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Fuel Level Sensing


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52 minutes ago, IPF Racing said:

 

Agreed, I guess I'll see if I can make a cheap solution and report back!

This might be an interesting place to start:

http://www.airforums.com/forums/f159/zemco-fuel-computers-184587.html

 

I built a surge tank around a standard GM fuel pump cartridge that I salvaged from a steel fuel tank. Cut the receiver ring out and folded a box out of 20 gauge steel in the appropriate size, welded it all up and leak checked it. Modified the stock level sensor by pushing the resistive wires to one end of the range and used that to trigger a relay connected to a large shift light when the level dropped below 80% in the surge tank.

 

The shift light comes on in hard right handers so the instruction to the driver is to ignore it until the light stays on for a full straight (not refilling from the fuel tank). At that point there's about 3 minutes of fuel left. I've had one close call when the driver did two laps before pitting and the engine faltered in pit lane.

Edited by mender
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Did I show you the reserve system on Friday night at PIRC?  Got one in my car, there was one in another E30 at PIRC, and two more are about to get delivered.  Two level warnings in the surge side, plu

Finally took some pictures of the reserve tank system:    

Just thought I'd give an update, I'm working with Flight Data Systems this season to test out their flow meter setup. I just got it in the mail yesterday so I'll report back after the install.   

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2 hours ago, IPF Racing said:

 

Totally agree with what you're saying and why we currently only have a low pressure sensor on the surge tank, its hard to use a traditional sensing for level in the tank. Also my tank has too much crap in it to fit a level sensor. PW is an option and easily doable on the CAN gauge with Megasquirt. Your solution is definitely solid when ignoring all that noise and most teams do run to a certain time or just the 2 hour mark so my thoughts may be overkill. 

 

It should be a fun challenge, I've certainly got a few ideas....

Would love to see what you can come up with! I agree with Will though, as long as you have warning 'right before' you're out of gas, that's usually enough for what we do.

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Just now, Slugworks Paul said:

Would love to see what you can come up with! I agree with Will though, as long as you have warning 'right before' you're out of gas, that's usually enough for what we do.

 

Ill definitely find something! Even if there are only a few scenarios where it would be useful lol

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4 minutes ago, turbogrill said:

 

That only works in a return less system right?

 

Nope, it works with a return setup you just have to purchase a second sensor. They sell a kit specifically for that $600. I emailed them to confirm and asked a couple questions. None of us make a ton of power so I assume we're using pumps with <90gpm flow (~340lph) which is the limit of their bigger sensors. When you refuel though you will have to reset the "fuel remaining" amount although thats only one click. It does hold the fuel remaining value even with power disconnected which might be nice between races. 

 

Looks like multiple avionics companies make a setup like this so Im currently going through them to find a good option. I wish you could set a "lap" button like on a stopwatch to see how much fuel was used per lap but these seem to have a pretty low resolution for something like that. Maybe bringing in the values from the sensors to an arduino or similar to a math channel output could show that. 

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Here is an example of an avionics flow system you are discussing integrated with the RaceCapture platform.

 

https://www.autosportlabs.com/conquering-range-anxiety-and-achieving-faster-pit-stops-through-racecapture_telemetry/

 

I came across it while researching data logging, and since I'm the kind of jerk that runs out of gas 15 minutes from the finish on Saturday at the Glen, am following this thread closely.

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8 minutes ago, cbhaywood said:

Here is an example of an avionics flow system you are discussing integrated with the RaceCapture platform.

 

https://www.autosportlabs.com/conquering-range-anxiety-and-achieving-faster-pit-stops-through-racecapture_telemetry/

 

I came across it while researching data logging, and since I'm the kind of jerk that runs out of gas 15 minutes from the finish on Saturday at the Glen, am following this thread closely.

 

That looks perfect. The setup I linked can use those same transducers. Tomorrow I have a phone call with a Canadian company that does bluetooth reporting with positive displacement sensors for boats. Will report back following the phone call. 

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I just got off the phone with https://www.interactio.co/ with some questions about their system. It uses a phone app to totalize the fuel used via bluetooth sensors. These sensors are positive displacement so they should be more accurate than the optical transducers I previously shared. However for two sensors it is more expensive at $755. The owner said he would do a group buy discount for 12 or more sensors which for most of us running a return system would only be 6 teams.

 

I'm gonna keep doing some digging, the flight data systems dedicated gauge seems better to me just because I don't want to need a phone in the car and its cheaper, but both are good options for someone interested in this. 

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  • 4 weeks later...

We experimented with a non contact fluid level sensor. It worked fine on the bench with a test container, but the fuel pump pushing air/fuel vapors (aka fluid) through the hose it was sensing was not reliably differentiated by the one we tried. We are trying again, as this would be a good warning for us (we put it on the low pressure supply to the surge tank) - we run a hydramat in the tank and if the surge supply is dry, we expect we need to pit...

 

We run one of those aviation tube sensors in the fuel cell. It has not worked well for us with an analog gauge (when it stops bouncing... assume it is empty).... we plan to plumb that sensor into Race Capture Pro, and write a minute plus long smoothing algorithm to display a non sloshy level on the RCP display, but haven't done it yet. People have done this and it reportedly works. 

 

 

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That F-Data systems setup looks like a simple plug-and-play solution.  It seems to have a "gallons used" display that resets when the unit is powered off (so every pit stop) with no intervention from a human.  

 

Only better solution I can see is the linked RCP sensor (it seems to be about a $140 sensor) if you already have a RCP or AIM you can use to capture the data..  Although I am not sure if the AIM can calculate gallons used based on a K-factor input.  It might need to be passed through to something else (like a podium connect, for example)

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1 hour ago, 55mini said:

Tyler that is a resistive probe to use with a gauge but I'm sure your fancy dash can adapt to it as it comes in a few options of range.

 

 

18 minutes ago, Slugworks Paul said:

It sure can, and I run one like that, I think Tyler knows how that would work!

 

Same one that I use that interacts with my AIM dash. 

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This sensor is designed for use with a lowrance system, but perhaps it's just a pulse output that could be repurposed for use with a racing system?

https://www.hodgesmarine.com/low000-11517-001-lowrance-00011517001-n2k-fuel-flow-sensor.html?gclid=Cj0KCQiA5dPuBRCrARIsAJL7oejyK_o87Pga-LJgkXgLs4_wijC6jLg9NY-cuai29jsoS0nDbBILfWQaAkmqEALw_wcB

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