ARCO's Tech Tip on Solenoid Types and Circuits


Many of the remote mount solenoids look identical on the outside. However, they can be very different on the inside. Beside the different internal circuits, these can be rated for continuous duty or intermittent duty use.

Continuous duty solenoids are wound with very fine wire and draw very little amperage. The contacts in continuous duty solenoids will usually have a lower amperage rating than that of the intermittent duty type. These are normally used as tilt trim relays. This type of solenoid can also be used for a variety of applications where a remote relay is needed to power a motor or other device.

Intermittent duty solenoids are wound with much heavier wire and draw more amperage. The contacts have a very high amperage rating. If these stay energized for extended periods of time they heat up and eventually burn out the coil inside the solenoid. This type of solenoid is normally used as a starter motor relay.



One end of the coil is grounded to the mounting base. This type solenoid must mount on a grounded surface or a ground must be attached to the base. 




Both ends of the coil in this unit are insulated. A separate ground must be connected and this type of solenoid can be mounted on any surface. 



This type of solenoid is normally used for starting motors. Since conventional ignition coils operate on 7 volts, the relay terminal supplies 12 volts to the ignition coil during starting for easier starts. The base of this solenoid must be grounded. 


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