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Author Topic: Remote Starter Solenoid and Battery Disconnect Contactor  (Read 4785 times)
rv_safetyman
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Jim Shepherd


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« on: June 02, 2011, 08:40:37 AM »

I am asking these questions for a business project, but hopefully the answers will apply to our buses.  Besides, this forum has the best brain trust I have ever seen.

The background is that we have developed a new fire detection system for a company that will sell it into the huge industrial market (he is coordinating the suppression part of the system with the vendor of our suppression system).  He has a customer who wants to shut down all battery power if there is a fire.  That is a huge challenge.

Clifford has stated that a Detroit starter can take 900 amps.  That means that a disconnect (relay/contactor) has to huge.  

My approach is to divide the loads into separate circuits that can be shut off by the auxiliary relay in our system.   I have done a ton of searching, but have not found a good answer.  My approach is to put a remote starter solenoid right next to the battery (think Ford firewall mounted solenoid on steroids).  That relay/contactor/solenoid can be a non-continuous device.  Putting that in the system would make all high amperage cables to the starter dead except for starting.  I can't find any solenoid with a 12V trigger with 900 amp capacity.

The application would then have a second large capacity power feed for all other electrical components.  On the types of vehicles we are talking about, that could be as much as 300 amps, perhaps more.  I have tried to find a 12V triggered continuous duty contactor with that capacity.  I have found some candidates, but would love to see if any of you have any thoughts.

The system would also have separate leads for the engine ECM (will use a timer relay to shut off after something like 30 seconds) and a separate lead for flashers for on-road vehicles that will turn on the flashers in the event of a fire.  Right now, most of the applications are off-road.

Yes, fuses/breakers would offer some protection, but the customer wants the system to shut off the power.

I think all of this would be great on our buses, if we can find components that are not hugely expensive.  Studies suggest that there are a lot of high current (primarily battery cable size) electrical fires in buses and trucks.

Thanks for the help

Jim
« Last Edit: June 02, 2011, 08:58:28 AM by rv_safetyman » Logged

Jim Shepherd
Evergreen, CO
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« Reply #1 on: June 02, 2011, 08:56:35 AM »

Jim, look at www.texasindustrialelectric.com at the relay section those guys can fix you up


good luck
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rv_safetyman
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« Reply #2 on: June 02, 2011, 09:04:02 AM »

Clifford, those folks come up in every search.  I have searched their website and don't find anything with the current capacity that I need.  Some come close, but with a 28 volt coil.  I will try to call them and see if they have some thoughts.

At some point in time I want to see how hard it would be to remote mount a DD starter solenoid close to the battery.  That solenoid would only be used as a switch to send current to the regular starter solenoid.  Anyone have a good close-up picture of their starter?

Jim
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Jim Shepherd
Evergreen, CO
85 Eagle 10/Series 60/Eaton AutoShift 10 speed transmission
Somewhere between a tin tent and a finished product
Bus Project details: http://beltguy.com/Bus_Project/busproject.htm
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« Reply #3 on: June 02, 2011, 04:41:08 PM »

So if I understand this,
you have an "abundant" supply of 12vDC....and 110vAC is not desired/available.....
If then the rated contactors that you can source are operated by 24v DC coils, .....so if the disconnect is from a continuous duty "make" contactor, then the actuation of the disconnect would be momentary so that some other input after "incident" would re-establish "make",
then you could use this transformer in the "chain" of events to accomplish the 24v need.

http://www.solidapollo.com/12v-dc-to-24v-dc-step-up-transformer.html?gclid=CNvD1vW0mKkCFcLr7QodO2vdsw


Are you offering consult royalty..... Grin
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« Reply #4 on: June 02, 2011, 05:29:26 PM »

Eagle19952, that would solve the issue of the coil voltage.  Kind of an overkill, but I think there are smaller units.

I am still thinking out loud about mounting a DD starter solenoid on a pad and using it as the shut-off for the starting circuit (the most demanding).

As far as consulting fee, the way I tend to run my business is to loose money on each part, but make up for it with volume Grin.  Does not leave anything to spread around.

Jim
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Jim Shepherd
Evergreen, CO
85 Eagle 10/Series 60/Eaton AutoShift 10 speed transmission
Somewhere between a tin tent and a finished product
Bus Project details: http://beltguy.com/Bus_Project/busproject.htm
Blog:  http://rvsafetyman.blogspot.com/
Joe Camper
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« Reply #5 on: June 02, 2011, 05:37:33 PM »

Prevo uses a big honkin solonoid for the cassis battery disconnect on the XLII

 A simple toggle switch signals a standard bosch relay that triggers a massive solonoid. It is mounted very close to the batteries and they are very close to the starter in the back right door there.

Lower on the same panel are the 12 and 24 volt breakers for the front and rear feeds

I do not know its capacity. its about half the size of the previous photo has no fins. 2 big lugs and a small terminal. It has the ability to switch 4 8-D chassis batts but I think you have bigger or other issues if I understand what your trying to do.
« Last Edit: June 02, 2011, 05:40:35 PM by Joe Camper » Logged

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eagle19952
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« Reply #6 on: June 02, 2011, 06:04:04 PM »

I am still thinking out loud about mounting a DD starter solenoid on a pad and using it as the shut-off for the starting circuit (the most demanding).



Kind of an overkill, but I think there are smaller units.

Size 8-2/8" X 3" X 4-6/8"
You pays and you gets for whats you pays.... Shocked
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Donald PH
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« Reply #7 on: June 03, 2011, 04:33:07 AM »

Finding a continuous duty solenoid in the 1000 amp range is going to be a challenge and quite expensive.

There are DC circuit breakers in that range used in telephone power plants, but also pricey and you would need to develop an actuator of some kind.

So, how about a one time use device that opens the circuit, perhaps with explosive bolts or a CO-2 cartridge.  You would have to develop the device yourself but it might find a market in lots of new places.  Much of the hardware might already be available in the fire suppression industry.  I'm thinking specifically about the explosive devices that were used to discharge Halon systems in the past.

It seems to me that using a solenoid for an operation you hope never happens might not be the best way.

Here is a DC breaker/disconnect with shunt trip, but I would guess that it is several thousand dollars.
http://www.eeeusa.com/products/bd
« Last Edit: June 03, 2011, 05:14:58 AM by Len Silva » Logged


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« Reply #8 on: June 03, 2011, 07:31:07 AM »

Jim - did you consider using multiple contactors in parallel?   Connect the inputs and outputs with a copper bus bar and make the connections to the bus bar?

Or maybe this is what you are looking for?

http://www.texasindustrialelectric.com/relays_1119865.asp

Or something on this page?

http://www.texasindustrialelectric.com/relays.asp

Steve

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rv_safetyman
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« Reply #9 on: June 03, 2011, 09:21:33 AM »

Bingo!!  Steve is the winner so far.

I thought I had "searched" that website, but somehow I missed the 1500 amp starter relay.  That will take care of the start load and let us concentrate on the circuit for the rest of the loads.

In the second link, I took a quick look and I see that they have a normally close, continuous duty 150 amp relay.  I will spend a bit more time looking at that link - sure wish they had true search feature.

I am hoping to find a relay/contactor that is normally closed, continuous duty and in the 300 amp range. 

Thanks, as usual, for all the great help!!!

Jim
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Jim Shepherd
Evergreen, CO
85 Eagle 10/Series 60/Eaton AutoShift 10 speed transmission
Somewhere between a tin tent and a finished product
Bus Project details: http://beltguy.com/Bus_Project/busproject.htm
Blog:  http://rvsafetyman.blogspot.com/
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« Reply #10 on: June 03, 2011, 09:45:54 AM »

  The 686-905 relay is a 12 volt normally open relay rated at 500 amps continuous/1200 inrush.
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« Reply #11 on: June 03, 2011, 10:10:55 AM »

You could always make a signal inverter with a cube relay to make the normally open contactor normally closed.  If you google for the Bosch Relay Application Book, it has a number of handy applications, mostly aimed at the car alarm and stereo installers,  including the signal inverter.

Steve
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JWallin
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« Reply #12 on: June 03, 2011, 10:21:22 AM »

300 amps continuous at 12 volts is only 3600 watts, or about 1/2 horsepower. You might consider using a power mosfet, there are many options that can handle significantly more than that with minimal dissipation, and can be easily integrated into a digital control scheme. If you're making a commercial product, you may consider a more modern approach than a contactor.
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rv_safetyman
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« Reply #13 on: June 03, 2011, 12:09:01 PM »

JWallin, interesting.

I only have a fleeting knowledge of mosfet technology.  Can't quite picture that technology with 300 amp capacity.  That takes big cables and not sure how that all fits together. 

I will have to do my homework.

Thanks, Jim

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Jim Shepherd
Evergreen, CO
85 Eagle 10/Series 60/Eaton AutoShift 10 speed transmission
Somewhere between a tin tent and a finished product
Bus Project details: http://beltguy.com/Bus_Project/busproject.htm
Blog:  http://rvsafetyman.blogspot.com/
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« Reply #14 on: June 03, 2011, 12:59:31 PM »

Jim, check out welding and/or motor control topologies. You just need enough copper conductor to support your continuous load requirements with some safety margin. There are a number of ways to get at it, depending on your overall design constraints. One possibility is multi conductor cable utilized in parallel to spread the load on you pcb interface.
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« Reply #15 on: June 03, 2011, 07:55:52 PM »

OK, if you want to go the solid state route, this might be what you are looking for:

http://www.perfectswitch.com/downloads/Relay%20Data%20Sheet%20v1p1.pdf

They make a number of other items that may be applicable to what you are designing - solid state circuit breakers for example - check out the Power-Gate section of their web site....

Steve
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« Reply #16 on: June 04, 2011, 09:01:47 AM »

Folks, you are really bailing me out here.  I am coordinating your replies with my design person since some of this is over my head Shocked

He pointed out that JWallin's calculation of 3600 watts being 1/2 horsepower was off by a factor of 10 - should be 5 HP.  However, the wattage or amperage at 12 V is the main selection factor.

Today, I am going to try to make it through the huge number of relays on the page cited by Steve:

http://www.texasindustrialelectric.com/relays.asp

I saw at least one that was continuous duty and normally closed.  I think it was 150 amp capacity, which may be enough.  I am sure there are others on that page.

Steve, the perfect switch item looks really interesting.  I forwarded a copy to my electronic guru for his review.

You guys are such a big help!!!  The project is heating up and I really appreciate all of the great replies.

When everything settles down a bit, we may want to do a bit of brainstorming about how the selected components can be used to protect our buses.  The high current circuits in our buses present some significant potential hazards (consider that we could weld at least 1/2 material with 300 amps).  I, and I hope all of you, have proper size fuses on our house battery bank (mine is 400 amp), but I doubt many of us have protection on the chassis battery system.  Same is true of battery shut off switches.  I have one for my house battery bank, but not the high current chassis circuit.

Jim
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Jim Shepherd
Evergreen, CO
85 Eagle 10/Series 60/Eaton AutoShift 10 speed transmission
Somewhere between a tin tent and a finished product
Bus Project details: http://beltguy.com/Bus_Project/busproject.htm
Blog:  http://rvsafetyman.blogspot.com/
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« Reply #17 on: June 04, 2011, 09:45:12 AM »

Jim:  I have a manual battery disconnnect like the one seen here:

http://www.cooperindustries.com/content/public/en/bussmann/transportation/products/circuit_protection/series_15250_batterydisconnectswitch.html

It's mounted near the coach's 8-D batteries, works very well to kill all power when needed, and it will handle all the loads I've thrown at it when in the closed position, including starting.

If I were in the mood to improve it's functionality I'd consider adding remote controls - perhaps by marrying an appropriately sized double-acting air cylinder to its lever/handle, which could in turn be controlled mechanically or other options, such as solenoid valves, etc.

Modern techies might consider my approach primitive, but I have read enough on these boards to realize the most troublesome components in the modern bus might be electronic in nature.  And, if I were to flind myself in the throes of an electrical fire, I would be more likely to have a functioning air system.

ymv

tg
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« Reply #18 on: June 04, 2011, 10:28:12 AM »

Jim,just asking how do the Hybrid cars disconnect automatic with a problem they disconnect even when they sense moisture or heat

good luck
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« Reply #19 on: June 04, 2011, 11:10:26 AM »

. . . Studies suggest that there are a lot of high current (primarily battery cable size) electrical fires in buses and trucks.

I would have to question those studies, sounds like fear selling or buck-passing to me.
In my opinion, a simple starter circuit, capable of drawing full battery current, installed in a  clean workman-like manner, seems to be one of the most trouble-free and reliable of all circuits.

Usually a well designed OE starter circuit will outlast the vehicle, and that's including cables, insulation, connections. Unnecessarily adding connections and contacts to a high current circuit is usually an invitation to problems. Although I do feel there's at least some peace of mind to be had with a simple manual main disconnect.

I'm not sure of the specifics of your non-bus application, but I'll mention that some weld contactors, and electric lift-truck contactors, are well within range of switching the currents you've mentioned, although most of these applications have gone to solid state switching.

I'll also mention that once a circuit has gone into some sort of fire-starting dead short, there will probably not be enough ampacity left to energize any sort of magnetic coil actuated switch. With that, I would think that  your emergency application may be better off to rely on a current-held, mechanical drop-out, type  contactor.

Ted
« Last Edit: June 04, 2011, 11:13:21 AM by TedsBUSted » Logged

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« Reply #20 on: June 04, 2011, 12:06:15 PM »

Jim, just a thought here at a possible solution. When I worked construction, the elevator guys sometimes had to install a 'shunt trip breaker' on the elevator machine. Under normal conditions it acts like a regular circuit breaker in the on position, but in the event of fire a low voltage signal (usually 24v) is sent from the fire alarm panel to the shunt and trips it to the off position. Possibly you might be able to find something of the proper capacity to work in your situation.
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« Reply #21 on: June 04, 2011, 01:02:16 PM »

Ted, as far as high current fire information, one of the best I have found is:

http://www.onnettomuustutkinta.fi/Satellite?blobtable=MungoBlobs&blobcol=urldata&SSURIapptype=BlobServer&SSURIcontainer=Default&SSURIsession=false&blobkey=id&blobheadervalue1=inline;%20filename=gvty79bpq89a.pdf&SSURIsscontext=Satellite%20Server&blobwhere=1284990324385&blobheadername1=Content-Disposition&ssbinary=true&blobheader=application/pdf

There were two studies done, one in 2000 and one in 2001.

At the trade shows, I used to hear some pretty good stories from folks visiting the booth.  Several talked about having mechanical work done and then having either a fire or a total electrical failure from the mechanic mis-routing the cables or damaging them by stepping on them or dropping something on them.

Clifford, I have been wondering about the hybrid cars or all electric cars as well.  We have a company here converting some hybrid cars to lithium ion batteries and each battery pack (perhaps half a loaf of bread size and maybe 1 of 100) must have a PC board that can shut that battery off.  However, there has to be some sort of final shut off.

Ted, your suggestion about forklift contactors might just be the ticket.  The customer is in a market that would relate very well to that technology.  I will have to do some research.

thomasinnv, interesting application.  I will do some research on that as well.

Jim
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Jim Shepherd
Evergreen, CO
85 Eagle 10/Series 60/Eaton AutoShift 10 speed transmission
Somewhere between a tin tent and a finished product
Bus Project details: http://beltguy.com/Bus_Project/busproject.htm
Blog:  http://rvsafetyman.blogspot.com/
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« Reply #22 on: June 04, 2011, 07:15:09 PM »

DING DING DING!!!

thread drift....

TedsBUSted wins the prize!

Usually a well designed OE starter circuit will outlast the vehicle, and that's including cables, insulation, connections.

Most of our coaches are BEYOND the considered life span of the vehicle.

All the more reason to seriously consider some high amperage fire starting, or a complete rejuvenation of the high amperage components, including the cabling.

Electrical fires are a HUGE concern for the front line coach companies today. There have been way too many coach fires in the last 15 years caused by electrical issues.

Fire suppression systems are pretty much standard fare on both coach and transit.

happy coaching!
buswarrior
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« Reply #23 on: June 05, 2011, 06:13:40 AM »

DING DING DING!!!

thread drift....

TedsBUSted wins the prize! . . .

So what's the prize for drifting?
Maybe a Cole Hersee master disconnect switch?  Grin

With most vehicles, battery disconnecting is old hat, that's why I was trying to reply to rv_safetyman's original  non-bus industrial question.  But quietly drifting away again, I'll mention that with late 50's and newer wiring, plain old insulation deterioration is usually not near the problem it used to be with earlier cloth insulation.  And now with one of my prize-winning drifts back towards the center line, I'll say that many vocational trucks  and most heavy equipment applications are  usually equipped.with a manual disconnect located near the batteries.

With some applications, an in-cab remote disconnect is used. Remote disconnects are often seen on firetrucks. Remote disconnects can be both direct acting and relay-type. However, with a remote disconnect the main feed to the starter is not switched and remains "hot" at all times.

As to remote switching of the main starter feed, this has been done too; usually in a series-parallel application. Delco-Remy at least used to build a very heavy  two-terminal solenoid switch also. Externally the cap and studs of this Delco switch appeared to be identical to the typical Delco starter-mounted solenoid switch and I'm guessing that the internal components were similar too. Not sure if these are still in production because I haven't seen one in a long time. Hey was that just a good drift or what?  Wink

In closing, some combination of the above components would nearly completely isolate a coach's battery bank and maybe some also could be applied in rv_safetyman's industrial application. Be warned, today's electronics do not like the  spikes associated with heavy relays and their collapsing coils.

Ted
« Last Edit: June 05, 2011, 06:19:08 AM by TedsBUSted » Logged

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« Reply #24 on: June 05, 2011, 06:25:48 AM »

Delco still makes that part you can buy it from Texas Industrial those are sharp people why not let them design you a system.
 Jim I have had good luck with those guys in a commercial service never sent a project to them they could not solve DC or AC or a combination.
 I started using the owners of TIE back in the 70's when Wabco couldn't figure out their own design for the electronics on the scrapers they built also they solved problems on my LS 918 crane Link Belt couldn't.
I don't know they still do that work or just sell parts the 2 owners have to be way up years now  


good luck
« Last Edit: June 05, 2011, 06:54:02 AM by luvrbus » Logged

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« Reply #25 on: June 05, 2011, 06:39:54 AM »

oops, I put the thread drift sentence in the wrong place!

You get the prize for the "outlast the vehicle" line!

I think I'm the one that was sending the thread drifting.

thanks for your excellent detail!

happy coaching!
buswarrior
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