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Old 08-01-2012, 01:34 PM   #1
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No propane caused by failed solenoid valve

Our just over a year old (one week) 327DS Georgetown had no propane when we arrived at a campground last Friday. The tank and control panel gauges both showed lots of propane but I noticed that there was no light showing at the CO/Propane detector. The 5A fuse for the Safe-T-Alert system, located at the front end of the house battery compartment, was blown.

Investigation of the problem showed that the shutoff solenoid at the propane tank had a shorted coil and was drawing around 8A, almost 3x it's rated draw of 3A. It's also more than the 5A fuse will handle causing the fuse to blow. I discovered that the solenoid shutoff is NOT available as a repair item. The only way to get a replacement is to purchase a complete Safe-T-Alert kit containing the alarm and the solenoid. The solenoid supplied with the new detector is a much better one, with a metal shield around the coil and a current draw under 1A, a big savings for dry camping.

I decided to repair this using my service contract rather than trying to get Forest River to repair it past the 1 year warranty. I got two additional benefits from this repair:
1. I discovered that the service life of the detector is 5 years after installation. Shelf life of a new detector is 10 years.
2. The service tech that installed the replacement solenoid recommended installing a cutoff switch for the solenoid to eliminate its power draw when propane isn't needed but power is being supplied to the detector. A standard automotive rocker switch will do the job.

Phil
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Old 08-08-2012, 01:24 AM   #2
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I'm kind of curious where he installed the switch?
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Old 08-08-2012, 08:47 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Iggy View Post
I'm kind of curious where he installed the switch?
me too and where did he install said switch
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Old 08-08-2012, 11:42 AM   #4
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The service tech didn't install the cutoff switch. I purchased a round hole LED lit 15A rocker switch from a local auto parts store for $4. I then had to purchase a 13/32 Speedbore bit ($4.15 at Lowes) to drill a clean hole for it. I drilled the hole about 2.5" above the detector and 1.5" from the left edge of it. This placed the switch above the hidden (and badly installed) backing supports for the detector, with easy access through the hollow wall. Three leads were soldered to the switch then protected with heat shrink tubing.

The + lead from the switch is wired to the white lead from the detector that goes to the solenoid. The switched lead from the switch goes to the solenoid, which is a yellow wire in my 327DS. (The white and yellow wires were connected before the modification.)The ground wire from the switch was added to the existing ground wires in the wall behind the detector.

This is now working perfectly. When we don't need any propane, a flip of the switch cuts power to the solenoid, shutting off the propane. We can turn on the propane only when we need it; primarily for hot water, cooking and, when dry camping, the fridge. Cold weather travel will also require propane for the furnace. I'm expecting the primary use of the switch will be for loading and unloading when I need power available for lighting but don't need propane or the battery draw of the solenoid.

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Old 08-08-2012, 12:52 PM   #5
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It is a great MOD and have added it to my collection for future installation.
At present time whenever I leave the MH in storage I hit my master Battery Switch which kills all power which also shuts down the propane detector.

If I was on total electric and didn't need any propane I can see how this switch could come in handy and save the coil from burning up over time.
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