|Drilling holes so that we could cut out the piece for the panel|
|Cutting the sensor to the 9" depth of our tank.|
After learning just about everything I ever wanted to know about 1" NPT threaded holes... (don't ask)... We decided we needed a plan B. We went ahead and trimmed the sensor, which is a piece of PVC pipe with copper film lining two sides, connected to the offending NPT threaded gizmo and some tiny wires.
|Looks simple, right?|
We had highs and lows (mostly due to fatigue), but in the end, we exercised our problem solving skills and came up with a plan. We needed to make a hole in the tank, insert this stick and secure it in some way so that it would not leak. The aluminum tank was probably too thin to provide a very secure collar for the monitor so we came up with an idea. We would make a plate to attach the gizmo, then screw the plate onto the tank...
|The noise that made...|
|We drilled screw holes first in the second disk.|
|Blue bag covering the icky bottom|
There was a moment of panic when Bruce flipped the switch and no lights came on. (we had no idea what to expect here...). I couldn't get the wall lamp that we had tapped into for 12v power to come on either! Oh NOOOOO!!! Bruce came over and gave the light bulb a couple of turns and it lit up! Gasp! Power!!! I pushed the "read" button on the panel and it lit. WE DID IT! The little project that could was finally done! No matter that we get to do it all again on the forward tank, which comes with it's own set of unique challenges... We can do it and another of the projects gets ticked off the list! But for now... we will bask in the glow of success for the rest of the weekend.
Update: April 20, 2013
We had some trouble getting the monitor to calibrate properly. I finally got in touch with Dennis, the guy who makes the board behind the faceplate. He was VERY nice and truly believes in his product. He was not going to stop until we were happy.
Our problem seemed that we had intermittent power, but when all parts were tested, they showed to be fine. This unit takes such a small amount of power, it turned that it needed wire to wire contact instead of contact through one of those shrink wrap connectors that seem (to us) more secure. Once Bruce changed out all of those for twist-connectors, he got a steady power which enabled him to calibrate it. We weren't too pleased with the taped wires however, but if this will make it work, we'll try it for a while.
Update to the Update September 9, 2013:
Well, we thought it was working but it was still intermittent. We have been so busy with other projects, we had little time to devote to this one. The fact that we had to spend 1-2 weeks between testing (time to empty and refill the tank), caused this process to drag on and on. Finally in mid-August, we re-established our contact with Dennis. After a lengthy conversation, it was discovered that our tank is shallow, which caused us to cut the internal rod to about 8 inches in length. Dennis told us that this type of sensor is not meant for use in tanks less than a foot or so in depth. This was not mentioned on the website we purchased from. (But it will be soon...)
Dennis was so very kind as to send us two new rods, pre-cut to our length with a special power amplifier installed and calibrated. We installed the new rod and NOW... FINALLY... after all these months.... the tank monitor works just great! I would highly recommend going directly to Dennis' website to purchase your tank monitor. He will take the time to personally help you until the installation is done and working right.
If we had known of this item in the beginning, it would have made this a MUCH shorter blog entry...