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Questions to Consider When Choosing a Tank Monitor


February, 11 2009

Tank Monitoring Considerations

There are many options available for monitoring tank levels, from single-function meters to advanced multiple-function monitors. The demand for more sophisticated tank monitoring systems has grown along with the number of tanks and complex systems. Accurate measurement of tank levels is essential for safe boat operation. Below are some of the questions worth considering when choosing a tank monitoring system:

1. How many tanks will be monitored?

Using one meter per tank can work well if only one or two tanks will be monitored. However, one monitor for multiple tanks provides benefits in simplicity and sophistication over multiple meters of various sizes, shapes, configurations, and scales.

2. What fluids will be measured?

Many tank monitoring systems are designed to monitor one type of fluid. A monitor that can measure levels of potable water, grey water, black water, and fuel will reduce cost and save space over using individual meters for each tank.

3. Does the monitor have alarm functions?

A monitor with audible alarms enables the boater to enjoy boating while the monitor does the work of monitoring fluid levels, and will alert the boater to situations before they become problems. Adjustable alarms allow each boater to choose custom alarm limit values, rather than being constrained by the dictates of the monitor manufacturer.

4. Will the monitor work with existing senders?

Most boats likely already have one or more types of senders, so the monitor must be compatible with what is already on board. A monitor that is compatible with standard senders is easier to install and results in less overall expense than replacing senders already installed.

5. Does the monitor display tank capacity in units?

Most displays are either analog or a series of LEDs that show tank capacity in fractional increments of quarters or tenths of a tank. While this lack of definition might be acceptable when the capacity of the tank is known, it can be a problem on a boat with multiple tanks or on an unfamiliar boat. A monitoring system that indicates either percentage of capacity or units of measure remaining adds precision and peace of mind to tank monitoring.

6. Does the monitor have an easy method of calibrating tank volume?

Tanks come in a wide variety of shapes, making calibration difficult. A monitoring system that incorporates a straightforward auto-calibration procedure will save the installer and boater much time and aggravation.
With the increasingly complex systems on most boats today, knowing tank status is no longer a luxury. An advanced tank monitoring system, such as that found in the Blue Sea Systems Vessel Systems Monitor VSM 422, provides the boater with unprecedented accuracy and control of tank monitoring needs.

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