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Old 03-12-2021, 03:53 PM   #1
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Testing tank sensors

Hello experts,
I have a 2003 Adventurer 35u. The other day 2 of the tank sensor indicator lights stopped working. I'm not talking about the accuracy but the lights ... meaning I have no lights at all.

The lights have always worked, but the same morning both the black and grey tank lights stopped working. Fresh water and LP lights still work. I've checked for a blown fuse but haven't found anything wrong.

Is there a way to test the wiring or the board or maybe a fuse in another place?

Thank you for any suggestions.


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Old 03-12-2021, 06:03 PM   #2
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Good info on your RV age group here:
https://www.winnebago.com/Files/File...ire_110664.pdf

That one gives the layout for the holding tank wiring and it looks like pretty straight stuff, with two wires (XJ and XK) for the black and grey with sharing the wire GL for ground.

This drawing gives the pinout for the first plug from the monitor panel:
https://www.winnebago.com/Files/File...ire_133004.pdf

In some cases you would need to look at the chart at first page top left to choose which page to look, depending on solar options, etc. but for the holding tanks, they are all the same, so just any page will give the info.

Then the next drawing on sheet two, bottom right hand corner goes to the real connections you may need to check:
https://www.winnebago.com/Files/File...ire_141032.pdf

What I see is three tanks, fresh, grey and black all share a common ground lead GL but each have a separate battery lead Fresh-XH, black-XJ and grey-XK, so if the fresh is working, I might guess the ground lead is okay but look for why the battery is not good.

This does mean getting to the plug behind the monitor but looking at the battery on pins 4,5,6, or finding the two pin plug going to the tanks and checking it there may be easier ---if you can find it?

Sorry, the drawings are good on your RV for telling you which wire goes where but not good at telling you WHERE that plug is located! ARGH!

Click these pictures to get a better view or go direct to the drawings.
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Old 03-13-2021, 11:03 AM   #3
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Board is bad? Had to send it to New York for repair . I had the the exact same issue and they replace some items on it and sent it back now everything works. About 3 weeks to get back and cost about $300.00
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Old 03-13-2021, 05:09 PM   #4
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So this is either a power or ground problem on just a few sensors.

I wonder if the board had any discoloration indicating a short?

And I wonder if it is a board trace issue? Meaning the fix might just include scratching off the bad trace (to open the circuit) and then you just add a jumper wires soldiered on the board trace to close the circuit? IDK. I never tried.

HERE'S A DIFFERENT TANK DISPLAY PROBLEM

My sensors are not reading right and this is a 90+% problem with all RV tank sensors. So I'm still searching for a cure beyond what other owners have done and that is to switch to Miracle Probes.

The problem, and my concern, is that a good percentage of these MP upgrades fail to give accurate reading also. So I have done nothing, yet, to fix my display readout problem.

...But thanks to you folks, Morich in particular, who seems to not mind looking at everyone's electrical schematics (thank you for that, btw) I like to color code and trace these diagrams to better understand what is going on.

I have also found you need to combine information of more than one schematic found in different sections in order to figure out the wiring.

So here's one example of our tank sensors and how so many other functions are also tied into that 15-Pin Connector that is connected to the display panel.

Hopefully these will help you too?

==> I think this summer I will take my panel apart and add a ground jumper to pin #3 with the hope my tank sensors are not reading accurately due to a poor ground. Of course, this is just a guess. So if anyone has already tried that please let me know if it worked or not?
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Old 03-13-2021, 08:40 PM   #5
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This is one of those places where we are kind of left in the dark as to what the drawing actually means and there seems to be things left out and things left as too vague to follow what they are telling us.

An example of my doubts is on the sensor drawings for all three tanks. I'm okay with them telling us the wire sizes and colors as I've marked in green on this snip but that leaves a couple other big questions!

All circuit have to have a full complete circuit ( or circle?) to operate, otherwise we call it an open circuit! So do they just leave us to assume that the liquid in the tank is to complete the circuit from the power going in on Wire XH for thee fresh tank and back to ground?

What is missing on the drawing when it "looks" like power goes into and through the "Full" sensor but just goes into the other two? Does the circuit have to go through the full to get to the 2/3 and 1/3 sensor? They're not telling us the full story someway at that point.

Then there is some question about what they mean with the "68Kn" noted between the last two sensors. Is that to show there is a 68K ohm resister inline that we should expect to see if we tested the resistance? Not the normal way to show a resister but maybe they have their own private method? Maybe there is a resister pack somewhere like we find on automotive heater fans for different speeds?

So that is where we can get into situations where we have to chase down the connections and do some comparing of the fresh water sensors that work and the two grey and black which have failed. Since they are all the same, we might have to do it the hard way and look at what we see on the working one and then see what difference we see on the two which have failed.

These drawings seem to be leaving me guessing at more things than I like.
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Old 03-14-2021, 12:55 AM   #6
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Morich: Thanks for adding to the diagram. Now we can see each tank has 3 probes.

It sounds like this is a Resistor Ladder I sort of remember 40 years ago when I was learning how DACs work. However, there are only 2 resistors for each tank. So are we looking at a Voltage Divider and not a DAC?

IDK. Hopefully someone who is a real technician can tell us how a simple voltage regulation circuit can light up LEDs as the water level changes?

I think this is the principle:

* As water touches each contact (1/3, 2/3, Full) in the tank it conducts a small amount of current... enough to turn "on" the base of each transistor. Then the transistor (switch) passes higher current to light the LED.

==> So if each probe helps to conduct more current then maybe this is an "additive" process? ...And the problem is that there is not enough current in each black and gray to overcome the resistance in the wire from the tank to the circuit board... where transistors turn-on or not to light the LED.

* If this hypothesis is correct we either need to Up the voltage or lower the resistance by A) changing the resistor values; or B) use different gauge wire from the tank to the circuit board. (IDK. This is just a guess.)

Here's video on how to build a water level sensor using a bread board and bare wires.



The problem I see is that there is only one signal wire back to the circuit board per tank. So how does the circuit board interpret this voltage?

SO THERE MUST BE A DIFFERNT PRINCIPLE USED

* MY black and gray tanks never read the same, but the LEDs work at random levels. Why is that?

==> So this to tells me the CB can't interpret the voltage form the probes in parallel... or maybe there is a bad ADC on the CB?

==> If the circuit is not shorted then it just isn't powerful enough to take readings.

Morich says, we need to take some resistor measurements and compare our working fresh water probes with the non-working black and gray probes. And I agree that is a good place to start.

And that "typo" may mean the resistor values are 680K-ohms not 68n or 68-ohms. So measuring the resistance on the fresh water tank is important.

Does anyone know what the circuit board looks like? Does it use transistors to light the LEDS or maybe an OP-AMP or maybe there is a bad ADC?
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Old 03-14-2021, 04:27 PM   #7
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Thanks for the great information and wire diagrams. I was looking at those before but wasn't sure how the power was coming in. I figured I would need to pull the panel off to look at the board, and this has lead me to my next question. I know how basic this might sound, but how do I get the panel out? I've taken every screw I can find out, of the main black panel, including removing the thermostat to make sure nothing was behind it, and it won't come out.
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Old 03-14-2021, 10:57 PM   #8
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I'm not sure what is easiest, because I not repaired my holding tank sensors.

==> However, I do know that if you remove the wood trim on the end of the wall, at least with my floor plan, then you can tip the entire wall panel out and see behind the monitor panel and all the wires hanging down in that area... which IMO should have been supported with a zip tie from the factory instead of left dangling, but that's another subject. My point is that you might find a "side door" entry point instead of unscrewing the screws up front. And from the looks of things, I would say the circuit board mounts from the back anyway.

==> It's threads like this one that reminded me that EVERYTHING WORKS in my RV EXCEPT the holding tank sensors for my black and gray tanks. So I get motivated by this as I like to have everything working in my RV.

The other motivation is to learn the "Diver2diver" paid $300 to repair his circuit board and that worked. I.e., in the OP's case we know his problem was NOT with the probes!

Diver2diver: If you don't mind telling us, what is the name and contact information for the NY repair shop? ..And what is your circuit board part number and color?

...I understand some circuit boards are "Red" and others are "Green".

I have a 2004 Itasca Horizon 40AD and I think my monitor panel is identical to the OPs, but I'm not 100% sure.

[COLOR="Red"]Diver2diver: Does your panel look like mine? (See pictures below.)

===

I do know my wire diagram for my coach serial number says my 2004 Itasca Horizon monitor panel uses a Ventline CB Part #L5130-02. However, I have not verified this.

...I also have an early model 2004 Horizon and i know there were changes to the late model Horizons off the line in the same year.

Additionally, I found pictures of a RED Ventline Part#L5130-00 that maybe mislabeled. I'm not sure. The picture says L53130-00, Rev E, but the description says L5130-02. So we may have a part number conflict on a subject that has not been addressed in over 8 years? ...With no new replacement sources. (TBD)

...Maybe when the OP looks at his circuit board then he can give us more information.

Below are pictures of my 2004 Horizon Monitor Panel and wire diagrams. Notice my monitor panel has a digital voltmeter display... and if we can believe Amazon the Ventline Part Number is LA1072-00.

Trivia: Apparently other Ventline monitor panels and circuit boards vary depending on if they include a digital voltmeter or a LED battery status button.
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Old 03-16-2021, 01:38 AM   #9
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The mystery of the "green" vs. "red" circuit board is now solved!

Today got an email back from Ventline, the maker of our Monitor Panels and circuit boards; and this is a summary of what they said:

In April 2004 the monitor panel was revised per request from Winnebago. The revision involved replacing the old style green board #L5113-04, with probes that pierced the holding tank… to a RED Circuit Board, Part# L5130-xx, which uses Non-Contact Probe that stick to the outside of the tank.


There is also no know source making these Red or Green Circuit Boards, but it's possible a TV-Electronics repair shop can help you repair your old board.

The OP claimed he did not have power to some of the probes so maybe this is the easiest kind of circuit board repair. IDK.

OP: Do you know what your NY repair shop did to fix your board?


For the rest of 70+% owners who cannot get our gray and black water tank sensors to work:

Some owners claim the upgrade to Horst Miracle Probes (with their plastic bonnents) help keep toilet paper from interfering with the sensor, but not everyone reports this has cured their sensor accuracy problems.

So at this point we are still waiting for a detailed description on how to repair the circuit board when it's not reading right?


==> I noticed that some manufactures include a trim-pot to adjust each tank sensor ohm-harness settings. Newmar RV tank sensor boards have this option, so...

* Maybe we can add a trim-pot to our green circuit board and adjust the resistor ladder or bring it back into spec? (TBD)

* I also found this tip that might be worth a try first: Apparently, each sensor probe reference to ground at the tankneeds to be the same reference to ground at the circuit board.

So this modification is described in the picture below. Also another tip suggested to add a few protection diodes in the circuit too, but their was no clear indication on how to do this. Just a picture of the diodes with different Winnebago part numbers so I'm not sure about this suggestion, but obvious some say it is necessary for use "S-Series" Winnebago owners.


Note: Apparently those Non-Contact probes Winnebago went to with their "Red" Circuit Board didn't prove to work so well either, because some owners have drilled holes in their tank to insert Horst Miracle Probes instead. ...But I'm still of the opinion something can be done to the circuit board to get it to work. I just don't know what that is at this point, because I don't have access to my RV to look at the circuit board, because my RV is in storage. So for now everything I am sharing is with the hopes someone else will pickup this ball and run with it!
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Old 03-16-2021, 03:19 PM   #10
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Yes that is my control board layout but with a different thermostat. The circuit board is L5113-03 for the complete board. The circuit card barebones is L5113-00. For the repair you can type in the part number into Google and it will lead you Control System Labs. Select tab for Request RMA and follow the directions. I knew it was the board because of the way the lights went out. And they did find a bad component on the board.
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Old 03-16-2021, 05:02 PM   #11
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Found it. Thanks! Here's the link to Control System Labs and they really look like a quality shop. Maybe they can even repair my Onan Inverter Board if that day comes? ...I will have to give them a call. So thanks for the tip!

https://www.controlrepair.com/produc...it-board/54234

I also talked to Winnebago today about these Ventline monitor panels and control boards, and I learned the schematics we view on line are not as detailed as what the factory uses. However, you can find which monitor panel and circuit board you have, in most cases by going to page 30-35 in this Winnebago Parts Catalog listing 50 Years On The Road:

https://www.winnebago.com/Files/File...go_Catalog.pdf

Like Driver2diver, my control board for a L5113... but the Winnebago wire diagram for my coach calls for an L5130-02. So don't believe everything you see on the Winnebago parts drawings. To know for sure you need to call Winnebago and fortunately, they are willing to help... even with these old dinosaur boards they no longer sell.

The green board is as Driver2driver explained is the Ventline #L5113-03 or -04. I don't think it matters as the -04 is just a revision. And these boards were used prior to 04/2004.

The RED BOARD used after 04/2004 use a Ventline Circuit Board #L5130-00 and again the -00 is just a revision number that we see marked as Rev C or Rev E.

And as discussed you can use a RED BOARD to replace a GREEN BOARD... if you can find them.

Winnebago does not sell either the green or the red board for my model year, but they do have other part numbers available, like the L5131-02 for $74.

So IMO, use legacy owners need to find a TV-Electronics repair shop who can do some component level testing; or as Driver2driver points out, you can send your board to Control Systems Labs and they will take care of you.

* I wonder if Control Systems Labs makes any improvements to the circuit board by using different components?


* I also wonder if rewiring the ground wires will help solve the problem with your board?

* And when I talked to Winnebago, these diodes that go to the black and grey tank are there to protect the circuit board parasitic noise; which I believe later revisions to the Ventline circuit board included so you don't need these diodes, but for us pre-2004 RV owners it sounds like this would also be a good modification after you repair your circuit board.
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Old 03-16-2021, 06:46 PM   #12
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Lots of good info there and it does provide several answers to what I was missing on the drawings. It is somewhat common for drawings to not show what happens in boards for a lot of things. The facts are that boards are getting way to complex to begin to sort out what they do in many cases, so they just skip over and left us guessing if we don't have most of the basic ideas down already.
Kind of neat point to see somebody actually admit that there were problems with the probes used before 2004 and then they changed and the new were still problems!
I'm glad to say my 2015 has the pads which seem to have it worked out pretty well but I'm still waiting to see how it goes long term.

Comment on the thermostat? One of the first mods I did to my "newish" RV was to change out the analog thermostat to a digital. Heat and cool is one of my bugs about RV and the digital does keep it much closer to the set temp, so I found it almost "required" to do that change and it can be pretty simple if one can find the right thermostat.

Finding a heat only battery operated one might be tricky as heat only s kind of odd but my use for heat and cooling was quite straightforward as the thermostat doesn't do any more then act as a simple contact closure and with the battery powering the mechanics, it was only a couple wires for each function without needing a 24 volt supply like home thermostats often use.

For a mod that makes my temperature more steady and costing less the $20, I might look at changing that one out and just ignore the cooling function on the new one!
But that's just my spin on what I would do and we all gotta find our own path!!
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Old 03-17-2021, 12:38 AM   #13
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It's now up to the "OP" JimStreit to tell us what "THE FIX" is at this point?

Thanks JimStreit for posting. For 15+ years there has are no other thread that covers everything like this one does. So if the expression "Hind sight is 20/20," is true, then you are the Optician.

There are many possible fixes:

* Circuit board failure? Maybe, these things seem very basic and I see no reason why a TV-Electronics Repair Shop can do a component level check if you are not qualified. (I'm not, but I would give it a go.)

However, returning the board to "normal" cannot be the goal, because the OEM board never worked that great to begin with! So I hope you employ some of the other upgrades you can do beyond making any component fixes to restore power to your LED lights.

Note: I'm not sure what those ICs are on the board, but do tell us when you take a closer look. These maybe your problem and they are <$1 each in many cases. ...Or maybe you just have a ground problem (open circuit)?


==> YouTube has lots of video on how to test for components like that voltage regulator, diodes, and capacitors, but it help to have some basic knowledge of electronics first. Otherwise, it will become very frustrating and boring to watch.

* Another problem could be probe related, but without any probes working I would think "Empty" would still illuminate. IDK. I have never looked at my circuit board and I'm just theorizing how these things work. So if anyone wants to correct me you will not hurt my feelings. Please do!

* If your LED lights work, but light in error, then you may want to try adjusting the trim pot on the circuit board (if there is one)? In addition, you might try cutting the "JP" ground wire as described in previous threads above and run a separate ground wire from the probes to the circuit board so your probe sensors are referenced to the same ground as your circuit board.

* And I'm still unclear about where Winnebago recommends the addition of diodes. ...And I don't know if this was intended to fix the circuit board in the outside WATER CENTER or if it is for the entire circuit.

NOTE: I seem to remember some owners saying the WATER CENTER circuit board works, but not the inside tank monitor... or maybe that is the other way around.

Everyone has given up on this system or they just don't share. (Let's change that!)

When Winnebago switched to non-contact probes after April-2004, then came out with a Service Bulletin (see attached) and referenced the change from the green board to the red board which used non-contact probes. However, I think this modification (adding diodes) should apply to all green board circuit as well. (It can't hurt, right!)

...Anyway, if you investigate this diode modification, please let us know where they go!

==

These are the latest updates to the previous diagrams I can share with you. Hopefully, this information will help you or your lab tech repair your board, but you need to figure out how to improve your ground plane and install diodes if you want to do everything you can to get your gray and black water sensors to "talk" to your circuit board.

This summer I hope to fix my gray and black water holding tank sensors, circuit, and circuit board... since it is the only system on my RV that does not work right, and I hate that.

Good luck and please keep us posted on your fix.

See attached:

1) .pdf for Ventline Circuit Board and probe troubleshooting.

2) Winnebago TrueLevel Upgrade (From Green Circuit Board to Red Circuit Board)
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File Type: pdf Ventline Holding Tank Manual & Troubleshooting (Keep).pdf (47.4 KB, 10 views)
File Type: pdf Tank (black & gray) True Wire Board Fix (KEEP).pdf (422.8 KB, 10 views)
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Old 03-17-2021, 05:32 PM   #14
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It’s probably a bad shared ground if the two stopped working at the same time.
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Old 03-17-2021, 06:00 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pdest View Post
It’s probably a bad shared ground if the two stopped working at the same time.
This is where I would have to start digging into the actual hands-on RV as the drawing is no longer any help as it shows a bus bar type ground and all three tanks, black grey and fresh are tied to that ground. But what is not specified is if those connections are at one point or different points along the line. Since two are not working but the fresh is, A look at comparing the two sets of wires and readings would be nice but we all know that finding those 2 pin plugs may not be easy or possible to reach and the drawings give no indications for location.
Maybe possible to see the probes and trace the wire to a connection, maybe not practical at all!
It can quickly get down to asking myself how bad I want to try to fix an item that has a rep of not working very well, even at best!
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Old 03-17-2021, 11:08 PM   #16
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You are right. The perceptions are:

* It takes some effort to get to the tank probes in the first place, so most of us don't even try. However, once you remove your water panel in the outside water bay you should see the black and gray water tank probes right there.

* But even if you do upgrade to Horst Miracle Probes, many report there still is no guarantee you will be able to rely on your gray and black water sensor working all the time.

* And since the most important tank level sensor is the Fresh Water Sensor, and because this sensor works 100% of the time, no one puts that much value on fixing the other gray and black water sensors. So, most of us just go about RVing and live with the frustration (some more than others). And this attitude has been like this for over 20 years!

==> However, I also have found very few who are trying to repair the board they have vs. relying on Winnebago to fix the problem.

But what if the fix to modify our green circuit boards only cost $20 in parts and 1 hour on the bench?

So this is where are at... that is at an impasse. However, there are things we can try:

1) Making sure all the components on the board work right and are in spec.

2) Modify the ground connections so the circuit board ground is the same as the sensor ground. (See above threads on how to do that.)

And if this does not work we still are not dead in the water yet! Why? ...We know the Red Circuit Board typically working better than the Green Boards, so we need to find out what the red board revisions entailed? I.e., what components did Ventline change on the red board that is an improvement over the green boards? Such as...

A) How do you filter out noise at such low currents?

B) How can you amplify the current in the circuit... when you press the Holding tank button?

Note: We now know voltage is applied to the tank sensors at all times. And when you press the tank button on the monitor panel it sends an additional 0.5mA current through the circuit so the comparators (LM339N) on the circuit board can drive the output and light-up the correct number of LEDS on the panel.

...And that's all I go so far.

So, I hope someone with more electronics background can "noodle" on this problem now that we are getting better at understanding the driving principles involved.

Lastly, I don't know how the circuit board in the outside Water-Sewer Bay connects to the main Monitor Panel? And, I can't find much information on it either. Note: Not all RV have a tank monitor in the outside Water-Sewer Bay, but if you find out some information on this, please share it with the rest of us. Thank you!

NOTE: If you have trouble making out the pictures below, please download the attached .pdf file with bigger and clearer pictures.
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Attached Files
File Type: pdf Ventline Circuit Board & Holding Tank Sensor Pictures (PDF).pdf (1.21 MB, 8 views)
File Type: pdf Mirus_Tank_Level_Specs_&_Troubleshooting (1).pdf (79.7 KB, 4 views)
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Old 03-18-2021, 07:03 PM   #17
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Join Date: Jul 2014
Posts: 1,300
"Plrude" wrote in another thread that he recommends this product to clean the tank:

Amazon link to Caravan tank cleaner:

https://www.amazon.com/Caravan-overn...6114804&sr=8-1

Thanks for the tip!

I read the Amazon reviews on this stuff and most are very positive, much to my surprise.

It also sounds like the longer you leave this stuff in your tank, while the RV is in storage, except during the freezing months, the better.

I didn't read all the reviews, but it sounds like leaving this stuff in for 2-3 months might be a good thing, with one downside... the enzyme cleaner could create a leak in the black and gray water tank drains,

Does it work to break down Struvite too?

What is Struvite? Watch this:

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Old 05-18-2021, 11:29 AM   #18
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Posts: 1,300
So this week I'm going to ATTEMPT to fix my tank sensors.

JimStreit: Did you have any success?

In my coach I can take off the 7' maple end board to gain access to my power panel back side; and right there is the 15-pin connector to the Ventline LED display.

I also confirmed in my 2004 early model coach, that I have a "green" circuit board by Ventline, but I did not remove it.

Pin #3 is "JP" (ground) and so is Pin #11, but it is not used by the Ventline display.

So my first step is to cut the small white wire that provides a battery ground to the Ventline... and then leave it open. Then I will run a dedicated ground wire to my chassis ground like the instructions say above.

Note: I already checked my sensors at the tank and I believe someone else already installed the Horst Miracle Probes, or some other brand, because I can stick a small wire into the holding tank with no obstruction. I.e., I think the OEM probes are solid metal and would have an obstructing, but that's just a guess.

So I need to try this.

The reason for this post is to ask:

* What are those fully looking "orange caps" connected to my tank sensors wires? What do the do?

Note: I also have 3 wires going to the gray tank and 3 wires going to the black tank... 2-yellow and 1-white. The schematic does not show but 1-yellow wire and 1-white wire to the senders. So can anyone explain my tank wiring set up which may have bee altered by ???? at some point before they came out with the "red" circuit board fix? ...Because I have the "green" board.
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Old 05-18-2021, 01:29 PM   #19
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Join Date: Jul 2019
Posts: 47
imnprsd - I haven't successfully determined the issue yet. It appears my ground wire for the black tank is good, but I haven't been able to determine the grey tank yet as this requires the removal of a couple more panels to access the wiring. I'm hoping for nice weather next week to pickup the testing process.
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Old 05-18-2021, 09:24 PM   #20
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Today I cut the ground wire (Pin #3 in the 15-pin connector, aka "JP" in the schematic) about 1.5" from the end.

I then ran some extra speaker wire (seen picture with red+black wire) I had handy, and I fished it under my shower pan... and out to the the dump station area.

Note: I has to dissemble the front covers, but this was not very hard.

Note: The shower in my coach sits directly over the black tank.

I then verified the door angle iron support was a "good chassis ground" by doing a continuity test between this point and the chassis ground near my ATS... located up high and to the right. (See second picture.)

Then I reset my 12V system by pressing the BDS "off" and then "on" and my gray tank seems to be reading correct.

However, I think it's premature to call this a "fix" at this point; and my black ate tank is still not reading right. (It always reads full when I know it is empty.

So, it maybe premature to think that this ground modification (to provide the same chassis ground as the sensors) will make a difference... but we shall see.

Prior to this modification, I would say my gray water tank only read accurate about 20% of the time. So, if my gray water tank sensors start to continuously work then I will "call that a day" and let you know.

As for the black water tank reading accurate, this still not happening. Further, my black water tank always seems to read full.

So next week I will have time to replace the probes in the black water than with Horst Miracle Probes and then we shall see if that will help?

Note: The fact my fresh water tank is reading right -- I'm hoping my Ventline "Green Circuit Board" is still functioning like it should; and that my problem is more "sensor" related than any thing else. TBD
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