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    Solenoid on valve caught fire

    Just informed that a water valve " Solenoid " caught fire the other night . Guess the fire department was even called in . I haven't seen the solenoid as I have been off . This valve is a normally closed valve , energized to open valve . The valve is mounted about 3 ft below the roof deck in a exposed ceiling about 85 degree fairly clean environment . This is fed from a single pole 120 volt , 20 amp circuit . This valve is pretty much left on all the time and has been in operation at least 8 years like this . I was asked " is there anything we could do to prevent the solenoid from catching fire " . Any suggestions would be appreciated ...

    #2
    Originally posted by Davebones View Post
    Just informed that a water valve " Solenoid " caught fire the other night . Guess the fire department was even called in . I haven't seen the solenoid as I have been off . This valve is a normally closed valve , energized to open valve . The valve is mounted about 3 ft below the roof deck in a exposed ceiling about 85 degree fairly clean environment . This is fed from a single pole 120 volt , 20 amp circuit . This valve is pretty much left on all the time and has been in operation at least 8 years like this . I was asked " is there anything we could do to prevent the solenoid from catching fire " . Any suggestions would be appreciated ...
    You won’t prevent it from failing but a small fuse should prevent ignition.
    Tom
    TBLO

    Comment


      #3
      190318-0800 EDT

      Change to a DC solenoid valve, and one where the coil temperature rise is small (design issue), and high temperature insulation is employed.

      The current to a DC solenoid is independent of plunger position. Not so in an AC coil.

      Failure of magnetic devices is largely a function of temperature rise and ambient temperature interrelated with design criteria.

      .

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        #4
        What is the purpose of the valve?
        It could possibly be replaced with a motorized ball valve that could remain in either position and not powered continuously. Likely costs more, though.

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          #5
          Originally posted by Davebones View Post
          Just informed that a water valve " Solenoid " caught fire the other night . Guess the fire department was even called in . I haven't seen the solenoid as I have been off . This valve is a normally closed valve , energized to open valve . The valve is mounted about 3 ft below the roof deck in a exposed ceiling about 85 degree fairly clean environment . This is fed from a single pole 120 volt , 20 amp circuit . This valve is pretty much left on all the time and has been in operation at least 8 years like this . I was asked " is there anything we could do to prevent the solenoid from catching fire " . Any suggestions would be appreciated ...

          Dave,

          It is possible that the electric coil became separated from the actual mechanical solenoid and overheated? We have noticed that if the coil is taken off the post of the mechanical body of the valve and is energized, it instantly starts to overheat as the magnetic reluctance is not limiting the current. Sometimes, we place a wire tie on the solenoid to keep it on the body if the plastic clip that holds it together breaks.

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            #6
            I'm curious as to what's going on with this valve. It stays on all the time (for eight years now)?

            What is the purpose of the valve? What controls it? Is there an overcurrent device in whatever is controlling this valve?

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              #7
              The valve provides water to a Anodizing room with many dip tanks . They set it up this way so if the plant loses power it will shutdown water to this area so we won't have a flooding issue

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                #8
                I never heard of a solenoid valve catching on fire. There is nothing there to burn. The coil might smoke a little but it is not going to burn.
                Bob

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                  #9
                  I would just replace it and let the guy who will be there 8 years from now worry about it.

                  -Hal

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Originally posted by Davebones View Post
                    The valve provides water to a Anodizing room with many dip tanks . They set it up this way so if the plant loses power it will shutdown water to this area so we won't have a flooding issue
                    Was it Open or Closed after the smoke came out?
                    Tom
                    TBLO

                    Comment


                      #11
                      I was told the was in the closed position after the so called " Solenoid caught fire "

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Originally posted by petersonra View Post
                        I never heard of a solenoid valve catching on fire. There is nothing there to burn. The coil might smoke a little but it is not going to burn.

                        Though not likely a plastic encapsulated coil could possibly burn. I'd expect most to melt and drip but not reach point where they burn. Too close to other combustibles may start a fire of those combustibles, or even combustible dust or debris that accumulates on/near the coil.
                        I live for today, I'm just a day behind.

                        Comment


                          #13
                          Originally posted by ptonsparky View Post
                          You won’t prevent it from failing but a small fuse should prevent ignition.
                          This is your best bet. As stated, there are possible issues with NC valves being held open continuously, but for 'fail safe" situations as you described, there really isn't a good viable solution (that doesn't add even more potential problems). We don't know the reason it FAILED, but most likely the reason it CAUGHT ON FIRE is because when it DID fail, it took far too long for the increased current to make that 20A circuit breaker trip. I would look at the pull-in rating of that solenoid coil and fuse it at a level just above that. The pull-in rating is likely in VA so just divide that by 120.
                          __________________________________________________ ____________________________
                          Many people are shocked when they discover I am not a good electrician...

                          I'm in California, ergo I am still stuck on the 2014 NEC... We'll get around to the 2017 code in around 2021.

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