Building a replacement GL1500 Low fuel sensor


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MikeB
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Re: Building a replacement GL1500 Low fuel sensor

Post by MikeB » Tue Jan 10, 2017 4:14 pm



Thanks for the credits but all I did was find it in the DIY section for you.

You know, if I were not such a big chicken about volatile fuel vapors coming in contact with electrical circuits, I may have messed with the low fuel level indicator. That and the fact that my low fuel sensor works so well, has pretty much kept me out of the fuel tank. You know, if it ain't broke, don't fix it.

As to the 555 timer circuit, yes that is a very understandable diagram. It is made for a 9 volt input. The values of the components would have to be adjusted for a 12.7 volt input but that is easy enough to do.

Keep in mind that the low fuel sensor is looking for a ground, not voltage. The OEM light has voltage to it 100% of the time that the ignition is on. The 555 timer would have to be inserted between the LED and the power source. The LED will sit there and wait for a ground input from a float switch and illuminate/flash accordingly. Of course, you could always just use an LED and a 560 ohm resistor in series to do the same thing. Then it would just be on when it gets the ground from the float switch instead of flash.

You asked about the wire color of the wire to the OEM Low Fuel Sensor Lamp, it is Black with a Brown tracer. The sensor side of the bulb is White with a Green tracer. The diagram is below. It is from the Electrical Troubleshooting Manual, section 6.




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Re: Building a replacement GL1500 Low fuel sensor

Post by kiptap » Tue Jan 10, 2017 5:57 pm

MikeB wrote:Thanks for the credits but all I did was find it in the DIY section for you.

Keep in mind that the low fuel sensor is looking for a ground, not voltage. The OEM light has voltage to it 100% of the time that the ignition is on. Of course, you could always just use an LED and a 560 ohm resistor in series to do the same thing. Then it would just be on when it gets the ground from the float switch instead of flash.
Outstanding. I think I'm going to skip the flash and go for the straight circuit. If it blinks due to fuel sloshing all the better to annoy me into refueling. (he says this now, but just wait)

What is the 560 ohm resistor for, to allow for high voltage? The LED's I purchased are rated for 12v or am I missing something again?

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Re: Building a replacement GL1500 Low fuel sensor

Post by MikeB » Tue Jan 10, 2017 6:01 pm

No resistor required if the LED's are made for 12 volts.
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Re: Building a replacement GL1500 Low fuel sensor

Post by WingAdmin » Tue Jan 10, 2017 9:13 pm

kiptap wrote:I want to take the time again to thank WingAdmin for having the patients to reply and especially forward answers that are contained within another post. (I should have used the search tool) :oops:

OK, I read the "building a replacement GL1500 Low Fuel Sensor" and got down to the 555 chip and it went over my head. So, I have some simple questions to see if I can move forward with this as I really can't stand the stock low fuel light setup.

In order to make this simple for me I added a drawing.
FUEL FLOAT.jpg
Question 1. Is the OEM light setup about as basic as diagram #1
Question 2. if question one is yes, than can I just replace the original sensor with the "GoldwingDocs modified fuel float" sensor as shown in diagram #2, all wiring stays the same?
Question 3. Assuming question one is no, what can I do to make it as simple as diagram #2, because if it's not that simple then I fold. :(

I would love to have the blinking light but I don't understand the schematic that virgilmobile provided. And I would have kind of go into "geek mode" to build the board at my skill level, no offense intended. I would have to be able to see the legs on 555 chip for starters. :lol:

Also, If anyone knows off the top of your head, what color wire is positive on the socket for the low fuel light, so I don't have to mess with the LED orientation. Heck, if someone has got the colors to all of them handy then it saves a bit of time. I'm guessing the main light up ones that green is negative, hahhah.
await.jpg
Thanks, kiptap
That's not quite right. There is a 12 volt source that goes through the light bulb, then down to the thermistor, and from there to ground (so there is only one wire running down to the sensor).

You could use a 12 volt LED (basically a LED with a resistor in it already), or you could use a flashing LED. These flashing LEDs have a flashing circuit built into them, and run off 12 volts. You could replace the bulb with one of those, and then replace the thermistor with a float switch.

What you would not get you is the hysteresis damping that our 555 circuit gives you. When the float is just barely triggering the switch, this setup will flash the LED on and off very quickly. Our circuit requires the switch to be closed for half a second or so before it starts flashing the LED, to avoid nuisance flashing at the verge of the float closing, or from fuel sloshing around inside the tank.

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Re: Building a replacement GL1500 Low fuel sensor

Post by kiptap » Mon Jan 16, 2017 3:33 pm

Technical question...

In switching my dash out to LEDS; If I place the 470 ohm, 1/2 watt resistor in parallel for the Low Fuel LED for use with the stock thermistor and later, (when the fuel tank isn't full to the brim for winterizing), I decide to swap to a float, do I need to go back and remove the resistor and/or what is the harm in keeping it in place? At first glance I don't see any reason why it would make a difference while using the float if the resistor is in parallel. I assume it would just require a few more amps? It would save having to go in the dash again and snip the resistor out of the wiring harness when converting.

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Re: Building a replacement GL1500 Low fuel sensor

Post by WingAdmin » Tue Jan 17, 2017 8:46 am

kiptap wrote:Technical question...

In switching my dash out to LEDS; If I place the 470 ohm, 1/2 watt resistor in parallel for the Low Fuel LED for use with the stock thermistor and later, (when the fuel tank isn't full to the brim for winterizing), I decide to swap to a float, do I need to go back and remove the resistor and/or what is the harm in keeping it in place? At first glance I don't see any reason why it would make a difference while using the float if the resistor is in parallel. I assume it would just require a few more amps? It would save having to go in the dash again and snip the resistor out of the wiring harness when converting.

kiptap
Correct. It will draw a tiny bit more current because of that resistor (25 mA more to be exact) but the switch and wiring should be able to handle that easily. You can snip it out or leave it in place, your choice.

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Re: Building a replacement GL1500 Low fuel sensor

Post by kiptap » Tue Jan 17, 2017 7:33 pm

WingAdmin wrote:
kiptap wrote:Technical question...

In switching my dash out to LEDS; If I place the 470 ohm, 1/2 watt resistor in parallel for the Low Fuel LED for use with the stock thermistor and later, (when the fuel tank isn't full to the brim for winterizing), I decide to swap to a float, do I need to go back and remove the resistor and/or what is the harm in keeping it in place? At first glance I don't see any reason why it would make a difference while using the float if the resistor is in parallel. I assume it would just require a few more amps? It would save having to go in the dash again and snip the resistor out of the wiring harness when converting.

kiptap
Correct. It will draw a tiny bit more current because of that resistor (25 mA more to be exact) but the switch and wiring should be able to handle that easily. You can snip it out or leave it in place, your choice.
Done deal! Danke

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Re: Building a replacement GL1500 Low fuel sensor

Post by kiptap » Tue Feb 21, 2017 2:17 pm

This is a really tough one to replace with LEDs. The low fuel sensor is a thermistor that allows more current to flow when it heats up. When it is immersed in fuel, the fuel keeps it cool. When the fuel level drops enough that it is no longer immersed, it warms up, its resistance drops, and enough current flows to let the light bulb illuminate. This is why it gradually lights up as your fuel level gets lower - the thermistor is gradually warming up.

The problem with LEDs is that most do not work this way. An LED will not illuminate at ALL under a certain amount of current, and the amount of current to get it to illuminate is tiny compared to that of an incandescent bulb. That's why we need the extra resistor, to further limit the current. The next problem is that LEDs vary - the LED that you put in (that is sold today) might need a different amount than the one put in by someone else.

Also: the current required to illuminate the LED varies depending on the voltage. So if you are at idle, and the voltage is down, the LED might not light up - but at cruise speed, it will.

This variation and the inconsistency in illumination of the LED, plus the unreliability and frequent failure of the thermistor sensor is what led Virgilmobile (and myself) to rip it out and replace it with a float switch. This simply switches on once the fuel level gets low (I calibrated mine to come on when exactly a gallon usable remained), and the LED turns on, no resistor required. We both put flashing circuits in, so not only does it come on, it flashes to get your attention.
Well FYI my LED w/parallel resistor did not light up as I ran out of gas. But that's really a good thing as it forces me to move to the fabricating the float and I can increase the warning to about 1.5 gallons or 50 miles. That said, I got the float, (a new brake fluid unit), and it appears as though there is a hot glue looking sealant on the top of it where the wires come through.

My question is to Virgilmobile, Wing Admin, or other soles who have converted; did you do anything to reseal the top where the wires came through, e.g. (Seal-All gas resistant adhesive) or did you just go with it as is?

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Re: Building a replacement GL1500 Low fuel sensor

Post by virgilmobile » Tue Feb 21, 2017 2:57 pm

I did dab a bit of silicone around the wire area just as a precaution but I don't think it much matters.The stuff your seeing is there to secure the wires not to seal them.The actual reed switch can live in gas just fine.
Remove the original thermal sensor..Mount the modified float switch as you desire..Attach its wires to the pump mount(ground) and the old sensor wire.The float switch just replaces the thermal sensor.
I added the "flasher" circuit because I was bored that day.Its just bling.Other options are available for the indicator light.

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Re: Building a replacement GL1500 Low fuel sensor

Post by kiptap » Tue Feb 21, 2017 5:47 pm

Thanks!

I'll move forward and mount the float. I was going to try to mount the float inside a container with a small hole at the bottom to control gas flow to stop the float from sloshing around, but I think I'll skip that disaster.

I'll check back concerning the electronic version of mediating the sloshing around.

Thanks kiptap

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Re: Building a replacement GL1500 Low fuel sensor

Post by WingAdmin » Wed Feb 22, 2017 9:04 am

kiptap wrote:Thanks!

I'll move forward and mount the float. I was going to try to mount the float inside a container with a small hole at the bottom to control gas flow to stop the float from sloshing around, but I think I'll skip that disaster.

I'll check back concerning the electronic version of mediating the sloshing around.

Thanks kiptap
You could use just a flashing LED (LED with flashing circuit built into it) if you want it to flash.

My anti-slosh circuit is PART of my flashing circuit. When power is applied to the flashing circuit (i.e. when the reed switch in the float switch closes), the flashing circuit starts in the OFF part of the flash cycle. I built it to have about a 1Hz flash cycle, so when first powered up, the LED is off for 0.5 second before it comes on for 0.5 second, then off for 0.5 second, and so on.

Because the flash cycle starts in the "off" part, it means that if the float sensor switch closes for just a brief instant, no flashing occurs. It has to be closed for at least 0.5 seconds in order to start flashing the LED. If it closes momentarily, opens up, and then closes again, the timer starts over again.

The end result works quite well. I can tell when I'm right at the limit of the float switch, because the LED will cycle on and off intermittently due to acceleration/deceleration or going up/down hills, but that only lasts for a minute or two before it comes on consistently.

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Re: Building a replacement GL1500 Low fuel sensor

Post by kiptap » Mon Feb 27, 2017 11:48 am

I'm still working on getting the level correct. I made the mistake of testing the float in a glass of water and not in gasoline. I appears as though the float sits lower in gas. Luckily I am able to move my mount up and down by drilling new holes. Here is my first mount, it is WAY too high up.


I have moved it three times now, I think I got it right this last time. I will test ride it this evening as the weather is going to hit 50.
I actually had fun doing this, I thought it was going to be a nightmare. Except for moving the float, (taking the seat on and off, gas smell, drips when you turn it over, etc. ), its been a blast and it works really well, just comes in too early. Very happy with the results so far, thanks again Virgilmoble and WingAdmin for a great mod/project for the GL1500, I learned so much from your prototypes except I just fell asleep concerning the height. :oops:

The flashing circuit comes next.

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Re: Building a replacement GL1500 Low fuel sensor

Post by virgilmobile » Mon Feb 27, 2017 12:12 pm

As a point of interest,I picked up 12 volts and ground for my flasher circuit at the fuel pump terminals.

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Re: Building a replacement GL1500 Low fuel sensor

Post by WingAdmin » Mon Feb 27, 2017 3:42 pm

kiptap wrote:I'm still working on getting the level correct. I made the mistake of testing the float in a glass of water and not in gasoline. I appears as though the float sits lower in gas. Luckily I am able to move my mount up and down by drilling new holes.
Correct. Things that float do so by displacing their weight in the fluid in which they are floating.

When a boat floats in water, look at the volume of water which they displace (i.e. the volume of the boat sitting below the waterline). Weigh that water, and that's exactly how much the boat weighs.

Same goes for the float. However much of it is below the fluid, weigh that much fluid, and that's how much the float weighs.

In this case, the fluid (gasoline) weighs less than water (6.1 lbs/gal gasoline vs 8.3 lbs/gal water), therefore more of it has to be displaced to offset the weight of the float - and therefore the float sinks lower in the gasoline than it does in the water.

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Re: Building a replacement GL1500 Low fuel sensor

Post by WingAdmin » Mon Feb 27, 2017 3:43 pm

virgilmobile wrote:As a point of interest,I picked up 12 volts and ground for my flasher circuit at the fuel pump terminals.
As did I.

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Re: Building a replacement GL1500 Low fuel sensor

Post by kiptap » Mon Feb 27, 2017 7:36 pm

OK, I knew it was too good to be true. Even If I fill the tank 1/2 up the light stays on pretty solid. So this begs the question... I soldered wire extensions on the float and used shrink tube on it with no real sealant on it. Is it possible the current is flowing from the splice through the gasoline to the bracket ground?

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Re: Building a replacement GL1500 Low fuel sensor

Post by WingAdmin » Mon Feb 27, 2017 11:35 pm

Gasoline is a very poor conductor, so no, that's not likely your issue.

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Re: Building a replacement GL1500 Low fuel sensor

Post by virgilmobile » Tue Feb 28, 2017 8:36 pm

Disconnect the fuel sensor wire at the connector under the seat just to be sure that the light goes off.If it does,your problem is below that.
Before you pull it apart,gently give the top a rap..just in case the float is stuck.

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Re: Building a replacement GL1500 Low fuel sensor

Post by kiptap » Tue Feb 28, 2017 11:41 pm

virgilmobile wrote:Disconnect the fuel sensor wire at the connector under the seat just to be sure that the light goes off.If it does,your problem is below that.
Before you pull it apart,gently give the top a rap..just in case the float is stuck.
Ya, the light goes out.

I have been driving it around and it seems like the float is sticking, however there doesn't appear to be any reason why and it stays stuck or on even if I fly over speed bumps and RR tracks.
I'm not discouraged, I have a fix, I think. I believe the issue is a "lack luster" float, so I added cork strip around the float adhered the cork and sealed the cork with a product called Seal-All.

https://www.amazon.com/Seal-All-380011- ... ingdocs-20

I Put it back in the tank and the light went out immediately. The fuel level is on the left blue line above the red empty mark, I shake the tank and i get a blip of light, I think I'm good. Will test next dry day. For time delay I went with this...

https://www.amazon.com/Oscillator-Switc ... ingdocs-20

It's all ready made and I can understand it. I think I'm back in business and honestly it will be worth the hassle to have a rock solid indicator that will trigger consistently at certain fuel level. I really despised the dim to bright light indicator. I'll let ya know how it goes, thanks again.

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Re: Building a replacement GL1500 Low fuel sensor

Post by kiptap » Thu Mar 02, 2017 11:43 pm

Whelp, the bike has been sitting for a few days and I decided to check on the low fuel light and its on rock solid with too much fuel in the tank again. So I took the pump out again took the float off the shaft and dropped it into the tank and it sunk like a rock. (we got special gasoline here in Illinois). Not sure what to think, but I'm guessing the float must be absorbing gas? It appears as a solid piece of plastic not even hollow though. So I'm drying the float out now, if that works then I get some tank sealer on it and hope for the best. Unless someone else has a better suggestion other than give it up!

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Re: Building a replacement GL1500 Low fuel sensor

Post by WingAdmin » Fri Mar 03, 2017 11:02 am

kiptap wrote:Whelp, the bike has been sitting for a few days and I decided to check on the low fuel light and its on rock solid with too much fuel in the tank again. So I took the pump out again took the float off the shaft and dropped it into the tank and it sunk like a rock. (we got special gasoline here in Illinois). Not sure what to think, but I'm guessing the float must be absorbing gas? It appears as a solid piece of plastic not even hollow though. So I'm drying the float out now, if that works then I get some tank sealer on it and hope for the best. Unless someone else has a better suggestion other than give it up!
I don't remember - my float seemed to be hollow, I think. It's been a little while now, but it sure sounds like yours is getting saturated and falling down into the fuel.

We had that problem with an old Ford Explorer that I had. A common problem: they used brass fuel floats on the sender arm, and they were soldered closed. The solder would degrade over time and develop pinholes, the float would fill with gas, and sink to the bottom of the tank. Some people re-soldered them and then coated them with sealant, that seemed to work OK. I just replaced mine with a plastic float.

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Re: Building a replacement GL1500 Low fuel sensor

Post by MikeB » Fri Mar 03, 2017 1:46 pm

Earlier you said:
kiptap wrote: I got the float, (a new brake fluid unit), and it appears as though there is a hot glue looking sealant on the top of it where the wires come through.
kiptap
Then you said:
kiptap wrote:I'm still working on getting the level correct. I made the mistake of testing the float in a glass of water and not in gasoline. I appears as though the float sits lower in gas.
So, the float is made for brake fluid? Brake fluid is heavier than gasoline isn't it? About the same as water if I'm not mistaken. I'm thinking that maybe you need a float that is made for gasoline.
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Re: Building a replacement GL1500 Low fuel sensor

Post by WingAdmin » Fri Mar 03, 2017 4:20 pm

MikeB wrote:Earlier you said:
kiptap wrote: I got the float, (a new brake fluid unit), and it appears as though there is a hot glue looking sealant on the top of it where the wires come through.
kiptap
Then you said:
kiptap wrote:I'm still working on getting the level correct. I made the mistake of testing the float in a glass of water and not in gasoline. I appears as though the float sits lower in gas.
So, the float is made for brake fluid? Brake fluid is heavier than gasoline isn't it? About the same as water if I'm not mistaken. I'm thinking that maybe you need a float that is made for gasoline.
I believe it is the same one that Virgil and I have used, it is a brake fluid reservoir level sensor from a Honda Civic, if I remember correctly. Ours have been working great for a good 4-5 years now. You just adjust the float to close the switch at the level you want it to alert you to.

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Re: Building a replacement GL1500 Low fuel sensor

Post by MikeB » Fri Mar 03, 2017 4:43 pm

If it is the same, it is a real shame he is having so much trouble with it.
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Re: Building a replacement GL1500 Low fuel sensor

Post by kiptap » Fri Mar 03, 2017 5:06 pm

MikeB wrote:If it is the same, it is a real shame he is having so much trouble with it.
It's just a shame, but I'm not dead yet... heck I could stick this out for weeks as long as the weather is in the thirties and snowing, hahahah. The U-Joint boot, well that's a different story, I almost felt like crying. Anyhoo, I did a quick test and floated just at flush level. I'm going to try to let it dry out a bit more and JB Weld seal it or get another float, $$$$ :( , its obvious I got a bum float since the other two have a few years on theirs.

UPDATE:
OK, I just looked at pricing a new unit and here is my mistake, I purchased a Dorman brand and not an OEM Honda brand, I didn't even think about it honestly. The reviews/complaints are showing a substantial number of failures, about 20%, usually after a month or longer. The complain is "light stays on all the time". I guess I violated the cardinal rule of not buying Honda. So am going to not going to fiddle around with it anymore, I'm just going to get a HONDA unit and swap floats. Expensive lesson.



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