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Propane level monitoring with RD3 hall-effect sensor

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  • #16
    "but I would be very careful about any type of switch or relay in the vicinity of the tank, especially under the cap. Note that the Robertshaw transmitter is rated "intrinsically" safe whatever that means."

    http://www.engineeringtoolbox.com/ha...ion-d_345.html

    The electrical classification of a propane tank would probably be Class 1 Div 2 which indicates that hydrocarbon vapor could be present in abnormal situations e.g. a leak during filling.

    In this classification, intrinsically safe equipment is required.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intrinsic_safety

    Safety of design cannot be stressed enough when it comes to dealing with hydrocarbons, especially when vapor can exist.

    I ran across this use of load cells for a large propane tank (I have been considering a similar problem for a 275 gallon heating oil tank in the basement)

    http://www.propanecouncil.org/uploadedFiles/11722.pdf

    While they were not happy with the cost effectiveness of their result, the concept of using a load cell is appealing. For a fill/no fill decision I would think a single load cell would be sufficient. Mounting such a device in an as-built situation may be an issue however.

    Mark

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    • #17
      Implemented RobertShaw Propane Monitor script

      After coming up to our house twice this winter to find the Propane had run out. (The Propane company Degree Days routine doesn't work well with intermittent house usage), I went ahead and got the setup mentioned in the post above (http://forums.homeseer.com/showpost.php?p=901785&postcount=13)

      It is working fine and I called our Propane company and set up an arrangement for me to email their Operations desk when the level gets low. They were quite happy to work with me and really wanted to avoid Propane Out situations.

      I had to sign an NDA with RobertShaw so I can't post the code, but would share it with anyone that shows me their NDA.

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      • #18
        Monitoring Propane Tank Levels via PC

        I stumbled upon this thread... Perhaps a solution I came up with can help some of you.

        My underground 500g propane tank had a sensor ready gauge on it.
        I installed a R3D Hall Effect module (sensor) on the gauge.
        I had buried a 1.5" plastic conduit from the tank into my home anticipating remote monitoring and not trusting wireless technology for it.
        Tank is 125' from the house.
        I ran normal Cat-5 in the conduit - connecting the three leads of the Hall Effect module - use two pairs to deal with common mode rejection and insure a stable signal 125' away.
        Inside the house I have a "monitoring" PC that captures data from a bunch of temperature sensors, wind and solar power sensors.
        There is also a USB analog/digital I/O device on this PC keeping track of various things.
        Wrote a simple C++ program that sends +5V to the tank sensor for a few seconds via a digital output - while reading the output voltage of the sensor on an analog input. Using the voltage to level table provided by the R3D, I get a very accurate and very reliable reading of the tank level into my PC. Has never failed - is completely immune to weather.

        Results are here for me (or anyone) to see from anywhere at anytime: http://NovaBarnTemps.selfip.com updated every minute.
        Same program will send me eMail when anything needs attention - including the need for a tank refill (triggered at 30% full).

        I'm sure HomeSeer could use that same technology...

        Good luck - have fun!
        Gene

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        • #19
          Monitoring Propane Tanks via Web based controller

          Does anyone have any updates to monitoring propane tanks?

          I was going to use an X320 Controlbyweb device to monitor the Rochester Hall effect dial. However getting a hold of the Hall-Effect module is very difficult. The dial is easy to obtain, but it seems Rochester Gauges has a relationship with Robert Shaw and keeps hose modules in tight control. Crazy business model in my eyes...

          Where can you obtain the hall-effect module and which one did you use?
          Rochester makes them, but I also believe Taylor manufactures them also.

          I have a similar setup, a 500 gal propane tank with a CatV wire run underground and am looking to monitor the tank levels without paying through some continuing service model based systems like Centeron.

          Thanks, Rob

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          • #20
            Referring to my post above (http://board.homeseer.com/showpost.p...2&postcount=17), the equipment was purchased and there are no recurring costs.

            Equipment I purchased:
            RPS000T, list pice $283.37
            SIC86640, list price $123.17
            GSDJR0HAE00, list price $7.28

            Purchased from bergquistinc.com [No relationship]

            It has been working fine - notified propane company by email twice last year that tank needed filling.

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            • #21
              Originally posted by RBergquist View Post
              It has been working fine - notified propane company by email twice last year that tank needed filling.
              Old thread I know. Wondering how it has been doing over this much time?

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              • #22
                Originally posted by WalkGood View Post
                Old thread I know. Wondering how it has been doing over this much time?
                Still continues to work for me. Early winter it sent out a warning to to the Propane company and they filled my tank shortly after that. When I have a number of guests for a period of time, the degree days algorithm they use for refills breaks down and they get a message. We're both happy with the solution. The cost of the components was well worth not hearing complaints from the family of being out of propane....

                I suggest working with your propane company on what the correct levels are to send out alerts. (Once they received the first notice and the tank reading matched the message, they've never questioned it.)

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                • #23
                  It is great to hear, that it is still working well. Has a high "kewl" factor.

                  I'm considering a slightly less automated reporting configuration. More intetested in the monitoring features of the tank level, and making the level visual. Then manually calling the propane supplier if level is low (~20%), to find out if delivery is scheduled for the next few days. If not then alerting them to deliver in the next day or two at most. Been finding that the suppliers algorithm is OFF this year for auto delivery. Tanks got very low but delivery scheduled for more than a week in future.

                  There is a gizmo available that is plug n play with "remote ready" gauges. But it just has LED lights in 20% increments of tank level.

                  http://fuelminder.biz/will%20call%20...20monitor.html

                  I'd rather see smaller incremental decreases. Jumping from 40% to 20% indicators a day before a blizzard would be nerve racking. This would be for a 79 yr old widow who doesn't turn on her computer very often. So something more standalone is required.

                  Thanks for the reply.

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                  • #24
                    Originally posted by ENovacek View Post
                    I stumbled upon this thread... Perhaps a solution I came up with can help some of you.
                    .
                    .
                    .
                    Results are here for me (or anyone) to see from anywhere at anytime: http://NovaBarnTemps.selfip.com
                    Gene
                    Gene

                    Wondering how this is performing for you after a few years? The selfip.com link doesn't work at this time, have u relocated? I am very interested in your setup & code if you are willing to share it.

                    Thanks!

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                    • #25
                      I don't know if anyone is still watching this page, but if so I have this working with an Arduino Uno Wifi Rev. 2 and the hall effect sensor for my Rochester Gauge which I purchased at ebay for $50. Basically you just go to the page and the code powers up the hall effect (+5v), takes 10 voltage readings and averages them and replies with the propane tank level percentage. Happy to provide code or advice.

                      One down side of this method is that it is pull rather than push. You have to go to the page to get the reading. I'm perfectly happy with this except for the fact that it makes it difficult to run this off of a battery. A push implementation would allow the Arduino to power up on a timer, and post the data to a server somewhere and then shut down.

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                      • #26
                        I am not sure how you have this configured. You said "you just go to the page". What page are you referring to. Is the page on the arduino? I would be very interested in seeing your code for this.

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                        • #27
                          This seems like a good application for trigboard which is a very low power device. It does push, but I think intended for smartphone to receive the notification. I have one to play with, but have not taken it out of the package yet.

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                          • #28
                            Originally posted by pivot.enabled View Post
                            ... Happy to provide code or advice.
                            It would be great to learn more about what you did and see the code.

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