Propane Tank Level Gauge -- Anyone know of a good one? - Fiberglass RV


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Old 04-18-2014, 10:06 AM   #1
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Propane Tank Level Gauge -- Anyone know of a good one?

Hi all,

We are looking to add a propane tank fuel gauge to our propane tanks on our Bigfoot so we know when we are running low. From what we have read and based on our own experience with a gauge on our propane BBQ grill, the gauges are poor indicators. They say everything is fine and dandy then suddenly right when the tank is almost empty, immediately turn to red.

Anyone have a gauge they feel works well and actually shows intermediate levels accurately (rather than just going from full to empty)?

Thanks
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Old 04-18-2014, 10:13 AM   #2
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I have one I purchased at Costco but as you say once the tank starts to get on the low side the gage will drop pretty quickly. Not great but its way better than no gage and does give me a a bit of an early warning in so far as if I see it getting close to the red zone I should probable go get the tank filled fairly soon.
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Old 04-18-2014, 10:13 AM   #3
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My right arm. I randomly check the tank by lifting it and feeling how much is left in the tank while out camping. If I am boondocking away from any civilization I will bring an extra 5 gallon and a couple mini green bottles with the adapter.
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Old 04-18-2014, 11:31 AM   #4
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Jon your method is probable a pretty accurate approach but the way my propane tank is secured makes it a real pain to remove and pick up.... cringe every time I need to fight with it to just get the tank off for refill.
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Old 04-18-2014, 11:53 AM   #5
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There was an article in Trailer Life magazine sometime probably within the last year about a propane tank gauge that was supposed to be very accurate. I can't remember the name of it, but sure I mentioned it here in a previous discussion on the same topic.
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Old 04-18-2014, 12:02 PM   #6
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My buddy bought two gauges at Costco, one for me and one for him.
Independently, on two different brands of BBQ, we came to the conclusion that the gauge was restricting flow to some degree.
Both of us have removed them.
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Old 04-18-2014, 12:02 PM   #7
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Easy Way.... I use the "Stick-On" strip that's available at most RV stores. You pour hot water on it and it changes color showing where the level is at. Several have lasted for 3+ years already.

The only tank gauge that's really accurate is an in-tank gauge, and they have to be put in when the tank is built.
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Old 04-18-2014, 12:03 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by Carol H View Post
Jon your method is probable a pretty accurate approach but the way my propane tank is secured makes it a real pain to remove and pick up.... cringe every time I need to fight with it to just get the tank off for refill.
maybe redesign the mount to a threaded stud and wing nut to hold down the clamp? if you cringe just to fill the tank, that doesn't make for a nice start to a great camp trip
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Old 04-18-2014, 12:05 PM   #9
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We have used a gauge from the Brookstone Store for about 6 years and it has worked well, gradually going down as we use the tank.
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Old 04-18-2014, 12:17 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Glenn Baglo View Post
My buddy bought two gauges at Costco, one for me and one for him.
Independently, on two different brands of BBQ, we came to the conclusion that the gauge was restricting flow to some degree.
Both of us have removed them.

What where the symptoms? I have the same one but haven't noticed any of the appliances in the trailer having any issues with the flow it is providing.
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Old 04-18-2014, 12:21 PM   #11
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maybe redesign the mount to a threaded stud and wing nut to hold down the clamp? if you cringe just to fill the tank, that doesn't make for a nice start to a great camp trip
Well thats what I have already! still find it a pain to take on and off. The good news is that the appliances use so little propane I don't need to fill it all that often... if just doing short trips of a few days at a time on and off the grid I can go months without a refill. If on a long trip 50/50 on an off the grid even though running the fridge on propane I can still get by for at least a few weeks without a refill.
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Old 04-18-2014, 12:28 PM   #12
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I don't know if this works for anyone else, but I use my nose. It seems that the odorant added to propane concentrates towards the bottom of the tank. When the tank gets down to a 1/2 gallon or so, the area around the refrigerator (when operating on gas, of course) starts to "smell". While I have dual tanks with an automatic switchover, I have missed the switchover enough times that I usually keep the full tank valve closed until I get close. The "smell" test gives me enough of a warning to open the spare tank valve.

I agree that the add on gauges are not all that useful, and also use the "pick up & shake" method. You can purchase 20 pound tanks that have a built in float gauge.
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Old 04-18-2014, 12:37 PM   #13
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We have tried pretty much every device and method available and found only two which are pretty reliable....
1] Buy a tank with an internal float gauge. These are fairly accurate and the ones I have seen usually have a little reserve when they reach empty.
the drawback with this choice is that you can't do exchange.

2] Remove the tank before a trip and weigh it on a bathroom scale.
18 pounds is empty,38 pounds is full. Estimate the need for the trip and switch tanks if necessary before leaving.

Using the weighing method requires the purchase of a second tank to get full use of the propane. We have a grill at home on which we use only "near empty" tanks. This second tank can be filled before a trip if there is not adequate supply in the trailer tank.
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Old 04-18-2014, 01:16 PM   #14
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What where the symptoms? I have the same one but haven't noticed any of the appliances in the trailer having any issues with the flow it is providing.
We both felt we weren't getting the heat that we were used to. After we removed the gauges, the grills were hotter. All purely subjective.

As for weighing, I use a luggage scale.
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