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Old 25-01-2018, 14:20   #1
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Water usage meter - usual tank guages won't work on my boat

Dear Forum,
My fresh water is held in several compartments in the fairly shallow forward part of my hull. Capacity is about 1200 litres - nearly 2 metres fore and aft, about 1.3 athwartships, max depth 50 cms (call these 6 feet, 4 feet, 1 foot).
A good guage which measures water depth in the tank (one programmable by keeping track as water is laboriously added manually) would give a good reading when the boat is still - and also when sailing when the tanks are 100% full (or totally empty!). But as soon as we have used more than say 10 or 15% of the water, wherever the sender is placed it will read 100% full or completely empty when we are heeled.
The PO had two separate meters to read water consumption. One was made by GIN, the other by VDO. Neither of these now work! And neither are still made. (There was also a VDO which measured the tank in the conventional manner, which the PO found to be useless - for the reasons stated above.)
So I am looking for a good quality meterage system: one with a flow sensor producing a pulse to be inserted just after the pressure pump and a totaliser counter - one which can be reset to the max capacity when the tanks are full to overflowing and which counts down towards zero as fresh water passes the sensor en route to being used.
There are lots of components of such a system available for those who are literate electronically, but very few complete "professional" systems - and so far (and I have been far around the internet) I have found none which works in litres and on 24 volts.
An added complication: I have a water-maker and for the guage to be accurate and really useful I would like to measure the output from the water-maker going into the tank (rather than always running the water-maker until the tank overflows, which would allow me to re-set the counter to 100% full).
Does anyone know of a system which would fit my needs?
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Old 25-01-2018, 14:26   #2
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Re: Water usage meter - usual tank guages won't work on my boat

Another less technical solution would be to use a "day-tank" of known volume that you use to empty or fil your water tanks. Make it 50 or so litres.
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Old 25-01-2018, 16:09   #3
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Re: Water usage meter - usual tank guages won't work on my boat

I'm in a similar situation with tanks that can't be effectively measured. To (help) avoid running dry I use the DLJSJ50C and LCD remote from this site.

DLJ Water Meter

I suppose you could use a second one (with a second LCD) for your watermaker. Maybe there is a solution that can count forward and backward based on the inputs from two meters so you never have to zero.

I'll be interested if you come up with something. I overfill my tanks constantly.
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Old 25-01-2018, 16:33   #4
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Re: Water usage meter - usual tank guages won't work on my boat

When I was working on assembling my water maker, I saw some cheap Chinese flow meters and totalizers. I think they were part of a ready-made RO control system, but it didn't do quite what I wanted. i.e. it wasn't set up for seawater input, IIRC. Or maybe it didn't work with 12VDC. But they offer new stuff all the time, so it might be worth a search. I did find a 12V in-line conductivity meter, but I think I concluded that to get the controller I really want, I'd have to finally learn how to make Arduino and Raspberry Pi projects work. Edit: that link also seems to lead to some stand-alone flow totalizers, though they are sold as fuel gauges, the listing contains "water" as a keyword.
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Old 26-01-2018, 06:38   #5
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Re: Water usage meter - usual tank guages won't work on my boat

I'm a fan of the Hart Systems "Tank Tender". Brilliantly simple, absolutely reliable, very accurate, and excellent customer service and support.
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Old 26-01-2018, 07:04   #6
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Re: Water usage meter - usual tank guages won't work on my boat

Quote:
Originally Posted by jamhass View Post
I'm a fan of the Hart Systems "Tank Tender". Brilliantly simple, absolutely reliable, very accurate, and excellent customer service and support.
Tank Tender is a great product but can't work for the OP due to the shape of his tanks.
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Old 26-01-2018, 08:43   #7
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Re: Water usage meter - usual tank guages won't work on my boat

Anyway to plumb a sight glass?
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Old 26-01-2018, 08:54   #8
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Re: Water usage meter - usual tank guages won't work on my boat

I am going to give you very good advice!!!!! I've been down this road and have looked at all the available systems including the Vetus, Hart and Osculati brands. I am a pilot and have a Stratomaster Velocity FF3 fuel gauge in my aircraft. I installed 3 into my yacht for my water and fuel last year. You cannot achieve a better quality installation. See MGL Avionics go to Products, Velocity singles and view the Stratomaster FF3 gauge. These gauges are exported and are used in the very best twin engine aircraft globally. Then , to top it off, best of all is the price. Get a price from the manufacturer but I guess they are about R2500 x 12 US is around 208 US. You calibrate it to suit your tank, even if your tank is a triangle, it will record 100% accurately to aircraft spec. Aviation quality and specification. Been there, done it, 100% happy. One gauge measures two tanks. You will need to install a tank sender. I installed a Vetus unit.

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Old 26-01-2018, 09:39   #9
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Re: Water usage meter - usual tank guages won't work on my boat

OK, this may be nearly blasphemous following on the previous high end suggestion, but has anyone ever used something as simple (and cheap ) as this kinda thing:

Garden Hose Water Meter - Save A Drop | P3



My situation: I have a single large tank with no meter. I could likely install a Tank Tender, but the price puts me off. I have limited access to the tank, so a sight gauge is less than ideal. And Id prefer not to drill holes in it if possible.

What Id really love is a simple, inexpensive inline flow meter. It doesnt have to be super accurate. Cost is a factor, but ease of use and functionality is paramount. The one above seems too cheap (construction wise), but theres got to be something like it somewhere that hits the mid ground.

I looked at the DLJ Water Meters referenced by Jay. They look good. A bit pricey, but OK. However, I cant see how to easily reset the counter. Id want to reset it with every fill. Am I just missing it?
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Old 26-01-2018, 09:44   #10
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Re: Water usage meter - usual tank guages won't work on my boat

Our water tank gauges work well enough- and we have a watermaker- so we aren't overly judicious about tracking our consumption.

However, I also wanted to see volume used. To proof the concept, I installed one of these cheap water meters [Outputs in liters or gallons] and it is still performing well after its first year of use.

The downside is no external monitor, but for US$15 it has sure proved useful.

Someday I may install a higher quality meter, but this one has to fail first...

In case this is of interest...

Cheers! Bill
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Old 26-01-2018, 09:46   #11
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Re: Water usage meter - usual tank guages won't work on my boat

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike OReilly View Post
OK, this may be nearly blasphemous following on the previous high end suggestion, but has anyone ever used something as simple (and cheap ) as this kinda thing:

Garden Hose Water Meter - Save A Drop | P3



My situation: I have a single large tank with no meter. I could likely install a Tank Tender, but the price puts me off. I have limited access to the tank, so a sight gauge is less than ideal. And I’d prefer not to drill holes in it if possible.

What I’d really love is a simple, inexpensive inline flow meter. It doesn’t have to be super accurate. Cost is a factor, but ease of use and functionality is paramount. The one above seems too cheap (construction wise), but there’s got to be something like it somewhere that hits the mid ground.

I looked at the DLJ Water Meters referenced by Jay. They look good. A bit pricey, but OK. However, I can’t see how to easily reset the counter. I’d want to reset it with every fill. Am I just missing it?
Hi Mike,

Yes... I was writing a post that published right after yours about just such a meter...

Cheers! Bill
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Old 26-01-2018, 09:52   #12
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Re: Water usage meter - usual tank guages won't work on my boat

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Originally Posted by wrwakefield View Post
Hi Mike,

Yes... I was writing a post that published right after yours about just such a meter...
Thanks! Great minds thing alike I guess .

One quick question: Does it automatically turn on when it senses water flow? Or do you have to turn it on manually before using it? I notice it automatically turns itself off after 30 minutes of sensing no-flow.

What Id like to do is plumb it into the outflow line so I can have an idea of how much water remains over time. Our tank is about 800 litres (~200 gallons).
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Old 26-01-2018, 10:01   #13
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Re: Water usage meter - usual tank guages won't work on my boat

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Originally Posted by Mike OReilly View Post
I looked at the DLJ Water Meters referenced by Jay. They look good. A bit pricey, but OK. However, I cant see how to easily reset the counter. Id want to reset it with every fill. Am I just missing it?
The LCD Remote has a grey button under the display to reset the counter to zero.
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Old 26-01-2018, 10:05   #14
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Re: Water usage meter - usual tank guages won't work on my boat

If you happen to have Garmin Electronics on board, they make a simple add on flow meter. It is designed for gasoline tanks, but the way it is setup, it can also work with water.
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Old 26-01-2018, 10:17   #15
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Re: Water usage meter - usual tank guages won't work on my boat

Mike

Amazon.com search "water flow meter" you get all kinds and all prices.
I am thinking of getting this one to install in-line permanently right after the tank:

https://www.amazon.com/Turbine-Digit...ter+flow+meter

and this one to measure as I fill the tank with the garden hose:

https://www.amazon.com/Gardena-8188-...ter+flow+meter
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