Friday, July 1, 2022

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RV gadget: Lippert LP tank level monitor. Every RV should come with this

Today’s review is of the Lippert LP Tank Sensor. You can read this whole story or just know that this is absolutely going on my list of must-have RV gadgets. Period. End of story. 

It’s a universal truth in the world of towable RVs where there is but one way to determine that you don’t have any propane left. It happens somewhere in the middle of the night on the coldest night you’ve encountered on any camping trip ever and you wake up with icicles dangling from your eyelashes. 

What the heck. The furnace was working when you went to bed. In fact, you had to turn it down because even your spouse commented on how warm it was. 

But at some point in time in the middle of the night, you ran out of propane and now it’s Sunday on a holiday weekend, one of the few times you get to get away from the rat race, and you’re out of gas. No cooking, no fridge, no furnace. 

Sorry, Charlie. 

I can’t say this wasn’t me, and it’s actually happened more often than I care to think about. My current method for dealing with it is to only operate on one tank until that one runs out and then switch tanks. 

You know, in the middle of the night with the whole icicles and such happening. But at least I have the second tank. 

It’s different than GasStop

I do have the GasStop and there are gauges on the top, but these essentially only measure pressure and aren’t exactly a quantity level indicator. Still, I do like the GasStop and moved them to my new RV first thing. 

But, really, what I was hoping somebody would invent is what has come out of Lippert. They’re the same folks who may have built the chassis and furniture and so much else in your RV. In fact, Lippert has an ever-increasing catalog of stuff we absolutely must have—and this is at the top of that list. 

What is the Lippert LP Tank Sensor?

Essentially, the Lippert LP Tank Sensor is a little magnetic disc with some sort of electronic magic in it that gets attached to the bottom of your propane tank and tells you how much propane is in the tank. It’s that simple. 

But there is more. This device works with Lippert’s OneControl® app. It has all sorts of functionality that it can provide. 

You can connect to some newer RVs and control lighting, slide rooms, awnings and more. The list of both factory-installed and aftermarket devices continues to grow under the purview of this app. This makes sense, considering that Lippert is absolutely the leading supplier of parts to the RV industry. 

In fact, I’m sure that the number of things you can operate with this app will grow since Lippert also acquired Furrion. Furrion makes things like stoves, refrigerators, air conditioners, televisions and much more for the RV industry. 

How it works

It’s pretty simple. You download the OneControl app (if you haven’t already) and then press a button on the LP sensor five times. From there you press and hold that button again and add the device to the OneControl app. 

You can add more than one. I have one on the bottom of each of my two propane tanks. 

From there you flip the tank over, apply a dollop of included grease to the sensor and you’re almost ready to go. 

Lippert includes two different riser feet for the bottom of the tanks to lift them just a tad. They provide some distance between the sensor and the metal plate the tanks sit on. There are two different heights, depending on your tank. We installed the smaller of the two. 

The sensor attaches magnetically to the bottom of each tank. Flip the tank back over onto its new feet and wait five minutes. Pretty soon you know just how much propane is in each tank. 

In the app, you have the option of describing the sensors with selectable names such as RV Tank 1 and RV Tank 2, along with a number of other choices. 

You can also set the sensor to alert you to specific tank levels. I have mine set to warn me when we’re at 25 percent. Figuring that I can switch to the second tank, this seems like a good choice, but the number is up to you. 

My thoughts

As an RVer, I can’t believe this isn’t something that comes standard with every travel trailer sold. But you can fix that by simply getting these yourself at the Lippert store. 

These aren’t cheap, at $49.95 each. But, then again, some things are just worth the money. I was really happy with how well these worked and how easy they were to pair. However, if you haven’t already set up the OneControl app, you might do that before you’re standing in the campground chatting with new friends about electric bikes. 

The app asks for a user name, email and phone number as well as the serial number of your RV. I didn’t know it was going to want to be this close of a friend, but I got it all done in short order. 

Lippert did give me these two for review but, honestly, I would absolutely buy these and recommend them wholeheartedly. The only thing I can’t report on yet is how long they last or how long the battery lasts. But they send a notification to your phone if the battery gets low, so at least you won’t be fooled. 

Or frozen in the middle of the night. 

##RVT1055

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Brian Swartzfager
21 days ago

I came here to join the other commenters to mention the Mopeka tank sensor system already does this. 😉 Those sensors aren’t cheap either, but since we’re full-time RVers, I felt they were worth the investment.

Some commenters have already mentioned that the Mopeka sensors work by using ultrasound to measure the liquid-to-gas ratio in the tank, and I’m guessing the Lippert sensors do the same thing. It’s worth noting that the tank level will read lower when it’s colder: the sensor might say the tank level is 10% in the morning but read 15%-20% later in the day after it warms up.

Even so, I’m confident enough in the accuracy of the Mopeka sensors that I’ll let a tank go as low as 8% or so before switching over to the secondary tank and taking the primary to get refilled. With gas prices as high as they are, I want to minimize the number of refill trips.

Stacey
23 days ago

One mans, “gotta have” is another mans, “can do without”.

Joebob
24 days ago

Forget this. 50 bucks a tank! Worry about running out of beer. Use 2 tanks, one at a time. You will always make it to the next day. They of course are readily available most places. I prefer a refill like tractor supply or a local mom and pop.

Jim Prideaux
21 days ago
Reply to  Joebob

Yeah, I run one tank at a time, the other one off. Worst case scenario is getting up in the middle of the night to flip the lever and open the other tank. But I think you made a mistake saying its better to worry about running out of beer. Lippert will now come out with a ‘low on beer’ sensor they will sell you for $50.

CharlieR
25 days ago

This is the same tech as the Mopeka tank sensor which we have used for the past year or so. It measures the level with an ultrasonic beam, and connects with the app on your phone via Bluetooth. Our Mopeka is very accurate and way easy to use. But, you should make sure you don’t leave the app running for continuous monitoring or it will drain the battery in the sensor. We check our levels every couple of days when using the furnace, less often if just running the fridge.

HappyCamper7424
26 days ago

Interesting gadget, but in my mind there are a couple of key points missing from the article. How does it actually work i.e., how does the sensor determine the propane level? Ultrasonic? How accurate is the reading?

Chester Nichols
27 days ago

how does their having the serial number of my Rv have anything to do with how much propane is in my tanks.
any reliable scale can do the same thing without all those features.

Bob p
21 days ago

That’s in case you trade campers and take it with you instead of buying new ones. Lol

Gary
27 days ago

I don’t know the first thing about apps. To my knowledge, I have never used one. I have a computer and an iPad. I use both of those with the programming that was included with the purchase. I don’t have anything on my phone that I am aware of, as I only use it to make and receive calls. However, if I was to purchase the Lippert propane sensor, how sensitive is it to being jostled around during tank removal and replacement for filling?

Bob p
21 days ago
Reply to  Gary

Apps are those annoying little pictures all over your screen that you’ll never use and can’t get rid of that the manufacturer thought you couldn’t live without. DW and I just got new phones and there are more apps I’ve never heard of on those phones and we can’t remove them because they are part of the phone. We’ll never use them because we don’t know what they are, DW all ready accidentally activated one and everything got huge on the screen, we had to go back to 2 different AT&T stores to get it back to normal. The way I see it if I want something on my phone or iPads I’ll ask for it otherwise I don’t want to see it.

JohnM
27 days ago

In addition Mopeka has a WiFi adapter so I could monitor the gas in our ‘permanent’ RV in the winter and know that the heat would be working even when we were not ‘home’. That did require a full time WiFi connection but the RV park had that.

Bob p
27 days ago

I’ve always used the old fashioned non electronic version, slowly pour hot water down the side of the tank, wait a few seconds and condensation will form on the outside of the tank where the propane level is, very simple and way less expensive.

Steve
26 days ago
Reply to  Bob p

Water formula works great for me and I will continue to do it this way

Bob p
21 days ago
Reply to  Steve

And we’ll have $50 for our wives to spend somewhere else. Lol

JohnM
27 days ago

I’ve used the Mopeka (AP Products) Tank Check version of this product for about 5 years and love it. I have a unit on my home gas grill as well. It does go through batteries but I love it.

Bruce McDonald
27 days ago
Reply to  Ron Seidl P.E.

Third that.

Don
27 days ago

I’m a skeptic. I’d want to hear just “how” the magical electronics detect the propane level before popping $50 for one of these things…

Bob Stellmaker
27 days ago
Reply to  Don

I have used Mopeka tank for years. They work and are very accurate. Worth the money.

WBS
26 days ago
Reply to  Don

My guess: From the comments in the review, it seems to be a small scale that measures the weight of the propane and tank. The thing that will change is the weight of the propane. The weight of propane, per pound, is fixed and known. So as the weight changes, the electronics know it is the weight of the propane that is changing. I would imagine you have to tell the system what size tank it is. It can then determine how much is in the tank by knowing how much a full tank (80% filled) would weigh (propane-wise) and then determining how much is left in the tank by how much less weight it reads than a full tank. No doubt it can’t be accurate down to the ounce, but it’s probably good for determining relative levels. It could even be able to tell you the average consumption by using the time the weight is changing. But that would only work accurately if it can measure small change in the propane’s weight. If not it could give you a rough estimate by using larger changes over longer periods of time. Basically a dv/dt kind of thing.

Scott
18 days ago
Reply to  Don

ultrasound into the tank, very accurate. I love ours and great peace of mind. I did get rid of those annoying little clips and placed an aluminum rim on the bottom of the tanks to hold the tank up off the sensor. I have the Mopeka tank version

Crowman
27 days ago

Anytime an App is used the company that the product comes from is selling your information to the world.

Bob p
21 days ago
Reply to  Crowman

Yep

David Scheeler
27 days ago

I would not consider this a “new” product. Mopeka has had a similar tank sensor on the market for years. Theirs also have an App and a wireless remote display.

Steve H
27 days ago

Can they be used on the bottom of a permanently-installed motorhome LP tank? The level indicator on our monitoring panel is off by at least 25%!

Bruce McDonald
27 days ago
Reply to  Steve H

YES. I have used the Mopeka version for years on my 20 lb removable tanks. When I got a Class B with a built in tank and a rather inaccurate built in indicator, I put a Mopeka sensor on the bottom of it. It works great. Some day it may fall off or get knocked off because the bottom of the tank is exposed under the vehicle. IF that happens, I will buy a new one and figure out some way to protect it.

Tim
19 days ago
Reply to  Bruce McDonald

Duct tape will keep the sensor on in all conditions, LOL.

MevetS
27 days ago

Appears like it might be a take off of the AP Products Tank Check LP.

Jim Thomas
27 days ago

Tony, it’s good that they sync with the One Control app on my phone. Can these also be added to the One Control display in my 5er?

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