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Old 13-08-2009, 11:29   #1
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More Propane Problems

Here's the situation:

My boat had a small grill, stove, and a propane fridge with a bypass for the solenoid.

I removed one of the valves and one of the T fittings so now the solenoid goes to the stove and grill with no bypass, and there is a single pre-solenoid valve that goes directly to the fridge. I also removed the old gauge, replaced the badly stripped tank connector, and added an adapter to the new style connector with a built in gauge (see the photo below).



Lastly I installed a new solenoid and 2 new sensors.

The sensors test ok, the solenoid appears to be working, at least that's what it indicates at the panel, except my stove and grill won't light.

It's a brand new full tank, After turning it on, I let it sit for a good 10-15min before lighting, as I heard that's what you need to do with the new style connector, otherwise if you turn anything on too soon it will think it's a leak and restrict the flow.

Lastly, there doesn't appear to be any leaks. The gauge did go down a tiny little bit after turning the tank off, but that was the next morning, 11-12 hours later. Otherwise a good 1/2 hour after turning off the valve the needle had still not budged an inch.

Any ideas?

I haven't tried to fire up the fridge yet. I guess if I did that it would confirm that that the problem is likely with the solenoid. how do you tell if the solenoid is really working? Does it get warm to the touch?
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Old 13-08-2009, 11:51   #2
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a solenoid will get warm to the touch, but that doesnt necessarily mean that the valve has opened... it just means the coil is trying to open the valve. the valve stem could be jammed.
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Old 13-08-2009, 12:41   #3
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I had a recent problem with a propane solinoid that had corroded internally and would not move the spool when energized. Disassembled, cleaned and re-assembled........worked fine. The clue was that there was no "click" when the solinoid was energized.
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Old 13-08-2009, 12:43   #4
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How quick did you turn the handle on the tank? They need to be opened very slowly, or they remain shut.......i2f
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Old 16-08-2009, 11:21   #5
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Originally Posted by captain465 View Post
I had a recent problem with a propane solinoid that had corroded internally and would not move the spool when energized. Disassembled, cleaned and re-assembled........worked fine. The clue was that there was no "click" when the solinoid was energized.
Doubt that's the problem, since this one is brand new, but...
Should it click instantly, after turning it on, or does it take a few?
As in long enough to turn it on, and then walk over to the locker to listen?

Or is the click relatively loud?
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Old 16-08-2009, 11:23   #6
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Originally Posted by imagine2frolic View Post
How quick did you turn the handle on the tank? They need to be opened very slowly, or they remain shut.......i2f
I am a diver, so I know all about slowly cracking valves.

The needle did jump, when I turned it on.
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Old 16-08-2009, 11:26   #7
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Originally Posted by grunzster View Post
Should it click instantly, after turning it on, or does it take a few?
It should click on roughly at the speed of light I.e. effectively instantly...
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Old 16-08-2009, 11:50   #8
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Maybe there's air in the line from the installation.
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Old 16-08-2009, 12:02   #9
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It should click on roughly at the speed of light I.e. effectively instantly...
Should the solenoid it's self click, or are you talking about the click you hear at the control panel?
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Old 16-08-2009, 12:04   #10
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Maybe there's air in the line from the installation.
Maybe initially, but at this point I think all my failed attempts would have blown the air through.

Also, I don't even hear any gas flow at the stove or grill.


Can't get the fridge to light either. Could it be the regulator?
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Old 16-08-2009, 12:23   #11
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Some solenoids for propane are are open when there is no power and some are closed when there is no power.
Don't know which you ended up with.
The newer Gems are that way. I can use the propane fridge with the tank turned on only. I don't have to have the current draw of the panel, sensors, or the solenoid to use the gas.
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Old 16-08-2009, 19:14   #12
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A solenoid should go 'click' immediately and only when you power it on/off. That "click" will be the noise of the physical solenoid relay dis/engaging and the physical valve opening or closing.

For a propane safety solenoid, the gas flow should be CUT OFF when the solenoid loses power, so that any failure in the power to the solenoid shuts the gas flow. And when you apply power to the solenoid, it should be holding the (internal) valve open to allow gas flow.

Get a twelve volt test light from any auto parts store, or any low power 12v bulb with wire leads from Radio Shack. Disconnect the solenoid from the power leads, hook up the test lamp. If the test lamp does not light up when you hit the power for the solenoid, you've got a wiring problem, possibly a blown fuse in some obscure location or a chafed wire. Or (and I've seen this) an obscure "safety switch" that also has to be thrown to power up the solenoid. In any case--if the bulb won't light up, it is a power problem. If it does light up, the solenoid should make a "click" when it is powered up, otherwise it probably is bad. Relays have a finite life, sometimes they corrode or fail. Sometimes you can take them apart and clean/rebuild them, sometimes you are dealing with an explosive gas and you might just want to replace it if there's any doubt. Hmmmm.....
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Old 16-08-2009, 23:48   #13
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Old 17-08-2009, 04:47   #14
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What hellosailor said.
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Old 17-08-2009, 05:59   #15
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and what about the new propane tank ? fitted with gauge ?
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