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Thread: Solenoid Failure?

  1. #16
    Electrical Contractor/Instructor jwelectric's Avatar
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    The circuit board will not pull any more current than what it is designed to draw but the added voltage will cause damage.

    Given what you are working on it might be better to have some qualified in the field to work on it than try to do something that it is not designed to do and end up with something that wont work or might even be dangerous.

  2. #17
    DIY Senior Member BobL43's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jwelectric View Post
    The circuit board will not pull any more current than what it is designed to draw but the added voltage will cause damage.

    Given what you are working on it might be better to have some qualified in the field to work on it than try to do something that it is not designed to do and end up with something that wont work or might even be dangerous.
    I agree with JW; as much as we would like to figure out how everything works and fix everything ourselves, sometimes, especially with gas and fire appliances, its not worth it and is very dangerous. Get a gas tech there and let him diagnose it. Problem is, he'll probably tell you to replace the whole gas log; I hope not.
    I am definitely not a pro plumber, but I am a pro crastinator

  3. #18
    Moderator & Master Plumber hj's Avatar
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    A "battery operated valve" HAS to be powered into the on or off position, using some kind of "latching mechanism" to hold it in position. IF the battery had to maintain in in the "ON" position and it defaulted to "OFF" without power the batteries would die in a matter of minutes, or hours, but ALWAYS within a relatively short time frame.
    Licensed residential and commercial plumber

  4. #19
    DIY Senior Member BobL43's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hj View Post
    A "battery operated valve" HAS to be powered into the on or off position, using some kind of "latching mechanism" to hold it in position. IF the battery had to maintain in in the "ON" position and it defaulted to "OFF" without power the batteries would die in a matter of minutes, or hours, but ALWAYS within a relatively short time frame.
    That does make a lot of sense to me, and I realized that, BUT, if the firelog is lit, and the battery "just happens" to weaken to the point where it does not have enough power to shut off that flame when you want to shut it off, that would require the owner reaching into the fireplace and turning the manual valve knob to "pilot" or "off". May not be extremely dangerous (it is easy to do it though), but it seems like an odd design.

    These non vented fireplace logs have an oxygen depletion sensor normally (at least mine does). Would a dead battery prevent the system from shutting down if needed? The pilot has its own millivolt safety system, but I really have not looked into what other safeties are built into these fireplace units. I guess the AGA certifies them all. Well, Canada now may have that responsibilty. All this thread is about the units with a remote control, lke the OP and the one I have, so I guess on a fireplace that is stricly manually controlled by the manual gas valve knob works on the millivolt current going through safeties like any other similar system? I'm interested in learning here too.
    I am definitely not a pro plumber, but I am a pro crastinator

  5. #20
    DIY Senior Member Kiko's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BobL43 View Post
    That does make a lot of sense to me, and I realized that, BUT, if the firelog is lit, and the battery "just happens" to weaken to the point where it does not have enough power to shut off that flame when you want to shut it off, that would require the owner reaching into the fireplace and turning the manual valve knob to "pilot" or "off". May not be extremely dangerous (it is easy to do it though), but it seems like an odd design.
    Turning the solenoid off seems to require a lot less voltage than turning it on. So, if the battery started to get weak, you would (in theory) be able to shut the burners, without being able to turn them back on. In fact, that's my whole problem. The latch, which is activated by the solenoid, closes no matter what kind of batteries I use. However, even after I wired a 9 volt to the 6 volt receiver box, the latch eventually got stuck again when I tried to turn on the burners.

    Short of hooking up a car battery to the solenoid, I'm fresh out of ideas and will have to wait for the new parts to come... unless there's a way to take the solenoid apart and lubricate the latch or replace the spring??
    Last edited by Kiko; 11-19-2011 at 11:08 AM.

  6. #21
    General Engineering Contractor ballvalve's Avatar
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    Solenoids get buggered up with dirt and dust and then require more voltage to overcome it. Especially if buried in some part near the logs. Silicone spray helps solenoids last a long time, some are mixed with anti-corrosive elements.

  7. #22
    DIY Senior Member Kiko's Avatar
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    My only concern is that the vapors from the lubricant might ignite.

  8. #23
    DIY Senior Member BobL43's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kiko View Post
    Turning the solenoid off seems to require a lot less voltage than turning it on. So, if the battery started to get weak, you would (in theory) be able to shut the burners, without being able to turn them back on. In fact, that's my whole problem. The latch, which is activated by the solenoid, closes no matter what kind of batteries I use. However, even after I wired a 9 volt to the 6 volt receiver box, the latch eventually got stuck again when I tried to turn on the burners.

    Short of hooking up a car battery to the solenoid, I'm fresh out of ideas and will have to wait for the new parts to come... unless there's a way to take the solenoid apart and lubricate the latch or replace the spring??
    I'm a pretty handy guy; I've replaced propane heater gas valves on millivolt systems and 24 VAC systems, I've made and calibrated my own water collumn pressure gauges, BUT I would NEVER tinker with the gas valve itself and try to repair it, ESPECIALLY one that is in the house. Yes, I would disect the valve, see what makes it tick, etc. but never, ever trust my ablilities or lack thereof to fix it. Your Mileage may vary, but I don't want to be responsible for blowing up my house.
    I am definitely not a pro plumber, but I am a pro crastinator

  9. #24
    DIY Senior Member BobL43's Avatar
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    see my post # 23. Wait for a new valve assembly.
    I am definitely not a pro plumber, but I am a pro crastinator

  10. #25
    DIY Senior Member Kiko's Avatar
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    The solenoid screws into the gas valve and is a replaceable part. I have to remove the old one to replace it anyway, so I will have a good look at it to see if it is gunked up.

  11. #26
    DIY Senior Member BobL43's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kiko View Post
    The solenoid screws into the gas valve and is a replaceable part. I have to remove the old one to replace it anyway, so I will have a good look at it to see if it is gunked up.
    Oh, OK
    I am definitely not a pro plumber, but I am a pro crastinator

  12. #27
    Jack of all trades DonL's Avatar
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    One of the problems with solenoids that operate on DC is that the Frame can become Magnetized.

    You may want to use a VHS bulk tape eraser or the such, and try to demagnetize the Valve.

    Sounds Crazy but I have seen that on cheep valves and relays that don't use stainless or isolated frames.
    Theory only works perfect in a vacuum.

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  13. #28
    DIY Senior Member BobL43's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DonL View Post
    One of the problems with solenoids that operate on DC is that the Frame can become Magnetized.

    You may want to use a VHS bulk tape eraser or the such, and try to demagnetize the Valve.

    Sounds Crazy but I have seen that on cheep valves and relays that don't use stainless or isolated frames.
    I have an armature growler that would do the job!
    I am definitely not a pro plumber, but I am a pro crastinator

  14. #29
    Jack of all trades DonL's Avatar
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    If you want to lower the voltage of the coil, You can remove a few turns from it.

    The voltage goes down, But the current goes up...

    Playing with Gas Valves can be a very Moonlighting experience.
    Last edited by DonL; 11-20-2011 at 11:02 AM. Reason: OP Error
    Theory only works perfect in a vacuum.

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  15. #30
    DIY Senior Member BobL43's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DonL View Post
    If you want to lower the voltage of the coil, You can remove a few turns from it.

    The voltage goes down, But the current goes up...

    Playing with Gas Valves can be a very Moonlighting experience.
    As Ralph Cramden used to say "one of these days, Bam, off to the moon"?
    I am definitely not a pro plumber, but I am a pro crastinator

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