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Topic:
Propane tank meter with RS232?
This thread has 18 replies. Displaying posts 1 through 15.
Post 1 made on Thursday February 16, 2012 at 22:32
ErikS
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Has anyone integrated the measurement of a propane tank?

I have a client with a seldom used mountain home that wants to have access to propane levels in his (10) 1,000 gallon underground tanks. There is currently not wiring, conduit or power from house to tanks but could easily be run. I talked to the 2 major propane suppliers locally and as much as I tried, they both didn't seem to understand the question. A google search turned up this [Link: wirelessmonitoring.centeron.net] and there is a reference to it in a cepro article Julie wrote a while back but no details as far as integration other than it was with crestron. I have sent an email requesting info from the manufacturer but have not heard back yet.

I am using RTI and can write a driver to talk RS232 or IP but just need a valve that will give me the data.
Post 2 made on Thursday February 16, 2012 at 23:29
cpchillin
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Erik I hope you find something because I'd love to have one for my house.
Who says you can't put 61" plasmas up on cantilever mounts using toggle bolts? <---Thanks Ernie ;)
Post 3 made on Thursday February 16, 2012 at 23:32
longshot16
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Keep searching because somebody was trying to use a device buried in a slab of concrete underneath the tank.
The Unicorn Whisperer
Post 4 made on Friday February 17, 2012 at 00:19
amirm
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Did a bit of googling and I think I found a solution. It starts with this bit: [Link: wesroc.net]

And then this serial interface: [Link: wesroc.net]

Might need some other parts :). Good news is that the company seems to be very focused on this area so if the web site is not clear, I am sure a call to them would lead to a solution.

BTW, I would love to have one on my house too :). So please report back what you find.
Amir
Founder, Madrona Digital Audio, Video, Home Automation
http://madronadigital.com
Post 5 made on Friday February 17, 2012 at 09:16
jzoz01
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Propane is stored as a liquid.  The gas pressure in the tank varies with tempature, not volume, so measuring gas pressure wouldn't tell you anything.  Unless there is a float or something inside the tank, I'd think measuring weight of the tank would be the only way to determine the level.  
Post 6 made on Friday February 17, 2012 at 10:49
mr2channel
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the surface temperature of the tank is affected by the level of liquid in the tank...I have simple magnetic strip on the side of my tank that tells me how much is left, their might be something out their to measure level using that info.
What part of "A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed." do you not understand?
Post 7 made on Friday February 17, 2012 at 10:49
cpchillin
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On February 17, 2012 at 09:16, jzoz01 said...
Propane is stored as a liquid.  The gas pressure in the tank varies with tempature, not volume, so measuring gas pressure wouldn't tell you anything.  Unless there is a float or something inside the tank, I'd think measuring weight of the tank would be the only way to determine the level.  

Yes you are correct that the pressure varies by temperature but you can go down to Walmart and get a gauge for your gas grills propane tank that gives a reasonably accurate measurement. Analog gauges are on every large propane tank I've ever had. No need to weigh the tank. They just know that it's accurate within a certain percentage and call it acceptable.
Who says you can't put 61" plasmas up on cantilever mounts using toggle bolts? <---Thanks Ernie ;)
Post 8 made on Friday February 17, 2012 at 11:18
jzoz01
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On February 17, 2012 at 10:49, cpchillin said...
Yes you are correct that the pressure varies by temperature but you can go down to Walmart and get a gauge for your gas grills propane tank that gives a reasonably accurate measurement. Analog gauges are on every large propane tank I've ever had. No need to weigh the tank. They just know that it's accurate within a certain percentage and call it acceptable.

I've seen those, but my understanding was they only worked when propane was flowing so it could measue temp.  Maybe I'm mistaken.
Post 9 made on Friday February 17, 2012 at 14:30
amirm
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On February 17, 2012 at 11:18, jzoz01 said...
|

I've seen those, but my understanding was they only worked when propane was flowing so it could measue temp.  Maybe I'm mistaken.

Ours has a dial on top and it shows the level whether in use or not. I must confess I have not looked at why it works :). But i does work.
Amir
Founder, Madrona Digital Audio, Video, Home Automation
http://madronadigital.com
Post 10 made on Friday February 17, 2012 at 15:44
ceied
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I thought propane only stays liquid while under pressure

When a propane tank is filled it has x amount of pressure to keep it in the LP state. As gas is released for cooking heat what have you liquid turns back to gas to take up the available space in the tank

Awwwe shit I have no idea how my damn gas tank meter on my grill works.
Ed will be known as the Tiger Woods of the integration business, followed closely with the renaming of his company to "Hotties A/V". The tag line will be "We like big racks and tight holes"...
Post 11 made on Friday February 17, 2012 at 16:23
jzoz01
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Yes the porpane stays a liquid under pressure, which is why if you just hook a gas pressure gauge to the tank, it will vary with temp, but not with volume left in the tank.  

I ran into a similar issue at home with a CO2 tank on my kegerator.  The gauge never changes until the tank is almost empty for the same reson so it's impossible to know how much is left in the tank without picking it up.  I was searching for a scale that I could read over RS-232, but couldn't find anything I was willing to pay for.  They were all around $400 which didn't seem worth it.
OP | Post 12 made on Friday February 17, 2012 at 20:59
ErikS
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The Wesroc solution looks like it may work great. I have emailed for information from them as well and will call on monday.

Since these tanks are underground, will the temp be a factor? It gets cold as the home is in the mountains at about 9000' but being underground should keep the tank at a somewhat constant temp. I do not know the exact depth the top of the tank is underground though.

For my application, it would need to be something that attached to the valve or fit in the 12" access opening from above ground as digging all 10 tanks up to put a meter on the side is not cost effective at this point.

One last question, would it require a meter on each tank if they are all interconnected to one line to the house?
Post 13 made on Saturday February 18, 2012 at 03:47
charris
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We are doing it now in a house for both the water and petrol tank. Please email me and I will get the models. Just for info any industrial automation sensor with the standard industrial voltage output (I do not remember the exact numbers now) can be converted using a simple resistor to be read by the inputs of a crestron/amx processor and probably RTI also.
Post 14 made on Monday October 20, 2014 at 11:40
ethan_b
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October 2014
3
It seems many of you are interested in finding an easy, remote way to monitor propane levels.

Maybe you should check out what this company called Tank Utility is up to. They don't have a propane smart meter on the market yet, but it looks like you can sign up to pre-buy one of their WiFi-connected smart meters which allows you to track your levels through your smartphone or computer. Theri site is here: http://www.tankutility.com/.

What do you guys think of something like this?
Post 15 made on Monday October 20, 2014 at 11:41
3PedalMINI
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this would have been nice, 2 YEARS ago.
“The bitterness of poor quality remains long after the sweetness of low price is forgotten” – Benjamin Franklin
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