Surepower smart solenoid

Submitted: Friday, May 26, 2006 at 17:58
ThreadID: 34301 Views:3219 Replies:4 FollowUps:9
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So I checked my 12v 2 battery system by checking both battery voltages and turning on lights. Yep, main one goes down 0.6V, aux doesnt move.
Then found the literature that comes with it (ah ha). Bla bla bla. Can have it automatic ...wired to ignition on, or a switch...I have switch. All well and good. BUT it also says that there must be 3v in the main kitty for it to work.
What happens when the voltage is below 3v ?(accidently leave headlights on) Both batteries go flat !!

Do all these "smart" solenoids need a minimum voltage in the main battery to make em work ? Sounds like I'd be better off with a "dumb" solenoid !!!
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Reply By: Notso - Friday, May 26, 2006 at 18:23

Friday, May 26, 2006 at 18:23

They rely on the power from the main battery to switch the relay.

You'd be unlikely to get it down to 3 volts?

You could always whack a manual battery switch and addition cabling to connect them. There's probably some good reason why you shouldn't do that though. I reckon someone will tell us before the nights out.

AnswerID: 174953

Follow Up By: Footloose - Friday, May 26, 2006 at 19:14

Friday, May 26, 2006 at 19:14
Thanks, Notso. Just seems strange. A relay doesn't need power unless switching something . No voltage means that its contacts are "at rest". But in this case at rest means both batteries are paralled. Now I would have thought that if there was no volatge in the main battery, ie relay is at rest, the two would be disconnected from each other. Apparently not .
FollowupID: 431036

Reply By: vinh n - Friday, May 26, 2006 at 19:13

Friday, May 26, 2006 at 19:13
*any* solenoid will need volts to close the contacts. if the main doesn't have it, get it off the the aux, i.e., wire switch to the aux instead.
AnswerID: 174963

Follow Up By: Footloose - Friday, May 26, 2006 at 19:30

Friday, May 26, 2006 at 19:30
You're right. I'm thinking relay not solenoid. A relay has a rest position where something is still connected, relays switch. A solenoid doesnt switch, it just connects. And the 3v is probably to fire a solid state device to operate the solenoid.
(takes me a while to warm up, doesnt it :)
But if the control wire goes to the aux battery, will it work ? That wire senses the charge voltage in order to function. Mmmm..maybe not.
FollowupID: 431040

Follow Up By: Pavo - Friday, May 26, 2006 at 21:22

Friday, May 26, 2006 at 21:22
Not sure what you mean by "control wire goes to aux battery". There is no control wire other than the 2 heavy guage cables you used to connect it all up. That is, the one from the +ve on main to the solenoid and then other side of solenoid to +ve on Aux (and -ve on aux goes to chassis). That's it!

Then all you need is 1 wire from the solenoid negative terminal to the car chassis. This will make it function as intended and is how I have mine installed. The 'rest' position for the solenoid is to have the batteries seperated - and you will notice that if you disconnect the -ve terminal it will automatically seperate them.

There are only 2 possible times both batteries will be paralled. 1. When main have more than 13.4 volts (indicating something is charging it) and 2. When you supply atleast 3 volts to the optional Start Assist terminal. As I have mentioned, I have only once supplied the optional 3V...rarely required.

FollowupID: 431057

Reply By: Pavo - Friday, May 26, 2006 at 21:11

Friday, May 26, 2006 at 21:11
Hi Footloose,

The 3 volts has nothing to do with your main battery. That terminal is for the "Optional Auxiliary Start Connection", and it can get the 3V from anywhere you like. Supplying 3V to that terminal will only force it to parallel so that you can get additional starting power by having both batteries paralleled. My opinion is that you should only force it to parallel is if your aux battery is in good condition and is a good cranking battery because if your main is down on power (which is the whole reason you are using the start assist feature), then forcing them to parallel will equalise the batteries as soon as you parallel them.

It does not anywhere say "there must be 3V in the start kitty for it to work". It only says "the start signal must be able to produce atleast 3V". The 'start signal' can come from anywhere - it's only to force it to parallel.

In my car, I have only ever once forced it to parallel by supplying atleast 3V to that terminal and that was when I went on holidays (leaving my car to sit for 2 months) and the main battery went a little low because it sat idle and the immobiliser would have drained it a little. Paralleling with my aux (which is an idential batt) gave me enough to start the car.

Now, having it permanently wired to the ignitition means that the start signal terminal will receive 12V from the start signal when you turn the key (at the position of when the starter turns over). This means that every time you start the car you are supplying the Smart Solenoid 12V and it will parallel the batteries. Each time you start the car. You mention you have a switch, which means that unless you flick the switch, you will not be forcing it to parallel. (Obviously depending on which way you flick it!)

Remember that it doesn't care where it gets the 'optional' 3V...that can be via a switch, a start signal. It can even come from a 9V battery, I imagine. Fact is, it only needs atleast 3 volts. Can come from Aux or main - up to you.

It does NOT need 3V in the main kitty. If there was only 3V in the main kitty, then the batteries would be seperated (as they seperate at 12.4 volts or something) and your aux and main would drain independantly. And if there was only 3V in the main, you should find out why it only has 3V!!!!! That would be strange. Leaving your lights on would drain it, but like I said - you aux would not drain in this situation.

The unit works very well - and if you mean by "dumb" solenoid a "normal" solenoid, then I'd doubt you'd be better off with it. I'm not an expert in automotive electronics, but I know how the Smart Solenoid works...I think that with modern EFI cars with computers, a normal solenoid will not protect against voltage spikes.
AnswerID: 174985

Follow Up By: Graham56 - Friday, May 26, 2006 at 23:01

Friday, May 26, 2006 at 23:01
Hi Pavo,
Just quick question as you seem to have a good idea of how it all works.
I am using this soleniod you are talking about and have it wired for the optional auxiliary start, if wired this way and parallels every time I start the truck am I correct in assuming this could in fact leed to a case of the main battery dying slowly over a period of time with out it being noticed?

Regards Graham
FollowupID: 431067

Follow Up By: Pavo - Saturday, May 27, 2006 at 09:17

Saturday, May 27, 2006 at 09:17

It would not be the cause of your main battery dying, but yes, if your main is infact not up to scratch and dying a slowish death, you will not know because you will have been starting with the assistance of the aux each time. That's why I do not have it wired that way. And because my car certainly does need 2 batts to start it. Is there are a reason yours does - maybe it was wired that way for a reason?

I don't even have a switch - I simply carry a 30cm wire with an aligator clip on one end and female spade connector on the other and on the very rare occasions I need to force it to parallel, I simply use my wire on the start assist terminal and then pinch the aligator clip onto either the aux battery or main battery terminal - it doesn't care where you supply the (atleast 3V) from.

Hope this helps. I think if you supply it the 3V, it will only parallel them if your Aux battery has enough power to help out...that's what the brochure says.

As an aside, I know a lot about it because mine failed (must have got an internal short) because it stuck on parallel and drained both batteries completely. I have heard this is very rare and indeed I've had it for 4 years now and my brother had his for years and never any other problems. BUT, I had to demonstrate to ARB Moorebank that it was not working as intended because I installed it myself. The guys didn't want to listen to me and told me to wire up the OPTIONAL start assist and then it would work. They made me leave. I then called ARB in Wollongong as he has always been excellent to deal with and he spent the 30 minutes with me while I showed it to him. He gave me another one. I didn't even buy it from him and he spent the time to go over it with me. I've always had good service from him, so can highly recommend ARB Wollongong. Moorebank ARB were also very good when I faxed them a letter and he sent me out an NRMA 4WD camping destinations book and video of the Outback challenge for my trouble. So all is well!


FollowupID: 431089

Follow Up By: Footloose - Saturday, May 27, 2006 at 13:30

Saturday, May 27, 2006 at 13:30
"it stuck on parallel and drained both batteries completely. " I wonder if I have a decective unit then, as thats exactly what happened when I inadvertently left the lights on ? Looks like more investigation is needed.

Many thanks to all who took the time to respond, its been both helpful and informative.
FollowupID: 431121

Follow Up By: Graham56 - Saturday, May 27, 2006 at 17:37

Saturday, May 27, 2006 at 17:37
Thanks Pavo,
Thats pretty much what I was thinking, and no my Patrol does'nt need 2 batterys to start, I fitted it all my self and wired it that way because the instructions said I could, what I might do is disconnect the soleniod ignitionwire at the soleniod but leave connected to the ignition put a cover over it and leave it there for if I ever need the extra to start it.

Cheers Graham
FollowupID: 431138

Follow Up By: Pavo - Sunday, May 28, 2006 at 18:39

Sunday, May 28, 2006 at 18:39
Footloose, are you 100% sure that the time you left your lights on, you didn't have your switch set to force it to parallel?

And secondly, are you 100% sure your Aux was drained too? Leaving your headlights on would have drained your main completely, how did you know that your Aux was drained too?

Those are the only 2 variables I can see present in your 'headlight' experience.

If the unit is faulty, then it must be intermittent because I am assuming you still have it installed and are having no trouble with your original post said - when you tested it, it definitely seperated the batteries when you turned the headlights on.
FollowupID: 431301

Follow Up By: Footloose - Sunday, May 28, 2006 at 19:06

Sunday, May 28, 2006 at 19:06
Pavo, yep 100% sure. When I came out there was no go. Ok so press the momentary make switch to bring aux online. Nothing. Ring wife (who grumbles that she was in a meeting...tough) to being some gear.
1st check voltages on both batteries. Huh ?? Nothing to speak of in either ! Less than 3v.
Charge 1 up with jump leads.
Away I go, still scratching my head.
After your post, checked that solenoid was making contact when button pressed, and isolating after that using your lights on method. All is well. Check connections for tightness. All is well.
However thinking back, I have replaced both batteries since then (I always do before a trip).
Intermittent perhaps ?
FollowupID: 431313

Reply By: wheeler - Saturday, May 27, 2006 at 07:47

Saturday, May 27, 2006 at 07:47
What pavo said. :-)
AnswerID: 175039

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