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Thread: Mounting Starter Solenoid Upside Down

  1. #1
    Darrel Starr's Avatar
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    Mounting Starter Solenoid Upside Down

    I don't think this subject has been covered in a previous thread or how well known this tidbit is: The starter solenoid/Relay should be mounted upside down.
    I am bringing this up because I recently got a PM from someone who saw my installation and asked why I mounted mine that way.
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    The reason for mounting the relay upside down is to minimize the chances of the starter becoming inadvertently engaged in flight in turbulence -- or that rare bad landing. Mounting the relay upside down means that both gravity and the return spring are working in a favorable direction to keep the coil core from making electrical contact. Also in the event of a spring failure the core will not move toward the contacts when not purposely engaged.
    Here are a couple of links on this subject:
    http://www.vansairforce.com/communit...ad.php?t=43823
    http://www.eaavideo.org/video.aspx?v=1198141598001

  2. #2
    8GCBC's Avatar
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    Thank you. Got more than my worth from the $25 member ticket on this site for above post. Very clearly stated! With info (links) to back it up too.

  3. #3
    mike mcs repair's Avatar
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    uummmmmm.... bs....

    is this is like mounting your landing gear on top of your plane.. in case you put it upside down .....RARELY!????

  4. #4
    Gordon Misch's Avatar
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    Darrel, have you run numbers on this? Mass of the plunger, spring constant and such? Not giving you a bad time, honest question.
    Gordon

    N4328M KTDO
    My SPOT: tinyurl.com/N4328M (case sensitive)

  5. #5
    Darrel Starr's Avatar
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    Haven't run any numbers but the logic is sound so why not follow the logic? Doesn't cost a dime.

  6. #6
    Chuck Avon's Avatar
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    Darrel that solenoid has been in use on ford autos since the 1930's and ford mounted them the same way you propose in your photo here is photo of 1967 mustang under hood with the same type relay

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  7. #7
    aktango58's Avatar
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    Gee Chuck, say you posted and was wondering how you could stand you your head while starting
    I don't know where you've been me lad, but I see you won first Prize!

  8. #8
    Darrel Starr's Avatar
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    Always knew those Ford Engineers knew a thing or two.

  9. #9
    Chuck Avon's Avatar
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    George when you fly 65 hp tcraft you don't need a solenoid just a girl friend that will swing the prop to start it no 337 or stc required

  10. #10

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    Piper mounted them horizontally on the battery shelf?

  11. #11
    8GCBC's Avatar
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    The post is entertaining BUT,

    As a FAA certified A&P I could not sign off the confirguration in (certified certificated) PART 43, 91, 135, or 121 inspection. I don't work on home builts (no money for rent) so I can't say in that situation.

    I would not even submit 337, because after working with relays for over 40 years they all fail open.

    Intersting read however! Keep the info comming I am learning...

  12. #12
    behindpropellers's Avatar
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    I guess piper did it wrong at the factory.

  13. #13

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    All being said, that's a neat underseat installation. Would the soleniod fit as nicely the other way around? Seems to me, whatever benefit would come through easier wiring - shorter leads with no crossing, etc.

  14. #14
    Darrel Starr's Avatar
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    8BCBC, could you clarify your last post, not sure what you were referring to and what you were objecting to. ???

  15. #15
    8GCBC's Avatar
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    Whoops, thought it was a home built alteration. It was really late last night. There SO many different "types" of aricraft on this on this site!

    From Piper, good to go! Please forgive. I will RTFM next time.

  16. #16
    mike mcs repair's Avatar
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    I should clarify my post,

    I DON"T care which way its mounted, it has NO effect!!

    that spring is plenty strong inside.

    I mount them both ways in order to get the terminals where needed.....

    (I now return you to your over engineering discussion..... I think that's called gold plating an idea....)

  17. #17
    8GCBC's Avatar
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    During manufacturing go with the best orientation of the terminals. But, would not flip the solenoid "up side down" after reading this post (on my aircraft).

    Thank you for politely clearing my brain out this morning.

  18. #18
    R. JOHNSON's Avatar
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    My brother had the starter engage in in his Pitts pulling less than +4g. Also seen it happen on a Marchetti 260 we maintain at the FBO I work for. Darrell, I think it's a good idea. Things get expensive real fast when the starter engages in flight.

    Ryan

  19. #19
    8GCBC's Avatar
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    Good empircal knowledge... Any solidstate relays available?

    I don't want a generator and an alternator charging my little G-25.

  20. #20

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    The reason for mounting the relay upside down is to minimize the chances of the starter becoming inadvertently engaged in flight in turbulence -- or that rare bad landing. Mounting the relay upside down means that both gravity and the return spring are working in a favorable direction to keep the coil core from making electrical contact. Also in the event of a spring failure the core will not move toward the contacts when not purposely engaged.
    Here are a couple of links on this subject:

    Darrel if you worried about a hung starter, why not just add the Texas skyways indicator SA09470SC its got the PA-18 on the list.
    http://www.airweb.faa.gov/Regulatory...3?OpenDocument

  21. #21
    Darrel Starr's Avatar
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    I was going to mention the "Starter Engaged" indicator light also. B&C offers a diagram with their products I think much like the Texas Skyways one. I used the B&C diagram when wiring N18SY.
    The indicator light is most useful when the starter relay "hangs" on start up. Then you can just shut down as fast as possible and trouble shoot the problem. In that case, if you are quick, you probably can save the starter.
    The inadvertent starter engagement in flight is much more likely to cause damage to the flywheel and starter gear but might also overspeed the starter. In that case, the indicator light mearly tells you that something expensive just happened. Best to do everything possible to assure that the relay doesn't contact in flight. Mounting the solenoid/relay upside down just adds a little insurance and removes a potential failure mode.
    Being generally lazy, I probably would agree with 8GCBC, install the relay upside down on new build and maybe on an existing plane if it is a straight forward change.
    http://www.bandc.biz/pdfs/starter_on_light_dgm.pdf
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    Last edited by Darrel Starr; 12-24-2011 at 10:43 PM.

  22. #22
    8GCBC's Avatar
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    The panel is CHERRY DUDE! Nice! And thanks for the rarely discussed dreaded start syndrome. It opened my eyes.

  23. #23

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    Darrel, I'm using the B and C starter. I have gotten myself confused reading the post on various part numbers for the solenoids. BC offers some. What did use use?

  24. #24
    Darrel Starr's Avatar
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    Glidertow, I think I bought my solenoids from Aircraft Spruce. I'll try to verify that but I'm sure I didn't buy them from B&C.

  25. #25
    skywagon8a's Avatar
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    Click image for larger version. 

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ID:	9622That little green LED next to the mag switch is wired like the B&C drawing above. It lights up any time that there is electricity available to the starter. That doesn't mean the starter is engaged, only that it has power available. The starter could be bad. This is only an electricity annunciation. After having starter solenoids stick engaged, I started installing these lights in any plane that I own. Once when starting my 185 to taxi from the dock to a mooring I noticed that the ammeter was pegged full charge. I thought that was strange. When I pulled the mixture at the mooring, the starter was still turning the engine. The only clue, which had not dawned on me, was the ammeter.
    Last edited by skywagon8a; 12-21-2012 at 01:00 PM.
    N1PA

  26. #26
    Darrel Starr's Avatar
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    Glidertow, I also have a B&C starter (BC315-100-2) as well as their 40 amp alternator and solid state voltage regulator.
    The starter relay (solenoid) and master relay came from Aircraft Spruce in 2004. At that time, the starter relay part number was 22735, now it is 11-03162.
    The master relay also in 2004 was part number 111-226 but now is 11-03161.
    Pictures below:
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  27. #27
    Roger Peterson's Avatar
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    One solution is to use a Vertical Power VPX and it will not let the starter engage while the engine is running. Also can sense the alternator output to drop out the starter sol if the alternator is outputting.

  28. #28
    Darrel Starr's Avatar
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    Roger, never heard of the VP-X until you mentioned it. Just looked at their web site. That one little box does just about everything including starter disabling. The $1200 to $1800 price tag is a little shocking but not if you are protecting $20K+ avionics I guess.

  29. #29
    Roger Peterson's Avatar
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    If you are putting much electrical in your panel, it can come out about a wash. I have one in the new one I am building and it is really nice. No breakers and you don't have to have any switches if you don't want them. Great diagnostics and you get a complete layout on your Skyview or whatever system you are using. It has really been fun working with it and playing with the future in wiring a plane, car or whatever. No shunts needed and full readout of the current used by any device or the total for the plane.

  30. #30
    Darrel Starr's Avatar
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    When you add up the circuit breakers, voltage regulator, etc, I can see how the $ would work out.

  31. #31

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    Mounting under seat batt. solenoids this morning.
    Better cable arrangement mounted upside down. got me thinking "is there a correct orientation"?
    quick Google search - low and behold! - Super Cub.org is the first hit "mounting solenoids upside down"
    what more could I ask for!!....

    Read through the thread, enjoyed all the bashing and banter, however, I'm still left wondering - what's the preferred solenoid orientation?....

    Thanks

  32. #32
    mike mcs repair's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Oliver View Post
    ..however, I'm still left wondering - what's the preferred solenoid orientation?....

    Thanks
    mount it anyway you need it to be, for the posts to be where you need them...

    (just re read this thread, lost of CRAP in it!!!!!!!) geesh!!!
    Last edited by mike mcs repair; 07-13-2014 at 05:53 PM.

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  34. #34
    Darrel Starr's Avatar
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    Ignorance is bliss. Do as you please. Mounting the solenoid correctly is free insurance. What is controversial about that? Who knows the minds of others???

  35. #35

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    Darrel, very prophetic reply.
    so... does that mean you are still advocating upside down?Or just further adding to the confusion of this thread

  36. #36
    n40ff's Avatar
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    I think I will print this thread out on soft paper and use it in the bathroom......

  37. #37
    180Marty's Avatar
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    My dad had the starter engage is rough air when he was spraying a field( I think he was dropping granules with the spreader for corn bores). It was in 1971 and the plane was an Aero Commander Quail with an GO-480 Lycoming. When he saw the smoke he landed in an oat field. Had to mow down some oats to make a runway for takeoff after the fix.
    Last edited by 180Marty; 07-14-2014 at 07:56 AM.

  38. #38
    Darrel Starr's Avatar
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    Still advocating installing the relay upside down as cheap (no cost) insurance. Inadvertent starter engagement does happen as several people have written about.

  39. #39
    skywagon8a's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Darrel Starr View Post
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    So Darrel, are these relays upside down or are the labels incorrectly installed on the relays?
    N1PA

  40. #40

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    ....here we go again...

    Thanks,
    there going in right side up - if viewed while standing on your head that is. Of corse then my flap handle appears to be on the roof, like a carbon cub, which, i think, is kind of cool...
    Last edited by Oliver; 07-14-2014 at 11:33 AM.

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