Cruisers Forum
 


Join CruisersForum Today

Reply
 
Thread Tools Rate Thread Display Modes
Old 05-02-2016, 10:42   #1
Registered User

Join Date: Feb 2016
Location: Alum Creek, Central Ohio
Boat: Catalina 22
Posts: 6
Stick-on Holding Tank Level Sensor

HOLDING TANK LEVEL SENSOR; As a hobby (I am a retired radar scientist), I am trying to invent a radar based stick-on battery powered (1 yr) holding tank level sensor with a Bluetooth smartphone readout). If you have interest or have ideas for features, submit a comment.
__________________

__________________
Holding Tank is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-02-2016, 11:35   #2
Marine Service Provider
 
peghall's Avatar

Community Sponsor
Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Feb 2011
Posts: 1,533
Re: STICK-ON HOLDING TANK LEVEL SENSOR

Not to rain your idea, just some "points to ponder"....

I can't see any advantage to a battery powered sender over already available systems that use external senders that connect to the vessel's DC power supply and draw only milliamps.

The industry warns against using battery powered household CO detectors instead of marine versions designed to be "hardwired" to the boat's power supply because people are too prone to forget to replace batteries in devices that are readily accessible--also highly visible--in the cabin. it's even more unlikely that they'd remember to replace batteries on a tank that's out of sight/out of mind in the bilge or under a settee or berth.

However, IMO an add-on to existing systems--perhaps those with internal probes as well as external senders--but one that wouldn't require its own battery, that would allow the level in the tank to be checked via a cell phone app would be very cool and something tank level mfrs would jump on.

Just my $.02 worth...
__________________
© 2017 Peggie Hall
Specializing in marine sanitation since 1987
Author "The NEW Get Rid of Boat Odors"
https://www.amazon.com/New-Get-Rid-B...dp/1892399784/
peghall is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-02-2016, 11:47   #3
Moderator
 
a64pilot's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Oct 2013
Location: Albany Ga.
Boat: Island Packet 38
Posts: 17,062
Re: STICK-ON HOLDING TANK LEVEL SENSOR

If it works, cost less than maybe $200 I'm all over one.
Battery isn't a major thing to me, if it doesn't work, I'll change the battery as long as it's not some hard to obtain battery, unlike a CO or smoke or high water alarm, those you won't know a battery is dead as you hopefully never use it.
But I'd really like to know how full my tank is, currently I'm reduced to tapping on the thing and guessing
__________________
a64pilot is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-02-2016, 12:26   #4
Registered User

Join Date: Feb 2016
Location: Alum Creek, Central Ohio
Boat: Catalina 22
Posts: 6
Re: STICK-ON HOLDING TANK LEVEL SENSOR

Thanks for the comments. I know that positive and negative advice is ALL valuable. Lessons learned are the key.
__________________
Holding Tank is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-02-2016, 12:31   #5
Registered User

Join Date: Feb 2016
Location: Alum Creek, Central Ohio
Boat: Catalina 22
Posts: 6
Re: STICK-ON HOLDING TANK LEVEL SENSOR

As an old radar scientist, I know I can do it. (and cheaply). Based on advice, it seems that the smartphone app should tell you if the battery is getting low. Remember, it is not a safety issue where an alarm sits there until a fault occurs. You push the "check tank" button on the phone and it says "ooops sorry, battery too low".
__________________
Holding Tank is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-02-2016, 12:34   #6
Registered User

Join Date: Oct 2014
Location: Charleston, SC
Boat: Pearson 424
Posts: 61
Re: STICK-ON HOLDING TANK LEVEL SENSOR

I like the idea. Sounds like an easy install for a non-critical instrument. I'm currently looking at tank guages and like the idea of the external sensor.
__________________
Spindrift NH is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-02-2016, 08:49   #7
Registered User

Join Date: Jun 2013
Location: Indiana
Boat: Carver 450 voyager
Posts: 27
Re: STICK-ON HOLDING TANK LEVEL SENSOR

I agree. Battery is not an issue. Unlike a safety alarm, you will use it every day. If it doesn't work replace the battery. I like it.
__________________
Monepit is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-02-2016, 08:57   #8
Registered User

Join Date: Feb 2014
Location: Deltaville, VA
Boat: Moody M46 46
Posts: 263
Re: STICK-ON HOLDING TANK LEVEL SENSOR

I think it is a good idea. Stick-on sensors exist now for fiberglass and plastic tanks but not SS or metal ones, and, of course, they are not hooked to smart phones. I think they work on the basis of resistance to an electric current, which prevents use in metal tanks. Radar should not have that issue. And to have it on the phone with a battery warning--good.
__________________
Moody46CC is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-02-2016, 09:12   #9
Registered User
 
Nicholson58's Avatar

Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: Live aboard
Boat: Camper & Nicholson58 Ketch - ROXY Traverse City, Michigan No.668283
Posts: 3,466
Images: 83
Re: STICK-ON HOLDING TANK LEVEL SENSOR

I use sticks with notches carved on that correspond to actual gallons in these odd shaped tanks - water and diesel. All of our 9 tanks are 3/16" SS welded. I gave up on the electronic sending units- too many to keep up with. Dowels are really cheap and seem to be reliable. So far, no failures.
__________________
Nicholson58 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-02-2016, 09:16   #10
Registered User

Join Date: May 2014
Posts: 229
Re: STICK-ON HOLDING TANK LEVEL SENSOR

What about the propane tank stick on strips. Do those work? For water and fuel tanks?
__________________
SeaSon is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-02-2016, 09:25   #11
Registered User

Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: Palm Beach Gardens, Fl
Boat: Gemini, 1993 #379 34' Shearwater
Posts: 266
Re: STICK-ON HOLDING TANK LEVEL SENSOR

I installed a commercial capacitive foil stick on sensor on my holding tank last week. About $45 and it works perfectly - with a readout at the head. Nice idea - but taken.
__________________
Capt. Stuart Bell
Ranger R-25
stu@shearwater-sailing.com
captstu is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-02-2016, 09:27   #12
Registered User

Join Date: Feb 2014
Location: Deltaville, VA
Boat: Moody M46 46
Posts: 263
Re: STICK-ON HOLDING TANK LEVEL SENSOR

Captsu

What material is your holding tank made of?
__________________
Moody46CC is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-02-2016, 09:36   #13
cruiser

Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: North Charleston, SC
Boat: Camano Troll
Posts: 4,669
Re: STICK-ON HOLDING TANK LEVEL SENSOR

Hard wired systems with stick on sensors for non-metallic tanks are already available. They don't work with a telephone, they work with a series of LEDs to indicate the level of liquid in the tank.

I have such a system and the potable water part works just fine. The holding tank part does not because sewage clings to the inside wall of the tank and fools the sensor into thinking the tank is full when it is not.

This can be fixed by cleaning the inside of the tank but this only works until the tank is filled again.

Personally, I don't see any advantage in having this system connect to a phone but I suppose some folks might.
__________________
rwidman is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-02-2016, 09:44   #14
Registered User

Join Date: Feb 2014
Location: Deltaville, VA
Boat: Moody M46 46
Posts: 263
Re: STICK-ON HOLDING TANK LEVEL SENSOR

rwidman,

My potable water gauge works just fine. The holding tank uses a WEMA system with a floating sensor suspended in a cage going up and down with the effluent level. The effluent likewise causes it to stick, and yes, it can be cleaned, but .... not too much fun and entails removing the sole and then the 7-8 screws holding the sensor (tightly) in the top of the tank. A lot of work, so any stick-on system system that works properly with a gauge or phone app is welcomed.
__________________
Moody46CC is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-02-2016, 09:45   #15
Registered User

Join Date: Jan 2016
Posts: 31
Re: STICK-ON HOLDING TANK LEVEL SENSOR

With others, not sure why it needs a battery instead of just using the 12 volt that is likely already in that area. Having battery as option would be good I guess, but I would definitely want a hardwired option.


Also the mobile app should have an option to setup a check on a schedule and a configurable alert value. That would be one of the real advantages to have a smart phone app version.

The push to check versions are great, but require you to check it. If I had a smart phone app that was checking it twice a day and giving me an alert when the tank reaches a certain level, that would be fantastic and one less thing to think about.

Don't forget the configuration needs to work both ways. Fresh water you want to know when the tank drops below a certain value. Holding tank you want to know when it reaches a certain value.

App should also have configuration for conversion, so you radar unit can tell tank is at 30%, if I can configure the app and tell it my tank is 100 gallons, than app can tell me 30 gallons instead of 30%.

In case you haven't guess by now, I am a software developer so have lots of thoughts and opinions on software interfaces
__________________

__________________
PeteHalstedc is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Tags
holding tank

Thread Tools
Display Modes Rate This Thread
Rate This Thread:

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Moisture meter as tank level sensor captain465 Plumbing Systems and Fixtures 0 23-10-2013 10:44
Tank Level from Hydrostatic Pressure Sensor? myocean Plumbing Systems and Fixtures 2 03-01-2013 08:29
Holding Tank Holding Tank Leaff Construction, Maintenance & Refit 17 01-07-2012 06:12
Holding tank level guage source GreatKetch Plumbing Systems and Fixtures 8 29-04-2007 13:51



Copyright 2002- Social Knowledge, LLC All Rights Reserved.

All times are GMT -7. The time now is 07:08.


Google+
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Social Knowledge Networks
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.

ShowCase vBulletin Plugins by Drive Thru Online, Inc.