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Old 12-19-2015, 07:47 PM   #1
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Big Boy Solenoid

I always thought this was a Big Boy until I saw this one.
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Old 12-22-2015, 02:41 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by Janet and Todd View Post
I always thought this was a Big Boy until I saw this one.
Janet and Todd
??
According to what I read on the label on the soleniod in your pic that solenoid is a "Big Boy".
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Old 12-23-2015, 05:35 PM   #3
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Not in the top photo, Mel. The top one is a Trombetta Bear. It's also the one I'm still having issues with.
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Old 12-23-2015, 06:03 PM   #4
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If you want a "bomb-proof" solenoid/relay: https://www.bluesea.com/products/901...12_24V_DC_250A

Rate for 1 MILLION cycles, 450 amps continuous.

Enough said.

Have used them on sail boats and RV's.
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Old 12-23-2015, 06:44 PM   #5
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You can take that Trombetta solenoid apart and repair the contacts. You have not stated the problem but they get contaminated contacts or sometimes from arcing.

You should have voltage on one of the small terminals and ground on the other when it is activated. Once activated it should have the same voltage on each of the large posts.

If you replace the Trombetta get the one with silver contacts for the best operation,.
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Old 12-24-2015, 08:30 AM   #6
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Not in the top photo, Mel. The top one is a Trombetta Bear. It's also the one I'm still having issues with.
Janet and Todd
Understood.
Mel
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Old 12-24-2015, 10:18 AM   #7
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You can take that Trombetta solenoid apart and repair the contacts. You have not stated the problem but they get contaminated contacts or sometimes from arcing.

You should have voltage on one of the small terminals and ground on the other when it is activated. Once activated it should have the same voltage on each of the large posts.

If you replace the Trombetta get the one with silver contacts for the best operation,.
The issue is that my chassis batteries go dead while plugged into shore power. It takes about a week. I discovered that putting the Xantrex into bulk charge mode and pressing the battery boost switch on the dash causes the Trombetta to click but checking the terminals reveals that charging voltage does not pass through to the chassis. It will, however, pass charging voltage if you turn the large key switch between the batteries to combine them OR you fire up the generator. This Trombetta was replaced in March 2015. I'm hoping the collective brain trust in Qzsite will offer some solutions.
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Old 12-24-2015, 10:25 AM   #8
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Check voltage at the small signal terminal of the Trombetta (relay/solenoid) next time it fails to work. If it is getting its 12 VDC to close the relay from the chassis battery and the chassis battery is dead, it would explain your symptoms.

Strongly suggest you install some means of charging the chassis batteries from shore power/generator. Either a small smart charger or one of the smart combine relays such as the Xantrex Echo charger that charges the chassis batteries from the house bank with the house bank charged by the inverter/charger. You may already have one of these and it is not working-- don't know.

Not sure I understand one part of your statement: " It will, however, pass charging voltage if ... you fire up the generator."

The generator is just another source of 120 VAC. Should be exactly the same as shore power. Said another way, from the ATS (Automatic Transfer Switch) on there is no difference in source-- assuming your shore power and ATS are as they should be.


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Old 12-24-2015, 10:42 AM   #9
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Brett, How would I know the next time it fails? The Trombetta clicks, Vansco 19 lights, but charging voltage (14.2v) does not pass through while in "bulk" mode on shore power.


I do hook a smart charger to the chassis batteries every time I stop to keep them topped up. It should work correctly without having to add additional hardware. I suspect this has been an issue with this coach from the very beginning but I'm not sure.


Thanks for the reply.
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Old 12-24-2015, 11:54 AM   #10
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Todd I had the exact same problem with mine. I took the solenoid off and bench tested and it worked fine. I wonder if the solenoid can make that click sound like it has actually has switched but in fact hasn't fully pulled in. The solenoid coil is powered by the chassis batteries. Is Vansco providing enough current.

Since buying my coach I have replaced the batteries, solenoid and inverter and my system has been working perfectly since.
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Old 12-24-2015, 01:36 PM   #11
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Think rrthor is on to it--not a Vansco owner but I have heard a lot of issues with battery charging over the years for Vansco coaches. Suspect the charging control parameters [light #19] in Vansco are not compatible with the charge input from your solar cells, resulting in a continuous on/off condition with the solenoid until it fails. Or it could just be a random act of ill will from the RV gods.. ...Merry Christmas....
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Old 12-24-2015, 02:18 PM   #12
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The solenoid is a very basic dumb device. It has a coil that voltage is applied to via the small terminals. One gets voltage and the other is for a ground. It indeed will clunk when energized. It will also get very warm or even hot to the touch if energized for a long time. This is normal for this type of solenoid.

If you have the voltage on one of the small terminals and no voltage on the other you can lift one of the small wires off and touch it on and off to hear the solenoid slamming a piece of metal between two contacts inside.

Those contacts are a very common source of failure. I keep a spare solenoid because of the failure rate of them.

They can be intermittent as heck and as you have suggested the voltage is lower on one side of the larger terminals than the other when energized so it needs to be replaced or overhauled.

If you know how to use a solder gun or pencil you can take that one apart and repair the contacts inside.

Now for the rest of the story. Fixing the obvious often fixes many things but there could be more to your setup.

If you get this far getting the solenoid repaired or replaced then do a search in the little Google box above and put in BIRD. This will lead you to tons of reading on the way these things can be installed and run.
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Old 12-24-2015, 04:09 PM   #13
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HR is HR and Alpine is Alpine--our coaches, if so equiped, use a Vansco system to set and communicate charging parameters for the "dumb" solenoid--no need for a "BIRD"....
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Old 12-24-2015, 04:37 PM   #14
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Todd and Rick T.
Add my '06 to your list with the same symptoms:
1. Energizing shore power produces an audible clunk and a definite tap can be felt on the Trombetta solenoid
2. Vansco #19 illuminated
3. Trombretta becomes warm to hot
4. No continuity or voltage measured passing through large terminals connecting the battery banks during Bulk and Absorption phases of charging


But, apparently,in spite of all indications that the chassis batteries should not be going through the charging process; once the Xantrex cycles through Bulk, Absorption, and Float both battery banks are essentially equal at 13.6v and normal continuity is now indicated through the Trombretta's large terminals. I would think even partially engaged solenoid contacts during the Bulk and Absorption phases of the charge cycle would indicate continuity and voltage when checked with the meter, but it doesn't happen.


See you at Quartzsite Todd, we can compare notes, bet there are others with the same problem.
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