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Old 29-09-2008, 15:49   #1
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Location of Propane Solenoid

The solenoid for my propane tank is located adjacent to the tank and within the same locker - this seems to be a safety hazzard. It's just after the regulator and just prior to the hose going to our stove. The locker is on the starboard side gunnel and is rather small. The stove is within a few feet of the tank on the starboard side of the salon.

This past Spring while using the stove, we noticed that the solenoid was smoking. We immediately shut off all propane and disconnected the solenoid. We were somewhat lucky in that we always leave the locker cover in the open position when using the propane - hence we could see the smoke.

We replaced the solenoid but, we still are wary of having a solenoid located within inches of the propane tank. We probably could locate the solenoid inside the boat (apx. 12" after the regulator) but, it would be hidden behind the seat back in a hard-to-reach locker - this doesn't seem logical to do as any spark/heat/smoke would be even more difficult to smell or see. We practice safe use of the propane by keeping the cover open when using it and by purging the hose line after each use.

Is there a "safer" solenoid? Or should I consider going to a smaller tank and creating more room between the solenoid and the tank (it would only be 3-4 inches vs the current 1-2 inches)? Or is there something that I have not thought of to remedy this perceived safety hazzard?
Thanks,
Ray
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Old 29-09-2008, 15:57   #2
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Quote:
The solenoid for my propane tank is located adjacent to the tank and within the same locker - this seems to be a safety hazard.
Not everything is as it seems. Keeping the solenoid in the locker means no pressure is in any line outside the locker when it's off. This is safest. A smoking solenoid was defective or improperly wired or had failed wiring. Sintex (part of FireBoy) make good solenoids and have the added value of a propane sensor you locate inside the cabin.

If your propane locker is located such that nothing else is inside it and it is drained overboard then it probably meets code. If the solenoid were a few inches farther away the added value of safety would minuscule. A propane leak should drain overboard. If that were combined with a faulty solenoid then being any place would probably be potentially dangerous.
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Old 29-09-2008, 16:00   #3
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All the solenoids I've seen are right near the tank. The locker should have an overboard drain and propane is heavier than air so I don't see any problem with the solenoid being where it is. Mine has about an eighth of an inch clearance from the tank. Why would opening the locker during use make it any safer? Why was your solenoid smoking? They do get hot during operation but for it to smoke makes me think you've got another problem. How's the wiring?
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Old 29-09-2008, 16:13   #4
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Not only should your solenoid be contained in the locker, it should also be between the tank and the regulator.

This is according to the installation instruction for my Xintex solenoid.
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Old 29-09-2008, 17:02   #5
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Originally Posted by svh2obo View Post
Not only should your solenoid be contained in the locker, it should also be between the tank and the regulator.

This is according to the installation instruction for my Xintex solenoid.
I don't know what ABYC says but I've seen both low and high pressure solenoids for sale for boat propane systems. If you buy a low pressure solenoid it has to go on the low pressure side.

This shows the the valve on the low pressure side. The part # they give, they say is rated to 300 psi, so it could go on the high pressure side.

http://www.fireboy-xintex.com/manual...%20Diagram.pdf


John

See also: Gas Solenoid Installation & Operations Manual: http://www.fireboy-xintex.com/manual...nersManual.pdf
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Old 29-09-2008, 17:04   #6
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As always you get bits and pieces of the truth when you get answers from people who only know bits and pieces of the answer.

Your propane solenoid MUST (not "should") go in the propane locker. Its purpose is to maks use that there is no way propane can leak into any part of the hull when you turn it off. Any other arrangement will fail any insurance survey.

It is a matter of the design of the individual solenoid as to the correct placement relative to the regulator. There are "high pressure" solenoids that go between the tank and the regulator, and there are "low pressure" solenoids that must go downstream, AFTER the regulator. I can imagine a scenario where the high pressure solenoid would add a slight measure of safety, but the differences between the two types aren't large. Just be sure you mount it in the right place for the one YOU have.

Propane installations can be VERY dangerous. If the only source of information you have is an internet discussion board, I would strongly suggest that you pay a professional to advise you, or to do the installation. You don't have the knowledge to judge if the answers you get here are right or wrong. (that goes for my advice too!)
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Old 30-09-2008, 04:05   #7
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Here’s an “old” (circa 2000) version of ABYC Standard A-1 (LPG Gas Systems):
http://www.abycinc.org/committees/A-01.pdf
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Old 30-09-2008, 07:28   #8
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location of propane solenoid

Thanks to all for their replies.

First, to confirm safety standards were/are being employed: the locker is in compliance with ABYC standards with drain on bottom which immediately exhausts overboard. Locker was emptied, small holes in fiberglass fixed, drain and hose replaced, ect 2.5 yrs ago & checked yesterday. Nothing else is in the locker. Tank (aluminum - apx. 3 gal), regulator, solenoid were purchassed apx. 2.5 yrs ago and installed by professional mechanic. Solenoid replacement was completed by mechanic from a major yard in Solomons in April '08 who thought the solenoid was defective (note that he over-tightened copper connector & it failed next day ). I assume solenoid is of the "low pressure" type but, I do not have info readily available and will research today/tomorow before having unit re-installed.

Again, thanks for confirmation on several issues:
solenoid must be in the locker
placement before/behind regulator must be confirmed/corrected if necessary
will have wiring to panel switch checked (again).
unless someone advises differently, will continue opening locker cover and monitoring it while the stove is on.

Will attempt contact separately with Paul B. as he lives within a few miles of me and I'd like follow-up on local mechanics, and his recommended type of solenoid. (zatarra192@verizon.net)

Ray
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Old 07-08-2011, 13:56   #9
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Re: location of propane solenoid

This a old thread I know, but I've just noticed that my xintex solenoid also bets very hot to touch, is this normal? It's seems to be working ok and is drawing about .7 amps.
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Old 07-08-2011, 14:03   #10
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Re: location of propane solenoid

They do get hot. Probably should not sizzle a drop of water though, that would be too hot. You must have it on for a long time, no?

.7A x 12V = 8.4W of heat. That's enough to make a small thing in a tight place plenty hot.
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Old 07-08-2011, 14:15   #11
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Re: location of propane solenoid

The solenoid should be as close to the tank as possible as there may develope a leak between the tank and solenoid. The solenoid is only energised when the fuel in turned on and may get hot to the touch. Remember to switch the fuel off when not in use.
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Old 07-08-2011, 16:57   #12
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Ok it's the same amount of a car tail light more or less, and their plenty hot if you try to touch one when there on. Whilst sailing, yes, turn the gas off to save a lot of energy
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