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Hi All,

I have a 50 gal fresh water tank under the V berth. There is no room to get to any side of the tank and there is maybe an inch between the top and the V berth hard board access panels. The feed line is at the bottom with a shutoff valve in another little access in the V berth area down at the floor level. I have no quantity indicating provisions. Some might say I don't need it... I'd like to have it. Without major modifications, the only thing I've seen is an in-line sender unit (measures static pressure- weight of the water pushing down) that is sold in the UK. Looks like it would work.

Anyway, I'm here to pick your brains... what would you do, use, try, etc.. Thanks.

Dave
 

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Hi All,

I have a 50 gal fresh water tank under the V berth. There is no room to get to any side of the tank and there is maybe an inch between the top and the V berth hard board access panels. The feed line is at the bottom with a shutoff valve in another little access in the V berth area down at the floor level. I have no quantity indicating provisions. Some might say I don't need it... I'd like to have it. Without major modifications, the only thing I've seen is an in-line sender unit (measures static pressure- weight of the water pushing down) that is sold in the UK. Looks like it would work.

Anyway, I'm here to pick your brains... what would you do, use, try, etc.. Thanks.

Dave
David--

Just add a clear "level tube" to your feed line, installed somewhere it will be protected. You only need a 1/4" tube or so, tee'd into the feed line and supported vertically against a bulkhead, say in the head, with a plug in the end with a graduated scale behind it. When you want to check the level, just loosen the plug a little and the water will rise to the level in the tank. You can calibrate the scale by starting with an empty tank and marking the water level at each point (say five gallons) as you add water to the tank. It works. (BTDT)
 

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No access whatsoever to any side? That makes it tough.. A friend has had success with an external mounted foil sensor, but it needs to be on the side of the tank. Also cannot be a metal tank..

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We're using a system similar to Sealand float switch, you only need top access, an inch of clearance would do, but you'll need to cut a hole for the sensor mount.

http://www.dometic.com/c5115637-c3d5-40c3-80b8-b9af373d47e9.fodoc

If you have access to the outlet pipe nearby, you could do as you described and measure the head/height of the water in the tank with a gauge.. If you don't need anything fancy, a low pressure gauge (scaled in "inches water column" at least the height of your tank) would work

It's nice to have a warning when you're out there that your water is running low.

David--

Just add a clear "level tube" to your feed line, installed somewhere it will be protected. You only need a 1/4" tube or so, tee'd into the feed line and supported vertically against a bulkhead, say in the head, with a plug in the end with a graduated scale behind it. When you want to check the level, just loosen the plug a little and the water will rise to the level in the tank. You can calibrate the scale by starting with an empty tank and marking the water level at each point (say five gallons) as you add water to the tank. It works. (BTDT)
Same idea as my "wc gauge that won't need you to mess with the plug! If you ran another tube from the top of the 'level tube' back to the top of the tank would be another way to seal the deal.
 
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oooh Im interested in this too...Ive always had stainless tanks before that are easy to tap

on my "new" boat they are integral glass tanks...which I need to retab btw

access is very bad...a clear tube would be great
 

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David--

Just add a clear "level tube" to your feed line, installed somewhere it will be protected. You only need a 1/4" tube or so, tee'd into the feed line and supported vertically against a bulkhead, say in the head, with a plug in the end with a graduated scale behind it. When you want to check the level, just loosen the plug a little and the water will rise to the level in the tank. You can calibrate the scale by starting with an empty tank and marking the water level at each point (say five gallons) as you add water to the tank. It works. (BTDT)
Yup thats what I have as well and it works, no electrickery and nothing to go kaput.
 
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ive done this on motorcycle tanks but not on any boat

anybody have pics or tips to do this...its the access thats bad on my boat too
 

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Wema is your friend. :)

We use 3 on board. Installed them back in 03 or so and they have been working GREAT ever since. Including full time live aboard and cruising. We have one gauge in the cockpit for fuel. We have one gauge in the head that gives an indication on both fresh water tanks. I select which tank to view with a three way switch.

You can see the site at;
Liquid Sensors - Marine Diesel, Fuel, or Water Level Sensor



I think you have plenty of room above the tank and below the bunk board for the sender.

Greg

Standard disclaimer, not connected in any way with Wema, just a happy user.
 

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how do those work for water? I always found that for fuel no gauge ever lasted me enough...

having metal tanks I always tapped away to find the level but for water that would be nice if they lasted say 5-10 years?
 

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We've had our boat nearly 10 years, it came with the Sealand Tankwatch III system, it's a multi float point level sensor and a panel with 3 LEDs.. Green for full, yellow for mid or more, flashing red for the last 5 gals.

It's worked flawlessly in the time we've had it, no idea how old it actually is but the boat's an '84. They can be programmed to 'flash' when full for holding tanks.
 
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how do those work for water? I always found that for fuel no gauge ever lasted me enough...

having metal tanks I always tapped away to find the level but for water that would be nice if they lasted say 5-10 years?
If your tank is not a box type shape, you need to calibrate the gauge. Our tank is "V" shaped. What I did was start with an empty tank, I then added fuel at 5 gallons at a time. In my log book, I made a page with 6 copies of the gauge face, without the needle on it. After each 5 gallons, I drew in the position of the needle. I now know that when my fuel gauge reads 1/2 full, I have 1/3 of a tank remaining.

Been working very well for quite some time.

Greg
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Good Discussion!

I'm going for the verticle tube idea. It's simple, and it works. I'll take pictures when I get it done.
 

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Good Discussion!

I'm going for the verticle tube idea. It's simple, and it works. I'll take pictures when I get it done.
David--

Just be sure to have a tight plug on the top end of the tube; or, if you use a inverted U-Shaped tube, that both ends are connected to the discharge line from your tank, in either case to ensure that your pump (hand, foot or electrical) doesn't tend to pull air into you water line from the level guage.

Good luck...
 
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The vertical tube idea is great, simple solution. If you take it one step further and connect the top of the tube to the vent line (or back to the tank somehow) then there's no fiddling with a plug or any need to worry about pumping action etc.

This is a typical practice in 'gauge glasses' in industry.

 

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Another very simple solution is a dipstick. I made one for my diesel tank and then calibrated it by adding and marking 50 liters at a time until the tank was full. I have a small stainless steel cap on top of the tank which I unscrew and then just lower my wooden dowel dipstick in to read the level. My water tank is in the keel and at the moment I have no way of knowing the water level. I'm thinking of adding a dipstick there as well.
 

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Another very simple solution is a dipstick
We have the same 'Fuel gauge' ;).. reliable as anything!

We use more water than fuel, obviously, and enjoy having the continual monitor on our water usage with the Tankwatch setup.
 
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