Gauges are Good…

Ever since we took delivery of At Ease, we have been slowly chipping away at the ‘to repair’ list.  There were a couple of items I had been putting off, just because of what I read and the complexity or so I thought.

Lets talk about tanks.  Not your regular fish tank, but more of storage type tanks.  We have three tanks, one fuel tank, one fresh water tank, and the third… well, not so fresh water.   They work just like your gas gauge in your car.  Our fuel gauge works just fine or at least we think as we haven’t ran the engine enough to use much fuel.  The water tank gauge ‘works’ as the needle sweeps however it always says we have a full tank, even when we ran out of water.  The holding tank gauge (waste tank or not so fresh water tank) always says empty, even when it is full.  Both are a problem because they both only hold so much.  If you run out of fresh water we cannot do dishes or brush your teeth or fill our cups to drink.  Likewise if the holding tank is full, we are in even a worse predicament.

So why do you ask it is so complicated?  It sounds pretty easy right?  Well what I have read is that the gauges and senders have to match in ohms resistance and there were two different ones to pick from.  The American standard (240-33 ohms) and the European standard (0-180 ohms).  I looked all over each gauge, and sender and neither gave a hint to which they were.  I searched several sailboat forums and it was hit or miss on which it could be.  Just depended on where the maker sourced parts from for that particular build. So I could buy an American sender and it may work or I may have an European gauge and it not work.  After several weeks of going back an forth with no avail, I started digging a little deeper.  I contacted the gauge manufacturer and they wanted to know numbers and any photos of them so they could figure it out.

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After a few tries, they determined they were the European style and suggested I could replace with the same and then find out the gauges don’t work or replace them all with new American standard style. We are going to replace them all.  I took the water sender out.  Well I took the top cap off because the remains had broken off and fallen into the tank.  You can see next to the new stainless one, the old plastic one had broken apart (yes it was very difficult to fish the old remains out of a 3/4″ hole).

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The new one cost $47.99, and here it is after I installed it.

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Water tank sender complete, now on to the holding tank sender. I found the sender I needed online and it was $97, ouch.  I looked on eBay and was thrilled to find the exact same one that someone bought by mistake (maybe needed the European one?) and it was new in box for $15.  SCORE!

The timing was crucial for the pomp out guy to empty the holding tank, so not to be left with an undesirable mess.  All the due diligence of our head care finally came back to help out because there was no odor.  Whew!  Old broken sender carefully removed to reveal it was broken into three sections.

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The new shiny stainless replacement:

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Now here comes the tricky part.  With the water sender, it just screwed into place.  Very easy replacement.  This one was a juggling act of fingers folding like pretzels, the little metal C shaped ring and hoping not to drop anything into the tank to be lost forever. Just a drawing and small paragraph that said something like, start with one screw, insert C insert another screw, rotate, don’t drop then tighten.

Yeah, that was the hardest and most time consuming part. The instructions should have just been as well in a different language.  Anyways, here is the finished install:

Sealant was not required and was not used on the rubber gasket, but rather just applied to the outside edge just to add an extra layer of comfort.  Next was for the gauges to be installed.  I had Alicia do the install and wiring of the gauges ($25 each).  It was her first time with electrical, she did great and they worked!

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Total project ~$125 plus. Great success and no more guessing on tank levels.

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