Solenoid switch does not shut off propane - SailNet Community
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post #1 of 22 Old 06-29-2013 Thread Starter
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Solenoid switch does not shut off propane

Over the winter I had the yard install a Trident propane detector/shut off switch. There is power to the switch (mounted near the galley) because the display lights are on. HOWEVER, when I push the "off" button on the Trident switch the gas to the stove does NOT stop.

I'm guessing that solenoids work by closing when there is no electricity flowing to them and opening when there is. Is that right? (The reverse would seem inherently dangerous.)

So, if I check the leads at the solenoid (located in the propane locker) and find there is electricity there when the switch is "on" and none when it's "off" (but the propane still flows) then the solenoid is probably bad and needs to be replaced.

Is that right? Any other advice for diagnosing this?
Thanks!


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post #2 of 22 Old 06-29-2013
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Re: Solenoid switch does not shut off propane

Station someone near the propane locker and activate the solenoid. There should be a quite loud "click" from the solenoid. no clickee no workee .
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post #3 of 22 Old 06-29-2013
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Re: Solenoid switch does not shut off propane

Even if the solenoid is working, the stove will not shut off immediately... it can take a little while to burn up the propane in the line between the tank/solenoid and the stove, but it shouldn't keep burning indefinitely. Likewise, it can take a while to get propane back to the stove if the system hasn't been used in a while - in my case, 30 seconds to a minute before it will light.

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post #4 of 22 Old 06-29-2013
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Re: Solenoid switch does not shut off propane

Also when solenoid is powered ON (open, gas on) it gets warm, some might say hot, quickly.
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post #5 of 22 Old 06-29-2013
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Re: Solenoid switch does not shut off propane

It's real easy to wire the valve to "on" So it's important to make sure it was wired properly. Not rocket science, but the terminal block on the xintex stuff can be a little confusing.

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post #6 of 22 Old 06-29-2013 Thread Starter
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Re: Solenoid switch does not shut off propane

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Originally Posted by redline View Post
Even if the solenoid is working, the stove will not shut off immediately... it can take a little while to burn up the propane in the line between the tank/solenoid and the stove, but it shouldn't keep burning indefinitely. Likewise, it can take a while to get propane back to the stove if the system hasn't been used in a while - in my case, 30 seconds to a minute before it will light.
Redline, if I close the valve on the propane tank or the valve on the manifold in the propane locker the stove goes out in 10 seconds. I figure the solenoid, which is in the same location, should act as quickly. But I've given it as much as 2 minutes and it has not gone out.


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post #7 of 22 Old 06-30-2013
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Re: Solenoid switch does not shut off propane

Jiminri, propane solenoids rarely fail "open". They are powered open and mechanically closed by a spring. Find the circuit which powers the solenoid and turn it off - on -off. See if the propane to the stove shuts off and/or you hear clicking. That will let you know if the solenoid is working properly. If the solenoid is working the detector is wired incorrectly. If the solenoid still won't turn off you will need to replace it.
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post #8 of 22 Old 06-30-2013
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Re: Solenoid switch does not shut off propane

This is what boatpoker said in a different thread. It doesn't shed any particular light on this odd problem, but I wonder if anyone had done any mods along the way to deal with this. Is the solenoid directly off the tank or buried somewhere and possibly by-passed?

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.......Their propane systems are absolutely terrible with multiple connections and T's inside the boat........


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post #9 of 22 Old 06-30-2013 Thread Starter
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Re: Solenoid switch does not shut off propane

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This is what boatpoker said in a different thread. It doesn't shed any particular light on this odd problem, but I wonder if anyone had done any mods along the way to deal with this. Is the solenoid directly off the tank or buried somewhere and possibly by-passed?
Good thought, but that's not it. My boat originally had one line from the (enclosed, properly draining) propane locker under the helmsman's seat that then Tee-d off in the boat to serve the stove and the heater. I replaced ALL the propane lines and removed the Tee so that each appliance has a dedicated line that runs from the propane locker directly to the the appliance and the only connections are in the propane locker. Now ABYC compliant.

The solenoid is in the propane locker. If the solenoid is not stuck open (my original guess) then I suppose it continues to get electricity somehow even with the Trident display is switched off. I can try to disconnect the leads at the solenoid and see what happens. I thought I'd get to the boat today to try this but looking unlikely, maybe in a day or two.

I appreciate all the advice and suggestions.
Jim


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post #10 of 22 Old 06-30-2013
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Re: Solenoid switch does not shut off propane

I don't know if this is the cause of the OP's problem, but it is an issue that I had when I installed a propane system in my boat.

When the solenoid closes, it produces an inductive current in the wiring. In other words, the act of closing the solenoid produces a current in the wire in the opposite direction as the original current which opens the valve.
On my boat, this had the effect of blowing out my LED indicator light.
I had to install diodes in the wiring to effectively prevent the current from flowing backwards!
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