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Old 04-24-2019, 12:23 PM   #1
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Question How Accurate are Winnebago Gauge Lights?

(Vista 35F if it matters)
How accurate are Winnebago's? Especially the propane.

RV gauge lights for water, waste water & propane levels are notoriously inaccurate - both the TT & the 5er we used to have fully embraced all aspects of inaccurate and irregular readings.
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Old 04-24-2019, 12:46 PM   #2
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Your propane tank should have a dial gauge on it that reflects the float level in the tank. Compare that to the bar graph.
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Old 04-24-2019, 03:46 PM   #3
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None of the tank status lights are very accurate. But they are better than nothing. The Battery status gauge details the voltage at that moment which is highly variable.

While some people take it upon themselves to install more accurate tank meters and or Battery monitors - both of which are much more accurate - Propane level meters are notorious for being inaccurate. The gauge on the tank is better but even it is not totally accurate.
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Old 04-24-2019, 03:52 PM   #4
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The water, grey, and black tank levels can't be adjusted. They are based on sensors mounted on the outside walls of the plastic tanks. Production worker glues those on the tanks using pre-made templates. I find the water and grey to be pretty good. My black tank often reads much higher than it really is due to stuff sticking to the inside of the black tank where the sensors are. I find that putting 1/2 cup to 1 cup of cheap water softener powder in the black tank, like what is found in dollar stores, helps keep this from happening

On the Vista, there is a adjustment for the propane level that can be made with a small screwdriver. It is on the board that all the LEDs are on, and it can be adjusted from behind if you remove the 4 black screws holding the panel on the wall.

What you can do is after you fill your propane tank, turn that adjustment screw with the show levels switch operated until the full LED goes out then turn it back up until the LED just comes on.
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Old 04-25-2019, 01:01 AM   #5
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And if you boondock at all you will find how unreliable the lights that measure the tanks in thirds can be. If you are looking at installing real gauges, check out SeeLevel
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Old 04-25-2019, 08:06 AM   #6
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cheap electrical monitor

When my propane tank light first reads 1/3rd, I filled tank and it took 28 pounds in my 68 pound system which (with allowance for only 85% fills) means it was 1/2+. On my RV even the gauge on tank is reads pessimistic, but a little closer.

I can see my water tank so a flashlite shined at it shows my exact level.

A cheap fix for electric readings is this very effective $14 one second install adapter. Plug it into your house 12 volt (cigarette style) plug and you have 3 sockets, each with an on/off switch, plus a LED battery readout. (I actually also have one plugged into my Fords plug so can monitor that also.) It has 2 USB charging ports also. Rule of thumb... Charge batteries at 12.1 volts.

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...?ie=UTF8&psc=1
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Old 04-25-2019, 08:28 AM   #7
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If you put the word "about" (or if Scottish, abooot) in front of the reading you will be OK. Gauges are accurate when the tanks are bone dry or when stuff us pouring out of the fill port. Anything in between is "aboot", as in "She's abooot empty, Cap'n! " Or, you can use "wee bit" if at the extremes. As in, " She can take a wee bit mor, Cap'n!

And don't forget....they all depend on being calibrated when the tank is level in TWO directions. Fore/aft & port/starboard.
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Old 04-25-2019, 09:16 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Old Crows View Post
If you put the word "about" (or if Scottish, abooot) in front of the reading you will be OK. Gauges are accurate when the tanks are bone dry or when stuff us pouring out of the fill port. Anything in between is "aboot", as in "She's abooot empty, Cap'n! " Or, you can use "wee bit" if at the extremes. As in, " She can take a wee bit mor, Cap'n!

And don't forget....they all depend on being calibrated when the tank is level in TWO directions. Fore/aft & port/starboard.

OK... trying to make light of your situation. I understand your concerns. The reality is that the gauges only approximate a level. Sort of like the '80s GM gas gauges that would say F for 200 miles and suddenly go to E in 20 more miles and you had just enough gas to get to a station.



Adding a couple more thoughts... The LP tank measures 'liquid' not vapor. It's level depends on all the previous thoughts AND the temperature of the LP in the tank. Liquids expand in volume with increasing temperature. So... it might say 3/4 full on a Texas hot day and at night it might show 1/2. It is just a big, fat approximation. the water and waste tanks don't do that as much. Even at a low level, the LP will still deliver enough vapor (the appliances use LP vapor not liquid) to power things. Cold weather.... not so much due to LP's vapor point temperature.



I'd not worry about it..... just know that you have 'aboot' so much.
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Old 04-25-2019, 10:07 AM   #9
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The boiling point of propane is -44 F , personally I never want to try to camp anywhere that propane won't vaporize fast enough to keep up with the demands in my RV.

That said if you ever go to Mexico and fill your propane tank with butane, because that's all they had where you needed to fill your propane tank, then you can have a problem when you go back north. The boiling point of butane is 30 F.
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Old 04-25-2019, 10:48 AM   #10
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My never fail black water gauge is a flashlight to look down the toilet.
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Old 05-01-2019, 05:54 PM   #11
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Talking

Quote:
Originally Posted by BobC View Post
My never fail black water gauge is a flashlight to look down the toilet.
Makes it easier to find your cellphone when you drop it down there too.
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Old 05-02-2019, 02:11 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by powercat_ras View Post
The boiling point of propane is -44 F , personally I never want to try to camp anywhere that propane won't vaporize fast enough to keep up with the demands in my RV.

That said if you ever go to Mexico and fill your propane tank with butane, because that's all they had where you needed to fill your propane tank, then you can have a problem when you go back north. The boiling point of butane is 30 F.
From real experience, when you're in -10, your propane pressure will start to get flaky, especially if you're running a furnace and hot water heater. Some truck campers have a way of some interior heat reaching tanks, but most motorhomes do not.

But of course, if you think you ever might want to spend time in the cooler places, do it gradually and in steps.
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Old 05-02-2019, 06:37 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by SLOweather View Post
Your propane tank should have a dial gauge on it that reflects the float level in the tank. Compare that to the bar graph.
mine is totally off. When it shows empty it's actually 2/3 full. Tanks like that have been around since we went to the moon. And still they are way off
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Old 05-02-2019, 10:05 AM   #14
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When I press the fresh water button the black water light also comes on and vice versa. Usually they will show different readings but still both lights come on with one button. Very annoying.
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