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Author Topic:   Fuel Tank Level Sensor with Electrical and Mechanical Indicator
Dan posted 01-28-2009 01:20 PM ET (US)   Profile for Dan   Send Email to Dan  
I'm replacing my gas tank on 18 Outrage and need advice. Is there a combination sender -- I want to have a sight gauge that can also be connected to a gauge mounted on console.
Tom W Clark posted 01-28-2009 02:58 PM ET (US)     Profile for Tom W Clark  Send Email to Tom W Clark     
Not that I am aware of. You can use the gauge location on the tank for one type of sender or the other.

If you really want to keep track of the level of fuel in your tank with precision, consider a fuel flow meter with a totalizer. These instruments can be remarkably accurate.

95Outrage17 posted 01-28-2009 05:46 PM ET (US)     Profile for 95Outrage17  Send Email to 95Outrage17     

The sending unit in my 1995 Outrage 17 is a gauge as well as a sender for my factory console mounted gauge. I'm assuming the sender is factory as well as I can't see why it would have been replaced. I'm not sure what the brand is. Some friends of mine have a 1991 Outrage 17 and it's tank sender is not a gauge as well. I do find the sender gauge more accurate then the console gauge.

- Chris

Dan posted 01-28-2009 06:57 PM ET (US)     Profile for Dan  Send Email to Dan     
I guess I'm expressing wrong. I like the round dial sight gauge under the clear Becksen inspection plate. I want to have this in the new tank. Evidently, most tanks come with a sender. I asked the place that will make the new tank, if they can re-use my old gauge, and they told me there are combination gauges. I assume this is a gauge like the one I have with a sender that can me attached to second gauge on the console. I figured this would be good because I could have the vintage look, as well as redundancy. I was hoping someone might have a link to a combo sender/sight gauge.
jimh posted 01-28-2009 08:14 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
A "sight gauge" means a fuel level indicator that lets you see into the tank, literally.

I don't know of any tank level gauge that can be remotely mounted except electrically operated ones. Electrically operated fuel tank level meters are controlled by a remote fuel level sensor.

If you want a fuel tank level gauge like the ones used in a classic Boston Whaler, which is a mechanical fuel tank level gauge, see the sources in:

Rochester sells a mechanical level indicator that simultaneously operates an electrical level sender; they call it "Twin-Site."

pglein posted 01-29-2009 05:53 PM ET (US)     Profile for pglein  Send Email to pglein     

The Tank Tender product provides super-accurate tank soundings without the use of electricity or electrical components of any kind.

A sending unit that incorporates a tank-mounted mechanical gauge wouldn't really offer much in the way of redundancy, since it would, presumably, have just one float. Although it would offer a backup in the even that the remote gauge itself failed, or the wiring was severed, it would provide no additional functionality in the event that the float was damaged or stuck.

PHILRAJOTTE posted 02-01-2009 12:44 PM ET (US)     Profile for PHILRAJOTTE  Send Email to PHILRAJOTTE     
Tom W Clark posted 02-01-2009 03:45 PM ET (US)     Profile for Tom W Clark  Send Email to Tom W Clark     
Jim mentions the Rochester TwinSite gauge indicator that is both a mechanical site gauge and an electronic sender. This is a clever device and one I have not seen or heard of before.

However, it does not seem it would work in a Whaler.

The Rochester gauge in the Whalers depend on having their dial faces pressed tight against the underside of the clear deck plate in the floor so you can read the gauge even if there is condensation on the underside (as there usually is).

With the TwinSite gauge/sender, the electrical connection protrudes forward from the face of the dial which means it would not fit under the floor of a Whaler.

95Outrage17 posted 02-01-2009 04:25 PM ET (US)     Profile for 95Outrage17  Send Email to 95Outrage17     
That looks just like the one in my Outrage 17 except that the plug on mine does not face up. I'll try to remember to take a picture.

- Chris

jimh posted 02-01-2009 06:47 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
Tom--The catalogue page you linked is for a product that also contains a switch mechanism. I think there are other TwinSite products without the switch that have a lower profile. I'll leave further exploration of this option to those interested. For my purposes, the mechanical tank level indicator of the classic Boston Whaler boat provides excellent information about the level of fuel in the tank.

With electronic fuel flow sensors available now, and in conjunction with modern electronic instruments, it is possible to track the fuel flow from a tank and compute a deduced fuel tank level. Instruments such as the FLO-SCAN, the NAVMAN 3100 FUEL INSTRUMENT, and others can provide a computed tank level that can be quite accurate.

If a direct indicating electrical remote tank level indicator is desired, I would suggest considering the CENTROID electrical fuel tank level sensor. I mentioned this product some time ago in an article in SMALL BOAT ELECTRICAL:

Fuel Gauge Sender: Electrical

This device can be used in conjunction with conventional gauges that consist of just simple milliammeters and rheostat circuits.

95Outrage17 posted 02-01-2009 07:20 PM ET (US)     Profile for 95Outrage17  Send Email to 95Outrage17     
Here's a picture of the sending unit in my 1995 Outrage 17.

- Chris

Tom W Clark posted 02-01-2009 07:29 PM ET (US)     Profile for Tom W Clark  Send Email to Tom W Clark     

The dial is behind the electrical connection. There is no way for the dial face to press up against the deck plate so it is easy to read.

I agree with Jim of about the reliability and usefulness of the mechanical gauge. They are excellent.

I also agree with his assessment of the accuracy of electronic fuel flow meters.

I have a FloScan fuel flow meter in my Revenge. I filled my 140 gallon gas tank last month when gas prices had bottomed out. My FloScan totalizer said I had burned 131.8 gallons of gas since the last fill-up.

The fuel pump tripped off at 131.65 gallons. I love my FloScan!

95Outrage17 posted 02-01-2009 07:55 PM ET (US)     Profile for 95Outrage17  Send Email to 95Outrage17     
Hi Tom,

Yes, that's true. It's quite different then the original in an Outrage 18. I just wanted to show that some of the classic Outrages did come with a dual function fuel gauge/sending unit. My boat does not have a see through deck plate over the sending unit. I was surprised the first time I discovered the sending unit was also a gauge even though it couldn't be seen without removing the deck plate. Anyway, you're right, the sending unit in my Outrage 17 would not fit flush against the deck plate in a classic Outrage 18. I didn't notice that the gauges in those boats actually pressed against the deck plate.

- Chris

Dan posted 02-01-2009 09:06 PM ET (US)     Profile for Dan  Send Email to Dan     
Well, it turns out there was a combination sender that offered a mechanical, and electrical solution. But it would have been more expensive. I decided to go with the electrical. I hadn't considered the problem with having the mechanical gauge being close to inspection plate. So I guess it's best I went the route I did.

Also, the new tank will be epoxy coated. As it turned out, the older tank was a lot better than I could have guessed or known, and would have been good for a long time to come. What persuaded me to make the change was Florida Marine's position that the tank's life was 15-20 years, and that I was rewiring, replacing all fuel lines, and changing control cables, and decided it would be easier to change the tank at this time. And I plan on making this the last boat I own. We'll see.

jimh posted 02-01-2009 09:09 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
Could we have some information about the combination mechanical and electrical fuel tank level indicator? Who was the manufacturer? What was the model information? How much was it?
Dan posted 02-01-2009 10:18 PM ET (US)     Profile for Dan  Send Email to Dan     
The price was about $160 it required a second item to interpret/convert the mechanical reading. Sorry I don't have more info. The guy making the tank showed me a catalog, and I didn't write any info down because it was an on the spot decision. It just seemed more complicated.

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