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Solenoid Valves - Installation, Maintenance and Problem Solving

Solenoid valves are known for their robustness and reliability, capable of providing many years of service when installed and maintained correctly.


In this blog post, we will explore steps that can be taken to prolong the lifespan of your solenoid valve and ensure it operates at peak performance. Additionally, we will discuss methods for identifying, resolving, and preventing issues that may arise with solenoid valves.




Before installing a solenoid valve into a system, consider the following points:


1. Verify that the voltage supply matches the allowed voltage of the solenoid coil, which can be found on the label on the side of the coil.


2. Ensure that the pressure of the media passing through the solenoid valve does not exceed its maximum pressure rating. Pilot operated and assisted lift solenoid valves also have a minimum pressure rating that must be met for proper functioning, which can be found on the I.D. disc located at the top of the armature tube, usually measured in bar.


3. Confirm that the media is compatible with both the construction material of the valve and the seal material.


4. Check that the media and ambient temperatures are within the minimum and maximum temperature rating of the solenoid valve. Consider the effect of these temperatures caused by connected or nearby equipment before installation.


5. Install the solenoid valve with the inlet port (usually marked as port 1) connected to the upstream flow and the outlet port (usually marked as port 2) connected to downstream. Some valves may have an arrow on the body indicating the direction of flow.


6. Ideally, install the solenoid valve with the armature tube pointing upwards to reduce the risk of sediment in the media falling into the tube and restricting the movement of the armature.


7. If the media contains sediment or particles, fit a filter upstream of the solenoid valve to prevent contamination of the valve's components. Impurities entering the valve may damage internal components and cause malfunctions.


Solenoid valves



Regular maintenance of your solenoid valve is essential to ensure it continues to operate at optimal levels. Perform routine inspections of the valve's components to check for signs of wear.


To inspect the valve's components, first, isolate the valve from both voltage and fluid. Then, remove the top nut, I.D plate, coil, and armature tube. Check for sediment, debris, or corrosion inside the tube and valve body. Ensure that the armature/spring assembly moves freely within the tube. Additionally, inspect the seals and o-rings for any contamination or signs of wear.


For pilot-operated and assisted lift solenoid valves, also remove the upper valve body and inspect the diaphragm for any debris, tears, or deformation.


Small amounts of debris can typically be cleaned away, but care must be taken to avoid further damaging the components. Any damaged or worn components should be promptly replaced.


Problem Solving and Failure Prevention


Coil Failure


Solenoid coil failure can be caused by a number of factors.


Applying an incorrect voltage to the coil will cause it to fail and may cause the coil to burn out. Electrical surges or spikes may also damage the coil. Burnt out coils cannot be repaired and will need to be replaced. Always ensure that the electrical supply matches the voltage and frequency indicated on the coil's label. It is also advisable to incorporate electrical surge protection into the system.


Contact with water or other liquids can damage the coil, leading to failure. If the coil is equipped with a suitable DIN connector, it has an Ingress Protection rating of 65. However, if the valve is to be placed outdoors or in damp conditions, appropriate protection should be employed. Some solenoid valves feature armature tube o-rings to prevent water ingress between the coil and armature tube. Regular inspection of these o-rings is recommended, and damaged or worn ones should be replaced.


Sediment or particles entering the valve can result in coil failure. If these impurities enter the armature tube, they may restrict the movement of the armature. Consequently, the coil will continue attempting to move the armature, leading to eventual overheating. To prevent impurities from entering the valve, install an upstream filter in the system. Additionally, installing the valve with the coil and armature positioned vertically is recommended to reduce the risk of sediment entering the tube.


Burnt out or damaged solenoid coils should be promptly replaced.


Valve Failure


Preventing valve failure requires correct installation, maintenance, and operation within specified limits.


Identifying the root cause of failure can be challenging due to various factors, but the following can serve as a guide:


Exceeding the pressure rating of the solenoid valve can damage its components. Tears in the diaphragm often indicate overpressure. In extreme cases, excessive pressure can harm the valve body and armature tube assembly. Pilot-operated and assisted lift valves also have a minimum pressure rating requirement for proper function.


Deformation of diaphragms, seals, and o-rings can result from media or ambient temperatures outside the specified range. Discoloration of components may signal exceeding the temperature rating.


Sediment or particles entering the valve can disrupt its operation. Contamination of seals and diaphragms may prevent complete valve closure, leading to leakage. Blocked orifices due to contamination can also cause valve failure.


Corrosion of metal components or degradation of seals and diaphragms may stem from compatibility issues between the media and valve/seal materials. Impurities in the media can exacerbate such failures.


Other points to consider when identifying the cause of a valve failure:


Ensure the solenoid valve is connected in the correct direction, with the inlet port upstream and the outlet port downstream, or look for an arrow on the valve body indicating the flow direction.


Verify that the supply voltage matches that indicated on the solenoid coil (within 10%) and that the coil is functioning correctly.


For pilot-operated or assisted-lift valves, check for the absence of vacuum downstream of the valve, as pilot-operated solenoid valves cannot "suck" fluids.


Ensure there is no back pressure, with downstream pressure not exceeding upstream pressure.

Solenoid Valves