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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
This came up in another thread and I was moving stuff around today so I grabbed some pictures of my fuel line with the motorized ball valve.

This valve is "motorized". It is NOT a solenoid valve. The difference is solenoids can burn out easier and faster than motors. This valve has control circuitry in it to where you apply power to open it, the motor moves the valve open, then it cuts power to the motor, but holds it open. There is some stored power in the control circuitry (I assume capacitors) so when power is removed the motor is turned on in reverse to automatically close. So for it to be "held open" it has to have constant power. Note that the power consumption beyond opening is very very low, just standby for the control circuitry to stay "live".

The long and short of it is this makes a pretty easy way to control propane and natural gas. Depending on how your generator set ups are - if you have an installed unit that you can control from inside you can run the wiring inside for this also.

The way I use this one is with portable generators.

Note the little red toggle switch - that is the "power switch". It is a 2 way switch (spdt - on/on). The way I have it wired is that the two positions of the switch feed the positive lead from a battery and a 12v AC power plug. To start the generator the switch is moved to the battery position to open the valve. Once the generator is running the switch is moved to the AC power adapter - which is powered off the generator. This way if the generator quits the power is removed from the valve, thus closing it. To re-start - the switch is flipped to the battery position.

The main concern with the way this is set up is that it does take some care so as to remember to move the switch in to the AC adapter position once the generator is running, otherwise there is no way for the valve to close since its power would be off the battery.

I went with a 1" valve because that is the line size at the meter. The rest of my system is 3/4". I wasn't sure if I was going to have enough flow with 3/4" so instead of getting a 3/4" valve I went with the 1" and reduced on both ends. You can always reduce, you can't increase if you've already reduced.

Hopefully this is helpful to some of you out there.

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If you'll indulge me, I would use a timer circuit and a DPST relay to supply battery voltage to the valve for X seconds after pressing the "Run" button. When the time's up, assuming you've got the generator started, the relay resets to "12V generator mode". I would also add a fail safe master on/off toggle switch to immediately terminate power to the valve so it will close in an emergency.

And since you're using a DPST configuration, use diodes to isolate the 12V battery from the 12V source.

 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
If you'll indulge me, I would use a timer circuit and a DPST relay to supply battery voltage to the valve for X seconds after pressing the "Run" button. When the time's up, assuming you've got the generator started, the relay resets to "12V generator mode".

And since you're using a DPST configuration, use diodes to isolate the 12V battery from the 12V source.
Thanks for the diagram. That is pretty easy to follow.

I mis-typed the switch designation - it is single pole, double throw - so spdt. I had it backasswards. It has 2 positives feeding a single common (to the valve), but only one can be on at a time.

I'll see if I can edit the original post.

I would also add a fail safe master on/off toggle switch to immediately terminate power to the valve so it will close in an emergency.
See the yellow manual valve? Thats what it's there for. Nothing beats a fully manual set up for fail-safe. I wouldn't suggest anyone use an electronically controlled valve, of any kind, as the all around "safety valve" without a manual back up.

In this gas circuit, however, there is a main valve we had plumbed in to the main line to the house. That was done by a licensed plumber - and I checked the details on the valve before he came out to install it to make sure it wasn't a regular "off the shelf" "hardware store" grade valve - its the same type of valve used before the meter.

So that said - the circuit, when in use, has 2 manual valves - one at the meter (well, 2 - but the other will kill gas to the whole house) and one at the generator end of the line. Then the electronic valve is the 3ord on the generator circuit.

Off topic a bit, but the valve at the meter to turn on the generator line requires a pretty good size wrench to turn it. So as far as a quick manual gas shut off the yellow valve at the gen end would be a lot quicker, if need-be.
 

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@OrlyP I guess you have noticed by now that your battery symbol is upside down in the diagram. I do things like that too when I am in a hurry. :)
 

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some of those valves have an internal battery to make sure they have power to close them for when the power goes out.
make sure you have that style.

that is why most of the time they use the sol on most LP and NG gas switching.
it is a better fail safe...
but i prefer to have both and a manual ball valve as a backup.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
that is why most of the time they use the sol on most LP and NG gas switching.
it is a better fail safe...
Paul - thanks for your information as always. May I ask you to elaborate a bit on this one?

The reason I ask is before I got the valve I got I researched them a bit. What I found was the solenoid valves were problematic. The biggest issue was the coil in the solenoid burning out. The other issue is the amount of power the solenoids consumed while being held open.

I don't have a specific example to pass along to you as a study piece, but the long and short of what I found was the motorized valves were the better route.

Admittedly, the valve I have is a "cheap" valve (got it from Ebay). However, it is infrequently used. If it were to be permanently installed and used at a higher duty cycle then I would think investing in a higher quality valve (like we did for the line off the meter) would be a wise idea. Given this is on an auxiliary line and infrequently used I wasn't overly concerned with the quality - but wanted something decent. And to that point the research I did told me a solenoid valve was a bad idea.

So that is why I question your logic on the solenoid valves - it contradicts what I found. However, I've been around the forums enough to put some weight on what your thoughts/opinions are so if you can elaborate on the subject I'm sure I (and all of us here) can learn a thing or two. Perhaps in the perspective of "cheap valves" the motorized ones are the better route, but with "higher quality valves" there are solenoid designs that are superior to any motorized unit?
 

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@OrlyP I guess you have noticed by now that your battery symbol is upside down in the diagram. I do things like that too when I am in a hurry. :)
I was umm... testing you guys. You passed.

Heck, even I don't believe what I just said. lol Good catch!
 

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I was umm... testing you guys. You passed.

Heck, even I don't believe what I just said. lol Good catch!
hah Tough crowd.


Paul - thanks for your information as always. May I ask you to elaborate a bit on this one?

The reason I ask is before I got the valve I got I researched them a bit. What I found was the solenoid valves were problematic. The biggest issue was the coil in the solenoid burning out. The other issue is the amount of power the solenoids consumed while being held open.

I don't have a specific example to pass along to you as a study piece, but the long and short of what I found was the motorized valves were the better route.

Admittedly, the valve I have is a "cheap" valve (got it from Ebay). However, it is infrequently used. If it were to be permanently installed and used at a higher duty cycle then I would think investing in a higher quality valve (like we did for the line off the meter) would be a wise idea. Given this is on an auxiliary line and infrequently used I wasn't overly concerned with the quality - but wanted something decent. And to that point the research I did told me a solenoid valve was a bad idea.

So that is why I question your logic on the solenoid valves - it contradicts what I found. However, I've been around the forums enough to put some weight on what your thoughts/opinions are so if you can elaborate on the subject I'm sure I (and all of us here) can learn a thing or two. Perhaps in the perspective of "cheap valves" the motorized ones are the better route, but with "higher quality valves" there are solenoid designs that are superior to any motorized unit?
Motorized ball valves have their place, same goes with solenoid valves. Motorized ball valves use a capacitor as you mentioned to retain enough power to cycle the valve back off when power is removed. This is much less reliable then the heavy spring found in solenoid valves. Solenoids are instant off and MBVs have a few second cycle time. In the case of a true fail safe NC valve, solenoid valves have the edge.

The only real downsides to solenoid valves are their power consumption. The current required to keep the valve open actually increases slightly as things heat up. And heat up they do, the magnetic induction which acts on the stem of the valve creates quite a bit of heat over time. When connected to the other components in the plumbing system the heat can dissipate, and with propane or NG flowing the the temps drop considerably.

I have search high and low for an instance where a ball valve will meet code in place of a solenoid valve. For operating an internal combustion engine on gaseous fuel only solenoid valves are allowed.
 

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I think an actuated ball valve should be fine in this use case. The manual valve upstream is a good idea, if not, a critical component for safety.
 

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hah Tough crowd.




Motorized ball valves have their place, same goes with solenoid valves. Motorized ball valves use a capacitor as you mentioned to retain enough power to cycle the valve back off when power is removed. This is much less reliable then the heavy spring found in solenoid valves. Solenoids are instant off and MBVs have a few second cycle time. In the case of a true fail safe NC valve, solenoid valves have the edge.

The only real downsides to solenoid valves are their power consumption. The current required to keep the valve open actually increases slightly as things heat up. And heat up they do, the magnetic induction which acts on the stem of the valve creates quite a bit of heat over time. When connected to the other components in the plumbing system the heat can dissipate, and with propane or NG flowing the the temps drop considerably.

I have search high and low for an instance where a ball valve will meet code in place of a solenoid valve. For operating an internal combustion engine on gaseous fuel only solenoid valves are allowed.
lol
yea what he said! ^^^^^^^^^^

the better valves like the high dollar mfg make are best for holding back the LP or NG vapor or liquid.
ultra high heavy duty stuff like for govt work. the real deal industrial stuff.
the problem with the motor valves is the low dollar versions may have plastic gears that may split or fail under high close or open load.
now they do make drive units for the ball valves that are the real good gears for mining and pipeline industries.
take a look at fisher controls.
and over at grainger on those searches.

pm if you need links.

the sol you could use is a burner control valve for NG or LP
take a look high current but they use the millivolt setup on those.
there maybe a way to work that out on the cheap.

also use 24 volt dc coils on a 12 volt dc system.
the current will be close to 1/2 on those.
just make sure to have a battery maintainer on the battery to keep it at top voltage and current charge.

I only use the low cost motor valves for control of lawn water with high dollar shut off valve for the main.

oh yea a high dollar main shut off would be good for earth quake and storms
for water and gas!
then have a manual by pass setup or tie it in with the gen system power
use the push button by pass to get the gen started...
then if the gen dies it shuts off the gas supply. connect to the oil shutdown as well as the thermal shut down.
just another layer of protection
 
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