Add SeeLevel Tank Status to eRVin
Already have a Garnet SeeLevel system aboard your rig? If you are using eRVin it’s a fairly simple matter to add tank level status for the Fresh, Gray and Black tanks to the eRVin dashboard. This requires replacing your current SeeLevel monitor panel with an RV-C version. The existing SeeLevel sensors and wiring remain as is so it’s a fairly straightforward swap. Cost is about $210 all in. The new monitor also comes with a hardwired alarm output should you be interested in adding additional redundancy in the form of a 12 volt buzzer or siren.
With eRVin you will be able to view your tank levels from anywhere and the eRVin notification system can be configured to send you a text and/or email when % level thresholds that you choose are exceeded. The notification trigger can either be for increasing or decreasing % levels. For example, you can have a notification sent when the Gray tank level increases to 85% or more and when the Fresh tank level decreases to 20% or less.
- Replacement Monitor Panel – For most Entegra coaches the correct part is 709-RVC-PM, this version does not have the LPG button but does have the pump switch. There are two other RV-C models currently available, 709-RVC-MO (has LPG button and no pump switch) and 709-RVC-NLP (has no LPG button and no pump switch). One of those may be a better match for other brand/model rigs. If you have an older Entegra that requires the LPG button you can probably use 709-RVC-MO and mount your pump switch separately.
- Mini-Clamp II Series 371 Plugs (Qty 2) – 3M 37104-A165-00E. These are the connectors Firefly/Spyder uses for all of their drop cable connections. Easily crimps with a pair of pliers. Available from many sources including Firefly Integrations in Middlebury, IN. Digi-Key is another supplier that offers reasonably priced USPS first class shipping for small quantity lightweight items like this. I suggest ordering extra of these for future projects – or – in case you make a wiring mistake. Once crimped I do not believe they can be reused (although I never tried to resurrect one). See this post for instructions on crimping these connectors.
- 4 Conductor 20-24 Gauge Drop Cable (Qty ~ 2ft) – ideally you will want to use genuine RV-C drop cable. This is a 2 twisted pair cable (4 wires) with 24 gauge stranded conductors. The official conductor color coding is Red (+12), Black (Gnd), Blue (CAN-L), White (CAN-H). The only source I know of at the moment is Firefly Integrations in Middlebury, IN. Tell them you want RV-C drop cable. Last time I bought cable from them (circa 2016) it was $0.26/ft. Again, I would buy extra for future projects. CAT5 or CAT6 network cable is an acceptable substitute for short lengths of cable. CATx is 4 pair (8 wires) so just cut off the two unused pairs. Just make sure it is stranded (not solid) and between 20 and 24 gauge to be compatible with the 3M Mini Clamp plugs.
- Wire cutter/stripper
- Pliers – slip joint or channel lock style works best
- Screwdriver with #2 square drive bit
- Connector terminal pin remover. Here’s one similar to the one that worked for me.
Pre Installation Notes:
- Despite what Garnet told me, the new 709-RVC SeeLevel panel wiring is NOT a direct wire swap with your old 709 SeeLevel panel and the Entegra wiring harness pins need to be rearranged slightly. This is why the pin remover tool is needed.
- For Entegra’s, the G5 or G6 panel and the SeeLevel gauge are usually mounted in the same cabinet. This makes the wiring for this project simple, however we do recommend cutting the 12 volt power while you are working behind the Gx panel just to be on the safe side. You can do this via the “Salesman Switch”.
- For Entegra’s, the pump switch that comes on the new 709-RVC SeeLevel panel is a momentary version, so you will need to remove the pump switch from the old SeeLevel panel (which is not momentary) and swap it with the new one. This is a simple job, the connectors are slip on and the switch just has clips holding it in place.
- Again, despite assurances from Garnet that there would be no bad behavior between the new 709-RVC monitor and the old style monitor in the wet bay, well, it just isn’t entirely true. It’s not a showstopper by any means but there is indeed a conflict that I have observed. However, it is only present when the wet bay monitor is active and it is only mildly disruptive. Here’s what happens; when the wet bay monitor is active it can cause the 709-RVC monitor readings to be incorrect, often I have seen all tanks read 100% for a brief period of time. Conversely, the wet bay monitor will regularly flash an OPN or other message – I’m guessing this is when the 709-RVC monitor is actively taking a tank reading, probably every couple of seconds. Again, not a showstopper but be aware you may see some odd behavior when both monitors are active. Here’s a short video of the wet bay monitor behavior:
- eRVin requires no new programming and once the new panel is installed, within a few seconds you will begin seeing tank levels reported on the Status tab. If you have a home grown system you will need to add the appropriate flows in Node-Red to send the tank level status to the dashboard.
- If you install a hardwired alarm, that will need to be programmed within the SeeLevel monitor itself, see the manual for instructions.
- Remove the four screws from the factory 709 SeeLevel monitor and gently pull it out, there should be enough slack in the wiring to bring it out to a comfortable working level.
- On the back of the SeeLevel 709 you should see a 6 pin connector with 4 wires installed in it, plus 3 wires that go to the pump switch. Take a photo of everything for reference and remove the connector as well as all the wires from the switch (they are quick disconnects and should just pull off).
- Next we need to move some of the wires on the 6 pin connector. The photo below shows what the wires should look like after they are repositioned for the new RV-C SeeLevel monitor. I’ve numbered the pins in the photo for reference and circled the three wires that were moved. Below the photo is a reference chart describing the old vs new wire layout. The factory wiring should have wires on pins 1, 3, 4 & 5 with pins 2 and 6 empty. If you have something different than that, stop and send me a note with a photo before proceeding. Use your pin removal tool to release the wires in positions 3, 4 and 5. They are going to shift over 1 pin but stay in sequential order. The wire on pin 3 goes to 2, 4 goes to 3 and 5 goes to 4 and it should look like the photo below when you are done.
Entegra Factory Connector:
1 rrrrr : pump LED
2 : <empty>
3 rrrr : DC +12
4 ck: DC neg
5 b : sender
6 : <empty>
Connector re-pinned for 709 RVC:
1 rrrrr : pump LED
2 rrrr : DC +12
3 ck: DC neg
4 b : sender
5 : <empty>
6 oran ge: alarm output
- If you are also going to connect a hardwired alarm, un-pin the orange wire from the connector that came with your 709-RVC and install it to pin 6 of the coach harness.
- In case your wires are colored differently the photo below should help you sort out where everything is supposed to go relative to the wiring harness connectors.
- Now assuming the pump switch on the new 709-RVC has a momentary switch like mine did, remove the switch from the new unit and swap it with the non-momentary switch from your old panel. The switch has slightly springy plastic clips on the ends that need to be compressed to get the switch to unmount.
- Next you need to make a short RV-C cable to reach from the back of the See Level to the back of the G6/G5 Panel. The connections are wired in a “straight thru” manner, that is, the color coding of the wires to the connector pins on each end is identical. If you are using Cat 5/6 cable it doesn’t matter what colors go to what pin, just make sure both ends are the same. I have a separate post with basic instructions for crimping the connectors here.
- The G6 (and I believe the G5) have several RV-C drop cable ports on the back. On my G6 these were located in the upper left corner (as you face the G6) as shown in the photo above and below. Mine had several empty drop cable slots. It makes no difference which slot you use. The green cables in this photo are drop cables that go to the wall switches, the orange cable is the one just installed for the 709-RVC. Note in the lower left corner of the photo is a 120 ohm termination resistor plugged into one of the free drop cable ports, there are two – and only two – of these in every system, one at each end of the primary trunk cable. I think the fat blue cable in the photo may be the trunk cable.
- Now you are ready to plug everything back together. But first double check all your wiring! Plug the 6 pin wiring harness into the back of the new 709-RVC. Reconnect the pump switch wires in the same order as they were on the original 709 panel. Plug one end of the RV-C cable into the back of the 709-RVC and plug the other end into one of the free drop cable ports on the back of the G6/G5.
- Restore power and give the system a few moments to boot up. Check that the 709-RVC display is reading your tank levels correctly. Fire up eRVin and go to the Status tab, the tank levels should show in a bar graph similar to the opening photo for this post.
- Now you can go to the Notifications tab in eRVin and set up your notification thresholds.
- If not already done you will also need to configure the Notification SMTP Server settings section (get the settings info from your email provider, its the same settings as your email client) and Notification Email Address section (this is where you specify the email address where the notifications should be sent). Both of these sections are also in the Notifications tab. The photos below show my info, some off which has been blanked out, yours will be different.
RV-C Cable Specification:
Stranded copper unsheilded Blue/White twisted pair
Jacket material/Temperature Rating: PVC/-20 to 105 deg C
Characteristic Impedance: 95 – 140 Ohm
Main Trunk: 18-24 AWG
Drops: 22-24 AWG (permissible to substitute trunk cable)
Alternate Color: CAN-L (-) Green / CAN-H (+) Yellow
Wired as straight thru pin to pin
Note: except for the color coding, the specs for Cat5 or Cat6 cable are close to the above. Impedence is about 100 ohms, however the pitch (twists per meter), is generally much higher according to this. I doubt there is any significant issue with more twists for short hookups. Also note that each pair in a Cat 5 cable has a different pitch to minimize cross interference. Primarily it is the CAN-H and CAN-L (white/blue) pair that needs the twists, the power pair (red/black) not so much. Ideally 20 gauge wire should be used for the power pair, if using a smaller gauge keep your hookup length as short as possible.