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Old 10-09-2017, 10:12 AM   #1
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Black tank packets or liquid?

Has anyone had problems with the drop-in tank treatment packets fouling up their sensors? I've had sensor issues since I got my camper. The first problem is right after hooking up for a new campout, I put a gallon or two of water in the tank, drop in the packet, and notice that the tank already reads 2/3 full ... when that's simply not possible. The second problem is that when we get ready to leave, I empty the tank and flush with another gallon or two of water, but can only sometimes get it to read empty. Most of the time it still reads 1/3 full. I can usually get it to read empty after I get home and put 2-3 more gallons in the tank and dump again.

On our campout this weekend, it was only me and my son, and NO toilet paper went into the toilet because I wanted to try an experiment. It still read 2/3 full right after I set up, but I was able to get it to read empty after dumping and flushing with an additional gallon of water. So, I'm starting to wonder if it's the packets I'm using that are at least causing the problem when I first set up. I initially used the Camco orange ones, but for this campout I switched to the Thetford blue packets. They didn't seem to do anything different. Should I switch to the liquid?
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Old 10-09-2017, 10:19 AM   #2
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Many people lose a lot of time trying to figure out those sensors. You will never get them to be accurate. I quit worrying about it years ago. Use it and dump the black tank every week or so for 2 people.

You can spend more $$$ and get some that are accurate, Google sea level sensors , there are several others that are accurate. The oe ones are generally useless except for the fresh water tank.
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Old 10-09-2017, 10:22 AM   #3
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Many people lose a lot of time trying to figure out those sensors. You will never get them to be accurate. I quit worrying about it years ago. Use it and dump the black tank every week or so for 2 people.

You can spend more $$$ and get some that are accurate, Google sea level sensors , there are several others that are accurate. The oe ones are generally useless except for the fresh water tank.
Okay. I know more or less how much we can get away with, so it's not the biggest deal. It's just frustrating.
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Old 10-09-2017, 10:48 AM   #4
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Norty is right, you can spend a lot of time flushing and attempting to clean the tanks with a variety of treatments but it likely won't help for long if at all. I'm on my third motorhome and all were temperamental as you describe. The first two units I accepted the shortcoming while I had them, but I hope to keep my Seneca for a while, so I wanted something better. Especially since we travel frequently now with grandkids and other pre-teen family members. Conservation of water and tank space is not in their makeup!

So I installed the SeeLevel sensor system Norty referred to and am very happy. Not a project for the faint-hearted, you may have to disassemble parts of your unit to access the tanks to install the (new) sensors that read the liquid level through the tank wall. But they work great, and you can even option a display with programmable level alarms so you will be alerted when the rise (black and grey) or fall (fresh water and propane) to certain levels. And the SeeLevel system reads out in % from 0 to 100, so you get a more definitive idea of what you have compared to the original E - 1/3 - 2/3 - F. I even optioned my display with Blutooth, I don't even have to look at my panel anymore, I can just look at my phone! Overkill? Yes! But it is the way I tend to operate!
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Old 10-09-2017, 10:56 AM   #5
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So I installed the SeeLevel sensor system Norty referred to and am very happy. Not a project for the faint-hearted, you may have to disassemble parts of your unit to access the tanks to install the (new) sensors that read the liquid level through the tank wall. But they work great, and you can even option a display with programmable level alarms so you will be alerted when the rise (black and grey) or fall (fresh water and propane) to certain levels. And the SeeLevel system reads out in % from 0 to 100, so you get a more definitive idea of what you have compared to the original E - 1/3 - 2/3 - F. I even optioned my display with Blutooth, I don't even have to look at my panel anymore, I can just look at my phone! Overkill? Yes! But it is the way I tend to operate!
Wow ... that IS overkill, but it's a system I'd love to have!
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Old 10-09-2017, 11:08 AM   #6
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I used the packets in the beginning, but quickly discovered that the "membrane" that makes it a "packet" is quite fragile. I went to grab a packet out of the bag one day and they had all completely dissolved, leaving me with a large bag of powder.

Now I just use the "concentrated" liquid. I buy the bigger bottle because it's significantly cheaper than the little single-use ones.

I tried the "GEO" method (made up my own recipe based on several different methods), but quickly tired of having to keep up with it. That said, it did work very well.

Also, don't use softener AND OTC tank chems together; the tank chems turn the softener to something with a cottage cheese consistency.

And I use LOTS of water when I'm flushing my tank. I still don't trust the sensors though. I know when the black tank is full from experience, and I know how long we can typically go before we need to dump. If we're trying to conserve, I'll often put gray water into the black tank and use less "fresh" when we flush "solids". We can typically get a solid weekend out of one 32 gal black tank (that's what our trailer has) without conservation, more like 5 or more days if we're being careful (never had to go longer than 5 days without dumping, so I don't really know for sure how long we could go).
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Old 10-09-2017, 11:42 AM   #7
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I used the packets in the beginning, but quickly discovered that the "membrane" that makes it a "packet" is quite fragile. I went to grab a packet out of the bag one day and they had all completely dissolved, leaving me with a large bag of powder.
Yup ... that's happened to me.
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Old 10-09-2017, 12:50 PM   #8
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I use the dometic 3n1(digest,deodorize,bowl cleaner) lavender packets for 3 years now. I've never had a problem. A couple of the things that I do.
1) make sure the tank is full before emptying. Emptying a half full tank fill not have enough pressure to dump the tank properly
2) use the built in black flush (or a flush wand) every time you dump and let it run for a good 10 minutes (valve open). Once dumped, I add 3 to 4 full toilet bowls of water to the empty tank. I let the packets dissolve in the toilet before flushing into the tank. The dissolved packet acts as a toilet bowl cleaner, hence the 3n1 name.
3) on occasion I'll fill the tank with rinse water and dump it again.

My BT meter has been accurate since new.
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Old 10-09-2017, 01:24 PM   #9
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I use the dometic 3n1(digest,deodorize,bowl cleaner) lavender packets for 3 years now. I've never had a problem. A couple of the things that I do.
1) make sure the tank is full before emptying. Emptying a half full tank fill not have enough pressure to dump the tank properly
2) use the built in black flush (or a flush wand) every time you dump and let it run for a good 10 minutes (valve open). Once dumped, I add 3 to 4 full toilet bowls of water to the empty tank. I let the packets dissolve in the toilet before flushing into the tank. The dissolved packet acts as a toilet bowl cleaner, hence the 3n1 name.
3) on occasion I'll fill the tank with rinse water and dump it again.

My BT meter has been accurate since new.
No offense, but that seems like a LOT of water that's being used.
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Old 10-09-2017, 01:41 PM   #10
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No offense, but that seems like a LOT of water that's being used.
I agree in that a fill/rinse will use 20/30 gal, and that IS a lot of water, but I don't do that every time. probably 2 to 3 times a season. I'm not sure that the spray from the BT flush uses that much. I'd estimate the same as the average person uses taking a shower. I'll use a bit more water (non drought times of course) if it prevents a pyramid on the bottom of my tank and it keeps my meters accurate.
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