Author Topic: Automatic Propane Tank Changeover  (Read 5197 times)

Offline OldEdBrady

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  • Year: 1976
  • Make: Alfa
  • Model: Class C 03
  • Chassis: 10 ton frame
Automatic Propane Tank Changeover
« on: February 05, 2011, 12:22 PM »
In upgrading the "amenties" of my trailer during the winter, it was necessary to use the furnace a considerable amount of time.  The biggest problem I had was the propane tanks going empty.

First, I purchased larger tanks (30# rather than 20#).  But that didn't help a lot.  They STILL would go empty without warning.

Additionally, changing the tanks over wasn't hard, but not a lot of fun when the weather was well below freezing.

So I purchased a Marshall 254 autmatic changeover regulator.  Cost was $41.99.  While mounting bracket, etc., was readily available, the new regulator installed easily enough on the mount I already had (4 small screws).

That worked just fine.  Turn on both tanks, but have the control set to one or the other.  When the tank was empty, it automatically switched to the other tank.

However, how would I know when the frirst tank was empty?

There is an mechanical indicator on the regulator itself.  On uncovered tanks, it's easy emoughh to see.  When both tanks have propane, the indicator was green.  When the regulator switched over, the indicator was half green and half red.  If both were empty, the indicator was red.

However, in my setup, I have the tanks covered with a rigid plastic cover.  The cover was too high up on top to see the indicator, so it wasn't effective for me.

I perused the catalog of the local dealer and found there was an electronic indicator available for that particular regulator.  List price $37.79.  I purchased one.

Installation was extremely easy.  A clip is provided.  The small cap on the mechanical indicator is removed.  The clip is put in its place.  It has a small projection that fits in a small hole at the top of the indicator.  Just snap it in.

Then wiring.  Provided with the kit.

I ran the wiring down the hold-down post and fastened it there with electrical ties.  I drilled a small hole near the center of the propane tank tray and ran the wire through there.  Then I ran it along the other trailer wiring until I got to the spot where I wanted it to enter the trailer from underneath. 

I drilled a small hole through the trailer floor and ran the wire through that.  That hole is sealed with silicone to make it weatherproof against road dust, water, etc.

I mounted the indicator itself on the inside wall next to the door.  Then I clipped the wiring, since there was a lot more than I needed.

There is no positive/negative for the wiring, so you can't make a mistake of crossing the wires.  Just put 'em in.

Then two AA batteries. are inserted.  The instructions with this thing are very clear.  And, it tells you what to do to test that everything is in properly.

Ran the tests, seemed OK, so wait until a tank went empty to see whether it all worked.

Yesterday (2/4/2011), the little light on the indicator started flashing.  I went out, checked, and sure enough, the regulator had switched over.  I pulled the cover and removed the tank it had switched from, and it was totally empty.  It all worked!

Now.  The indicator I purchased was an older model.  Not outdated, just changed a bit.  When I got it, the guy at the RV store said that the newer ones come with the indicator box already connecte3d to the wire, so installation would be the reverse of the way I did it.  Mount the box, run the wire, and do whatever at the tank end last.  Other than that, there is no difference.

And I HIGHLY recommend this system for anyone running dual tanks.  It's a sure-fire way to not run completely out of propane when your 20 miles from the nearest dealer.

Offline ibdilbert01

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Re: Automatic Propane Tank Changeover
« Reply #1 on: February 05, 2011, 07:32 PM »
Hey Ed, that sounds like its extremely handy!   I have the same regulator as you but can't seem to find the electronic indicator kit, any chance you still have a model number or where you might have purchased it?
Constipated People Don't Give a crap!

Offline JDxeper

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Re: Automatic Propane Tank Changeover
« Reply #2 on: February 05, 2011, 07:55 PM »
Tumble Bug "Rollin in MO" (JD)

Offline OldEdBrady

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  • I own: a travel trailer
  • Year: 1976
  • Make: Alfa
  • Model: Class C 03
  • Chassis: 10 ton frame
Re: Automatic Propane Tank Changeover
« Reply #3 on: February 05, 2011, 10:44 PM »
That's an even better deal on the thing!   :)clap

Offline OldEdBrady

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  • Posts: 526
  • Doin' Nothin'
  • I own: a travel trailer
  • Year: 1976
  • Make: Alfa
  • Model: Class C 03
  • Chassis: 10 ton frame
Re: Automatic Propane Tank Changeover
« Reply #4 on: March 12, 2011, 10:36 AM »
Last information on the automatic changeover.

When the regulator changes, and the sensor light starts flashing, how do you turn it off without removing the batteries from the device?

Very simple.  Turn off the empty tank, and move the mechanical swtch to the tank that is still being used.  At that point, the sensor stops flashing, and won't turn on again until it does an automatic switch to the other tank (the one you now have to have filled).

One of the things I failed to mention is, with the regulator itself, it should be mounted vertically, with the mechnical indocator on top.  If you must mount it horizontally, there is a cover for the regulator that must be purchased.  In some stores, you can pruchase both the regulator and the cover as a single item.

 

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