We’ve got gas.
I’m getting the feeling that our boat thinks we haven’t had enough repair jobs as of late. To fill that imagined void, ZTC decided to cause our propane solenoid to stop functioning this morning.
What is the job of this solenoid? A solenoid is basically a switch which operates when electricity is applied to it. This particular one is supposed to provide a means of remotely turning off the flow of gas to the stove or other appliances. It operates as a normally closed valve which only opens when 12V is applied to it. The switch that controls this flow of electricity is located beside the stove.
An image from Nigel’s book.
We noticed this morning that it was not working when the flame refused to extinguish after we turned off the remote switch by the stove. Our SOP (standard operating procedure) is to always turn the switch off before turning off the range and we do so for this very reason, to confirm the solenoid’s operation. Normally it works but in this case, it didn’t.
After a bit of troubleshooting on the switch, we hypothesized that the solenoid had gone bad. A quick look through Nigel Calder’s excellent book Boatowner’s Mechanical and Electrical Manual confirmed that this is the most common element of a gas system to go bad. Although we don’t have a spare, both Budget Marine and Island Water World, the two large local chandleries, show in their catalogues that they carry such devices. As propane is probably the most dangerous item on our boat, this is one system that we want to get repaired properly!
Our solenoid valve is actually located upstream from the regulator,
not downstream as shown in the first image.