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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I noticed that my continuous duty solenoid which I use as a heavy duty master switch for all of my accessories has draw.

I am using a kit from Warn 32959 which recommends a switched power source for the on/off switch for the solenoid. I was using a full time power line and I noticed that the solenoid was putting out 2 Volts in the position which would obviously drain my battery in a few hours (luckily I have an Optima).

I changed to a switched power source and I noticed that the solenoid now puts out about 1/2 volt in the off position. Is this normal?

I called Warn and the Tech who would know the answer was out, but they think this is normal.

Can anyone help?

Thanks
Mark F

 
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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Mark,
What are you using to measure the voltage? If digital, then it has a very high input impeadance...thus, any back feeding voltage will show up. I would also check what you were using as a ground reference. On older vehicles as the wiring and connections get older, ground points can shift. When making the measurment, i would disconnect any outputs from the solenoid. That will tell you if there is any leakage. Also, make sure you are using a mechanical solenoid or relay.

John......southern CA
84CJ7, 3"lift, 32"BFG, 4.10's, ARB Locker, Solid Axle's, Durabak
 
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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Ok, I'll be more specific.

It is on a 98 TJ. The continuous duty solenoid is mechanical and the voltmeter is analog with a high/low switch.

I am testing the output of the solenoid by placing one voltmeter terminal on the negative battery and the other (positive) on the output side of the solenoid. When I do this I get up to 0.5 volts it varies. When the solenoid is activated I get 12 and on the solenoid supply side I get 12V (of course b/c it is connected to the battery).

When my battery kept dying I tested it this way and I got a reading of 2V, which according to Warn (I bought the kit from Warn) indicated that the solenoid was still partially energized. I changed the source for the energizing wire (from always power to switched) and the output is now at 0.5V when it is off.

I would think it is supposed to be 0, but I'm not sure. Can someone test theirs this way?

Thanks

 

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/wwwthreads_images/icons/tongue.gif My guess is that an appliance is backfeeding to the output side of that solenoid....like a component that has two sources....switched and constant....like a radio with a digital clock..I have used mechanical solenoids for YEARS and what you describe is impossible unless the solenoid has been under water or has come apart inside. You can't get just a few volts normally out of a solenoid....it is all or none. You just cannot be half-pregnant./wwwthreads_images/icons/crazy.gif

CJDave
I never believe any statistics unless I've made 'em up myself.
 
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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Where is your Ground coming from? Battery or block? You should use a 6 gauge wire directly to the block. When the truck is off there should be 0 volts on the solenoid not .5v, it sounds like you are getting feed back from another source or a bad ground. The solenoid could be defective. I hope this helps.
Jon

79' CJ-7,AMC 360, T400, Dana 300, D60 and D30 4.10, All Fiberblass.
 
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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
The solenoid is ground to the battery. It uses a real thin wire like 18 gauge.

What I am trying to get at is whether or not the solenoid went bad. I will try to remove all of the accessory wires and change the ground to the block and test it again. Actually from the way the Warn guy explained it to me it is possible to get some output from a bad solenoid. It is basically a plate and a magnet. The plate should fall when the power is off (magnet stops working) but if the plate gets stuck on its way down there could be some current jumping the gap. That is what I heard and it makes sense to me.

 
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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
He is feeding you a line. On a mechanical relay, its either on or off. A 12 vdc system does not have enough potential to 'leak'. If the relay is failing then about the only thing that will go wrong is arked contacts, which results in a lower output voltage under load.

As stated before, something is back feeding it. Truth is, it shouldn't hurt anything. If your afraid that something is draining the battery, then turn everything off and put a current meter between the pos battery and the cable. With a mechanical clock and radio you can expect about 25 to 50 ma of drian.

One other question, what did you add that required the solenoid?

John......southern CA
84CJ7, 3"lift, 32"BFG, 4.10's, ARB Locker, Solid Axle's, Durabak
 
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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I agree, he's feeding you a line. A mechanical solenoid (relay) will not "leak" current at 12Vdc. Solid state is another matter. Disconnect the output side of the solenoid & measure the output & the disconnected wire to gnd. Bet you'll find the voltage on the wire. Probably nothing to worry about, but as someone else said, you'll have to use a current meter to be sure.

Also, you mentioned reading 12Vdc... Was this with the engine running? You should have about 13.5 to 14Vdc when it's running. If not, check your alternator & regulator. This might be your battery prob.

Hope this helps,

'80 CJ7
'84 CJ7
'76 Scout
NRA Life
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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I haven't tested the solenoid with ground and output disconnected to isolate any backfeed.

I installed this switch and solenoid because I'm an EMT and I wired all of my emergency lights and siren to that solenoid. This way I can flip one switch and everything goes on. Also I had a bad habit of leaving some of the lights on during a call (with the engine off). This way everything goes off when I turn the engine off.

Thanks again everyone for the help

 
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