What's noticed when holding tank becomes full ?

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What's noticed when holding tank becomes full ?

Postby baz on Thu Jul 06, 2017 1:41 pm

Subject: What's noticed when holding tank becomes full ?

I believe all of the RT models do not provide a dial or indicator for how full the holding tank is. Some of the RT models have clear visibility to see how full the holding tank is. I certainly did on my R-25 (Classic). On my new 2018 R-27 the holding tank is buried under the cabin's floor and cannot be viewed to see how full it is.

So. I'm wondering if the holding tank were to become full what noticeable event(s) will be apparent ? I presume the toilet/head would not flush out, the bowl will stay full and/or stuff will start exiting out through the holding tank's vent and into the sea/lake water (unlawful act as well :o :( ). What other indicators are there that signifies the holding tank is full ?

On the new 2018 R-27 the distance from the toilet/head and the holding tank is minimal at around 2 to 3 feet at best. There's a removable step at the V-berth entrance which allows access to the bilge pump located there and the depth transducer. Peering aft with this step removed one cannot see and view the 30 gallon holding tank which sits forward of the 40 gallon fresh water tank that's adjacent to the forward end of the fuel tank. Thus, the level of the holding tank cannot be viewed....at least not easily unless a mirror on a stick along with a flashlight (torch) is used I suppose, plus it will be necessary to get around a 'strainer' that blocks full view of the holding tank. ;)
Last edited by baz on Sat Jul 08, 2017 11:18 am, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: What's noticed when holding tank becomes full ?

Postby SlackwaterJack on Thu Jul 06, 2017 2:29 pm

The deck gets really, really slippery?
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Re: What's noticed when holding tank becomes full ?

Postby Brian B on Thu Jul 06, 2017 3:07 pm

If you can get to the tank you can mount an external tank sensor and mount the electronic indicator in a convenient location. I installed one on my 25SC and it works great.
You do not want to overfill that tank.
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Re: What's noticed when holding tank becomes full ?

Postby Red Fury on Thu Jul 06, 2017 3:15 pm

There should be a vent that starts to leak smelly stuff. On my new Classic 2017 R27, this vent is located on the stern below the waste pump out and above the propane locker.
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Re: What's noticed when holding tank becomes full ?

Postby BradOwens on Thu Jul 06, 2017 3:31 pm

We have a Tecma electric flush toilet. The control panel has only two buttons, one to add water to the bowl, the other to flush. The buttons glow green when the tank is less than half full, yellow when above half, and red when full.
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Re: What's noticed when holding tank becomes full ?

Postby Smokeyham on Thu Jul 06, 2017 10:13 pm

BradOwens wrote:We have a Tecma electric flush toilet. The control panel has only two buttons, one to add water to the bowl, the other to flush. The buttons glow green when the tank is less than half full, yellow when above half, and red when full.


Not sure if this is a common occurrence, but on the 2010 Ranger 29 we just chartered the indicator light on the waste tank stayed on yellow despite two very thorough pump outs. We even added water back into the tank and then pumped that back out again. We were told that the light system was notoriously unreliable, and not to rely on that to gauge how full the tank was.
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Re: What's noticed when holding tank becomes full ?

Postby baz on Fri Jul 07, 2017 1:18 am

Smokeyham wrote:
BradOwens wrote:We have a Tecma electric flush toilet. The control panel has only two buttons, one to add water to the bowl, the other to flush. The buttons glow green when the tank is less than half full, yellow when above half, and red when full.


Not sure if this is a common occurrence, but on the 2010 Ranger 29 we just chartered the indicator light on the waste tank stayed on yellow despite two very thorough pump outs. We even added water back into the tank and then pumped that back out again. We were told that the light system was notoriously unreliable, and not to rely on that to gauge how full the tank was.


Yes, I've been told that as well. :( :o :evil: On the new 2018 R-27 all that is supplied is a push button which flushes until the button is released.

Maybe what's needed is a non-restricting flow meter sensor in the pump out line to the holding tank that reports how much water has been flushed through.
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Re: What's noticed when holding tank becomes full ?

Postby Irish Mist on Fri Jul 07, 2017 7:12 am

I guess because we are full time we get a good sense of when it is getting full just from time between pump outs.. Our early warning is after flushing we get a few air bubbles coming back into the bowel.. That is maybe two flushes from too full. Also we notice we can smell the vent after a flush when it is getting full. My guages are disconnected, they have never worked well. At some point I will re connect them but we have had no issues for the past 5 years not having a gauge.
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Re: What's noticed when holding tank becomes full ?

Postby Todd on Fri Jul 07, 2017 7:45 am

I installed Tank Tender gage by Hart Systems. Easy install and totally reliable. Original equipment sensors were not reliable.
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Re: What's noticed when holding tank becomes full ?

Postby SpiceItUp on Fri Jul 07, 2017 8:08 am

We just experienced overflow this week on our 2016 R-29CB. The tank level indicator remained green the entire time, so that is clearly not working.

First hint of trouble was a whiff of not-so-pleasant air in the V-berth. On further investigation, the outside tank vent had leaked some fluid which you could see had run down the side of the boat. I opened the waste cap very slowly. There was lots of pressure built up.

Inside, I opened up the bed to get to the tank and saw that fluid had seeped out 2 connections on the top of the tank. It was traveling down the side of the tank and coming out onto the floor. Fortunately, we caught this early, and did not have too major a cleanup.

My understanding is that when the indicator light goes red, the toilet will not flush unless you specifically override it. So, if the indicator is working, there should be no possibility of overflow. Visually, you cannot determine the level of the tank.

Henceforth, we will watch this like a hawk. When the tank has space you can hear the water falling into it after flushing.

Hope you can avoid the perils of waste!
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Re: What's noticed when holding tank becomes full ?

Postby DBBRanger on Fri Jul 07, 2017 10:38 am

Baz:

I took your suggestion from your post when you had your R21: http://www.tugnuts.com/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=5330&p=38206&hilit=+sight+tube#p38206 and made a sight tube on my R25 tank. Instead of your design, I put a 90 degree elbow in the bottom of the tank and attached a tube to it with a stopper in the top of the tube. The stopper is a valve typically used on auto radiators that allows me to let air out of the tube in order to let the liquid seek the same level as inside the tank. It's been working for 3 years without a problem. The tank wall is relatively thin so I was worried that the elbow would not satisfactorily stay in place - that would have been a mess if it didn't work, but it did. I made sure the hole I made in the tank was small so that the fitting's threads would definitely make its own threads in the plastic. The installation certainly had a bit of pucker factor to it since if it didn't work, I would have had a big hole in the bottom of the tank and no way of plugging it! I'm not necessarily advocating this design, but it worked for me.

Would not this work for you now as well with maybe a longer tube or is the tank just totally inaccessible?
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Re: What's noticed when holding tank becomes full ?

Postby adventres on Fri Jul 07, 2017 10:59 am

With a family of four, we are constantly observing the waste tank. The indicators shows green and then yellow. We then search for a pumpout station. We have never seen the indicator go red. The other indicator is the sound it makes when flushing. The sound is deep flush, and it sounds like it is having a hard time flushing, must be getting close to yellow, but never does. We found we can do about 4 days before pumping out.
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Re: What's noticed when holding tank becomes full ?

Postby baz on Fri Jul 07, 2017 12:03 pm

My real concerns about the holding tank overflowing due to not being aware it had been approaching full capacity is

1) A messy/smelly situation has to be cleaned up if any holding tank contents has made its way to the bilge. :(

2) Any overflow from the holding tank via the vent to the outside sea water is considered unlawful. :( :o :roll: :evil:

3) On the new 2018 R-27 there's absolutely no way for viewing the holding tank without some major modification. I've discussed this issue with Andrew and at this time there's no solution for it during my R-27s assembly. :(

Andrew's thoughts were; 1) some form of flow meter in the line running to the holding tank that can accumulate data on how many gallons have passed by and for this to be reported/displayed somewhere and 2) open up some space above the step at the V-berth entrance such that the holding tank's level could be seen via shining a flashlight at the tank. The holding tank on the new R-27 is centrally located forward of the fresh water tank and the fuel tank under the cabin flooring. These 3 tanks are installed very early on and covered up with a starboard sheet as part of the stringer assembly that lays down onto the inner hull.

This unintended holding tank full situation is likely to be the very first thing I will be addressing after my R-27's delivery.

One thought would be to temporarily disconnect the raw water inlet to the toilet and then tee off the sink's fresh cold water line and run that to the toilet. This was a technique I used on my R-25 (Classic) when converting the marine head to an Tecmar ECO electric flush toilet to avoid having to install a separate pump to get raw water to the toilet for flushing. It does mean the fresh water pump's breaker has to be ON for toilet flushing. For the new R-27, the fresh water tank is 40 gallons and there's a level indicator for it on the cabin's port side wall just forward of the stove. So, given the holding tank's capacity is 30 gallons then when the fresh water tank's level is at 25% it's likely the holding tank is close to being full and needs to be pumped out. If the toilet had never been flushed and the fresh water level indicator displayed 25% there would be no harm in pumping out an empty holding tank. :o If the boat's fresh water had only be used for the toilet and the fresh water tank's level indicator displayed 25% then it would be that the holding tank was indeed full without question.

I will be discussing with Andrew if the factory can make this plumbing modification for me and to leave me with the option for reconnecting the raw water line to the toilet at a later date. I suspect the factory will object to this though.

We never use the boat's fresh water for drinking - a much discussed subject a few years ago on this forum. We do use the boat's fresh water for washing dishes and the odd shower only. We use bottled water for drinking, making tea/coffee and for cooking things.
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Re: What's noticed when holding tank becomes full ?

Postby stwendl on Fri Jul 07, 2017 12:32 pm

not sure if other models have inspection caps on their holding tank. Mine on my R27 has a cap that can be unscrewed and is about 3-4" in diameter. I would be easy to install some float switch in that cap and properly seal it as needed and have some alarm sounder connect to it that, when fluid levels reach 2" below the top, sounds some alert.

If you want to go fancy I am sure there are some optical or ultrasound sensors available that give you better details, short of floats that go all the height of the tank or electrostatic levels that are attached to the side of the tank, or whatever other technology is available suitable for your specific installation and access to the tank.
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Re: What's noticed when holding tank becomes full ?

Postby baz on Fri Jul 07, 2017 1:38 pm

One other thought that may take a bit more work and create a challenge for some....

The new 2018 R-27's electric flush is a new model (Brand Raritan) used by Ranger Tugs. It has an integral pump for drawing in water for flushing.

If the specs for this pump are known, and let's say it states 1 gallon per minute, then it should be relatively easy to keep track of how much water has been pumped.

If the button is held in for 30 secs then 1/2 gallon would be pumped. Thus after 60 such flushes the 30 gallon holding tank would be filled.

Going a step further a simple circuit board could be developed/made that would sense the amount of time the button had been held down and based on the pumps gallons/min number compute the gallons pumped and display this or simply use a LED level indicator display to reveal the level of the holding tank's contents.
Last edited by baz on Fri Jul 07, 2017 2:24 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Barry, Gill & (Jake Wire Hair Fox Terrier)
SOLD - 2010 R-25 LAXEY
Traded 2016 Ranger Gray R-21EC LAXEY to Ranger Tugs.
R-27/OB, LAXEY, Hull Midnight Blue
Edmonds, WA
baz
 
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