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Old 01-21-2020, 09:41 AM   #1
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Propane tanks

I am new to trailering and just bought a 2019 Jayco 332 RLOK. I have two propane tanks and want to know by the switch on the tanks, how do I know which tank itís using and does the gauge on front mean how much propane is left in the tank ? Thank you for your time
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Old 01-21-2020, 09:51 AM   #2
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Without a picture, I can't be sure, but you most likely have an auto-changeover pressure regulator.

There will be an arrow or pointer on the knob. That arrow points to the tank you are using. The "gauge" isn't really a gauge. It just tells you if the tank has propane or not. It will stay green until that tank runs out and, then, turn red. At that point, the auto-changeover regulator will start using propane from the other tank.

When I go camping, I open the valves on both tanks. I use one tank until the indicator shows red. I don't move the knob or switch until I have refilled the empty tank. So, basically, my switch is always pointing at the partially used tank with the full tank as back-up.

In warm months, I can go months on a single tank of propane. In the winter, the furnace can gobble up a tank in about 2 days if it's below freezing.

Hope that helps.
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Old 01-21-2020, 10:05 AM   #3
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Open both bottles (they should be that way anyway if you are using them). Close the bottle that has the switch over it. If the indicator stays green, it is on the other bottle. If it turns red, it is using the bottle you just turned off.

When camping, keep both bottles open. It should switch automatically from the empty bottle when the time comes.
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Old 01-21-2020, 10:18 AM   #4
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When camping, keep both bottles open. It should switch automatically from the empty bottle when the time comes.
But don't you risk ending up with TWO empty tanks that way, if you're not paying attention?
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Old 01-21-2020, 11:55 AM   #5
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But don't you risk ending up with TWO empty tanks that way, if you're not paying attention?
After so long using a rig you pretty much know how long you can go on a tank. I check periodically and if it is close I will manually flip to the fresh tank and take the near empty in for filling.

The whole idea of the automatic system is to flip it when one goes empty. If you leave one closed you may end up waking in the middle of the night with no furnace running and temps inside as cold as the outside. This is especially true in situations like an elk hunt when it is 15 F outside and you run a bottle empty at 2 AM with the other bottle closed.
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Old 01-21-2020, 06:05 PM   #6
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Unless you are cold weather camping the second bottle of propane will last quite a while. The benefit of the auto switch-over is that you won't have to worry about your refer if you are not on electric and you won't have to bleed the system if you run the first bottle out while the spare is shut off.
Keep track of how long your bottles last so you'll know when you have to worry. For me, a 30# bottle lasts about 45 days of use, most of which is boondocking, so I'm using propane for the refer and the hot water heater most of the time. You should be in the habit of checking inside your propane compartment somewhat regularly just for safety/maintenance reasons. The handle on the valve points toward the tank in use, when the indicator turns from green to red, the bottle the handle is pointing to is empty. Turn the valve to the other bottle and it will turn green unless that tank is already empty. You can disconnect the empty bottle to get it re-filled without having to turn off the other tank and with no interruption in propane supply to your appliances.
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Old 01-22-2020, 09:02 AM   #7
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But don't you risk ending up with TWO empty tanks that way, if you're not paying attention?
X2 Old RetiredOne. Too often I had to steal the Grills 20lb tank to make it through the cold dark night.

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Old 01-22-2020, 09:13 AM   #8
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But don't you risk ending up with TWO empty tanks that way, if you're not paying attention?
The simple solution is to just pay attention.

If you're using heat a lot, you should know you're going to burn through propane faster. In periods when the furnace runs a lot, you'll want to check your auto-changeover more frequently. Like maybe every day. Even in periods of extreme cold, a full tank should get you through enough time to get an empty bottle refilled.

Our TT had 2x30lb tanks, and I always utilized the auto-changeover. I would bring the rig home from storage, turn on the propane, then check the regulator a while later. If it's red, you flip it, and refill the empty tank. If it's not cold and you're not using a lot of propane, you can do it at your convenience (this was most often my case).

I ALWAYS ran with both tanks open and used the auto-changeover regulator as it was designed to be used. NEVER ran out of propane, not even once. And one time, I even found my regulator to be red and didn't know how long it had been that way. That time, I just flipped it and immediately removed and refilled the empty tank.

After a while, you get to know how much gas you use under various circumstances. And checking that regulator just became part of the routine.

I actually really miss that feature now that I'm in a MH. Having 2 large tanks with an automatic regulator was a REALLY nice feature.
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Old 01-22-2020, 09:13 AM   #9
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X2 Old RetiredOne. Too often I had to steal the Grills 20lb tank to make it through the cold dark night.

No offense but that item is on my mental checklist especially when it gets to the point that the furnace is running a lot. Part of dry camping/elk hunting in high country. You learn pretty quickly how long a tank will last, when to pull the one being used and get it filled. Running out with night temps in the teens is not an option.

Even when glamping at an RV park at 8000 feet, I know to periodically check my tanks. Furnace, fridge, stove use enough that at about a week and a half it is time to pull one and fill it.
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Old 01-22-2020, 09:21 AM   #10
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On my trailer, the indicator on the top of the tank is ambiguous at best. I've adopted the plan of only opening one tank at a time, and monitoring the open tank with the boiling water method.

Just once, on a 29 degree night, I woke up cold because of an empty tank. Was glad the second tank was full.

As others have noted, you develop a sense of the level in the tank.
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Old 01-22-2020, 09:49 AM   #11
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On my trailer, the indicator on the top of the tank is ambiguous at best. I've adopted the plan of only opening one tank at a time, and monitoring the open tank with the boiling water method.

Just once, on a 29 degree night, I woke up cold because of an empty tank. Was glad the second tank was full.

As others have noted, you develop a sense of the level in the tank.
That's the point I was trying to make. Yes, after time or when you're a veteran camper, you get a sense of how much you're using, and plan accordingly. My concern is telling a newbie it's a "set and forget" system. Open both bottles, and they'll switch over when needed. Then, you end up like DonandDonnas situation above.

We see many questions each day from people who really don't understand many of the systems in their rigs. I believe in the keep it simple principal.
I also believe in having a backup plan.

So, I think, if you run off of one bottle, and once it runs out, you manually switch over, it's a safe practice. Yes, you could run out in the middle of the night and get cold, but that's part of the learning curve in monitoring usage to get that feel or sense. Then, once you're experienced and develop a system in checking tank levels, you can run the dual open system.

I just think we sometimes we forget our expanded level of experience and ability, and give information based on those experienced levels, while forgetting a TON of newbies and virgin campers also read along here.....
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Old 01-22-2020, 11:04 AM   #12
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That's the point I was trying to make. Yes, after time or when you're a veteran camper, you get a sense of how much you're using, and plan accordingly. My concern is telling a newbie it's a "set and forget" system. Open both bottles, and they'll switch over when needed. Then, you end up like DonandDonnas situation above.

We see many questions each day from people who really don't understand many of the systems in their rigs. I believe in the keep it simple principal.
I also believe in having a backup plan.

So, I think, if you run off of one bottle, and once it runs out, you manually switch over, it's a safe practice. Yes, you could run out in the middle of the night and get cold, but that's part of the learning curve in monitoring usage to get that feel or sense. Then, once you're experienced and develop a system in checking tank levels, you can run the dual open system.

I just think we sometimes we forget our expanded level of experience and ability, and give information based on those experienced levels, while forgetting a TON of newbies and virgin campers also read along here.....
I agree with the idea that telling anyone this is a "set it and forget it" system is erroneous at best. Just like most things in this hobby, there is a bit of a learning curve, and even after you've learned, there is hardly anything that doesn't need to be checked on some kind of schedule.

And I agree that at the outset we should not recommend a faulty procedure.

The appropriate procedure for a dual tank system with an automatic changeover regulator should be: run with both tank valves open, when the regulator turns red, flip the valve and refill the empty tank. Open the inspection port and view the regulator every day if using lots of propane, or as often as you deem necessary once you've learned roughly how much gas you use under different circumstances. Pretty simple, and I never even have to get out of my cozy bed at 2 am. And just like SO MANY other things, if you fail to properly implement this procedure, you could wake up cold with no gas.

Even if you're running only 20 lb tanks, there should be enough time after you observe a red changeover indicator to refill that tank before you run out of juice. BTW, NEVER use tank exchanges if you can avoid them; you don't get a full tank, and they're expensive. MUCH better to find a propane supply outlet and have your tanks filled.

A faulty procedure (IMHO) is to run with only one tank valve open until that tank runs dry, then manually flip the regulator and open the full tank (this ALWAYS seems to happen in the middle of the night, doesn't it?) This is not how the system was designed to be used.

If you feel "safer" doing it manually and defeating the technology that was created to make life better, by all means, go for it. But why do that? You then have to learn a NEW procedure later. Why not just start out doing it the most efficient way? Perhaps you're a forgetful person, and you don't trust yourself to monitor the regulator? I guess that could be a good enough reason...

And just to be clear, the "gauge" on an auto changeover regulator is not a gauge at all, it's an on/off switch. Green means gas, red means no gas. That's different than the tank on my motorhome which tries to use an actual fuel level gauge. I don't trust that one at all at this point because it hasn't had time to earn my trust.
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Old 01-22-2020, 11:33 AM   #13
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My KISS process is a "check list". Teach new RVers that a check list is their friend and they do not have to try to remember this long list of things to do and survey. Check list for setup-hookup, check list for take-down and departure. In that list is a memo to periodically check, water, tanks, fuel(generator) and propane among other items.

If closing one tank works for you good on you. I prefer to use the technology. What ever floats your boat.

Don't taxi until all items on the check list have been checked and verified and certainly don't start take-off roll until the last item is cleared Makes for a safer trip.
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Old 01-22-2020, 01:00 PM   #14
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As others said, you mostlikely have an auto change over valve. IF both tanks are open it will consume from the tank the arrow is pointing at first, then the color switches from green to red, and will consume from the second tank, if that valve is open.

I never have both valves open unless I think the primary tank is running low, and the weather is questionable. I just would rather be reminded I am down to 50% full load. I have ran out mid dinner, it was just a minute or so inconvenience. But never at night, as I have opened the valve, because I thought I might be low.

At the end of the season, I fill all my propane tanks (including any grill tanks for at home). This way I always start off the season with two full tanks. We can go through a full season usually on a single tank. Hence, I usually only start to be concerned in the fall.
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Old 02-08-2020, 02:15 PM   #15
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I'm living in my 2018 264BHW with the Baja package while I'm remodeling a barn into a home. I keep a close eye on my tank statuses but keep one tank valve off instead of both on.

Initially I had a leaking regulator when I first purchased the TT. Propane went quickly and with both valve on ended up with two empty tanks. I've since replaced the regulator and am running fine but still only go with one valve open.

True sometimes the tank goes empty in the middle of the night and I have to pop out and switch over manually which is no big deal to me and I never run out of gas.
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Old 02-08-2020, 02:51 PM   #16
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I have the changeover system but don’t use it. My camping is from March to November which has some cold nights. I prefer to abuse myself and switch over manually and immediately fill the empty tank. I fill up about three times during the season. I had a couple of friends use the auto switch and ran completely out as they forgot to check periodically. I would rather “abuse’ myself...lol
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Old 02-08-2020, 03:05 PM   #17
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I'm a one on one off person with a red, green, yellow system to know which tank I'm currently using. I also close the valve while in storage. I don't mind the extra work. And yes I have had to get out in the middle of the night. Thankfully I knew one tank was full.

I don't won't to have to keep a mental note about propane. A true technology answer would be a notification on my phone to fill the tank. I don't have that yet, so I'll go old school.
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Old 02-08-2020, 04:15 PM   #18
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LP tanks.. you could get a monitor.

I tend to fall for techy things, and love the Mopeka (AP products) tank monitors. They are very accurate, and I can see my tank levels via bluetooth on my phone on their app. I did have to fiddle with the sensors quite a bunch to get them to read, but amazingly even with thousands of miles of bumpy roads.. they would then still send and read accurately.
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Old 02-08-2020, 04:31 PM   #19
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Hmm, the last I looked at that it was getting poor reviews. I'll check it out again. Thank you
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Old 02-08-2020, 09:43 PM   #20
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I learned this the hard way : Be sure and have on hand in tool box a manuel regulator set for your propane tanks! My new Jayflite's auto change regulator started leaking around the face seal, I could detect a faint smell of propane when I walked around the front of the trailer. I checked all the lines, tanks and regulator with soapy water and still could not find the culprit. Finally observed the fumes escaping from the regulator on a sunny day but not until the tanks were almost empty, on a holiday weekend! Keep a tank weighing scale and weigh your tanks when getting them refilled! I caught a vendor charging for 20 lbs but only dispensing 14 lbs ! The tanks at the big box retailers only have 14-15 lbs in them!
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