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Thread: Using 6-volt o.d. solenoid with 12-volts

  1. #1
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    Using 6-volt o.d. solenoid with 12-volts

    In a car that has had its electrical system converted from six to 12-volts, is there any reason the six-volt overdrive solenoid couldn't be retained as long as it gets its power from the same voltage-drop device that would be used for the gauges, fan motors and radio? I notice that the solenoids are generally replaced with a 12-volt unit, but is it absolutely necessary? Again, just curious. Thanks.

  2. #2
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    I doubt you will find a voltage drop device that can handle the current demands of the solenoid, or the fact that it pulls a heavy current for "pull-in", and then switches to a lower current for "hold". That, and the fact that as an electromagnet, it's prone to generate a high-voltage self-inductive jolt, when it shuts off. Solid-state electronics don't like that, and a simple dropping resistor can't handle the dual-load aspect. The 12 volt solenoid is by far the simplest, cheapest, and easiest answer.
    Gord Richmond, within Weasel range of the Alberta Badlands

  3. #3
    President Member RadioRoy's Avatar
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    Yes. replacing the solenoid is absolutely necessary. As Gord explained, the solenoid has a high draw when energizing and a lower draw while staying energized. No single resistor can accommodate that.

    Or, you could try what you are suggesting and then either have it fail miles from home, or have the wires burn up. Be sure to carry a fire extinguisher and install a battery quick disconnect.
    Last edited by RadioRoy; 01-14-2019 at 02:37 PM.
    RadioRoy, specializing in AM/FM conversions with auxiliary inputs for iPod/satellite/CD player. In the old car radio business since 1985.

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    Thanks guys. No, I'm not really into fires, and I figured there was a reason people changed the solenoids. I just wanted to know why.

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    actually I've been running that way for 20 years. No fires yet. However i did have one from the regulator when I was a kid. LOL

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mrs K Corbin View Post
    actually I've been running that way for 20 years. No fires yet. However i did have one from the regulator when I was a kid. LOL
    Getting by and best science are not always the same.

    Yes, I’ve run six volt starters and overdrive solenoids on twelve volts. They functioned perfectly until they didn’t.

    But then one six volt starter lasted years longer than the twelve volt which replaced it.

    Jack Vines
    PackardV8

  7. #7
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    Agreed. But I'm too CASO to do otherwise. I do keep spares.

  8. #8
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    I used 6volt OD. solenoid on 12 volts, lasted over a year before car was sold, never heard from buyer about problem with it.

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