane tanks so take that into consideration when you shop for a coach.

 

I made it a practice with the motorhome to fill the tank when traveling as soon as convenient after it reached 50% and never had any issues with running out. There are places that will fill an RV tank from a bulk truck and it is much more common for them to do so for motorhomes than for portable bottles because the motorhomes have tanks that are filled by the gallon, while portable bottles are supposed to be filled by weight.

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And incorporating Linda's advice, Extend a stay is a good thing by the way, get the one with the tap for other things also, there is your backup for doing the tank levels.

 

This would allow you to tap off for the grill, etc., or add the external tank.

 

http://www.adventurerv.net/acme-extendastay-adapter-p-5105.html?gclid=Cj0KEQiAvKunBRCfsum9z6fu_5IBEiQAu4lg4g2f2-MACwzLkZ-m7LgtFOwLhMJbsmEOvD7AldEcgTQaAlzR8P8HAQ&utm_campaign=partsfeed_ppc&utm_medium=cpc&utm_source=Froogle

 

The math behind the amount of propane in the tank - http://www.calculatorsoup.com/calculators/construction/tank.php - and I'm sure the manufactures don't have this figured into the simple gages.

 

By the way - here is a calculator to find the volume left in the tank - http://www.handymath.com/cgi-bin/circlevali25.cgi

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We have a 33 gallon propane tank on board . I added connections for an external bottle for the simple reason that it's much easier to fill the bottle than it is to 'break camp' , go somewhere to get the on board tank filled and then have to 'reset camp' . Currently we spend up to 6 months in one place .

 

Just for reference : last Summer , from the first of May through the first of October in North-central Illinois , we used all of 4 gallons of propane . There were nights the furnace kicked on , but the bulk was used for cooking .

 

BTW , our inside and on-tank gauges differ slightly , also .

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We will just need to change our routine to watching the guage instead of the regulator. We installed an Extend A Sty about 10-15 years ago and it was a piece of junk, just cheap quality. We do carry a small tank for the barbeque and where we stay the longest in the winter a truck comes around and fills your tank. I consider this a really nice luxury. Currently we take the tank out, he fills it and puts it back. In one sense the MH will be easier, just need to watch the propane usage more closely.

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Currently we take the tank out, he fills it and puts it back. In one sense the MH will be easier, just need to watch the propane usage more closely.

I really don't think that you will find it that difficult, just a little different. When you have propane service available it is even nicer with no bottles to fill. Since the tank is filled by the gallon, you really don't need to be concerned if there is some left in the tank as it is no different than topping off your chassis fuel tank. Just pay for what they add.

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Used Full Time I fill mine once a year if needed or not.

House 25 gal tank has averaged per year 7.1 gal over 9 years Low 4.7 gal High 11.0 gal

Generator 40 gal tank has averaged per year 12.1 gal over 9 years. Low 6.1 gal High 22 gal

 

Average LP cost $49.82 a year

 

Use electric Hott Rod for water heating.

For heat use Heat pump when needed and 2 electric space heaters on their 1200W setting.

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Removable tanks are filled the same way, on gals put into tank. The only problem with the deliver guy is there is a minimum you need to pay for so we will need to work that out with a mark on the gauge.

That is part of it, but most (if not all) states also require that when filling a portable bottle it be placed on a scale and filled by weight. That is the reason that the propane delivery service in our community will fill a motorhome if he is here for bulk delivery but will not fill even the largest of portable bottles.

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I have never had a tank filled by weight, only gals. There is a meter on the propane tank that shows hom many gals. is dispursed and then you are charged by the gal. It doesn't make any difference whether you get it filed from a truck or RV supply place. Always by the gal.

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I have never had a tank filled by weight, only gals. There is a meter on the propane tank that shows hom many gals. is dispursed and then you are charged by the gal. It doesn't make any difference whether you get it filed from a truck or RV supply place. Always by the gal.

Actually, it depends on the location where you have your tanks filled. Some by weight and others by the gallon. Very few camp grounds that I have stayed at service MH's via a truck. If so, they are usually destination parks, resorts, etc. The disadvantage of the MH when low on propane is that you have to move to the source of the propane. In other words, break camp. Not true of towables. However, if prudent and you fill up before arriving, you'll do fine.

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I have never had a tank filled by weight, only gals. There is a meter on the propane tank that shows hom many gals. is dispursed and then you are charged by the gal. It doesn't make any difference whether you get it filed from a truck or RV supply place. Always by the gal.

 

That^ has been my experience as well .

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You can't fill a propane tank by gallons unless it is empty and that should never be assumed. Take in a partially full tank and try to stuff the same number of gallons into it that you would an empty tank and you have issues!

 

You can be billed by gallons, which is the usual practice.

 

There are two good ways to fill. First, by weight that requires the tank filler person to check the stamped weight on the tank and fill to that weight. Second, fill by watching the purge valve and stop when it starts spitting liquid propane.

 

There is a really bad way to fill, just pump the tank full until the overfill valve cuts off the flow. Works great until there is an issue with the valve and you get an overfilled tank and potentially some big problems with venting propane.

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I have only seen the purge valve method used, never saw a scale in 40+ years of filling tanks(that I remember).

 

If tanks were filled by weight how do they fill a MH tank that is not removable. I wouldn't think there is any distinction between the two type of tanks other than one is fixed and one is portable.

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That is part of it, but most (if not all) states also require that when filling a portable bottle it be placed on a scale and filled by weight.

 

I asked DH about this and he said that the only place he can recall that filled by weight was in New Mexico. All the other places we normally travel fill by gallons using the second method that Stanley mentioned.

 

And we have been in RV parks where the bulk delivery truck would fill up our portable propane tank (when we had a fifth wheel), so this, too, depends on the state/location.

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