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Know Your Gas Solenoid Valve!

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HenryHill

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I offer this bit of information as Public Service Announcement to those that are considering and or building a controlled combustion brewing rig. I do not have controls experience nor am I a safety expert. I am, however, cautious.

While 'Others Are Doing It', does not mean that it is desirable. More affordable perhaps, but with drawbacks.

The general purpose valves commonly bought cheap and used for combustion use are labeled for ONLY "Air/Inert Gas, Water, Lt. Oil (up to 300 SSU) service at moderate temperatures", by ASCO and STV, and other manufacturers.

LPG and NG are 'ert' gases and have a deteriorating effect on the seals of the general purpose valves. This implies that life of the seals are effected, with the possibility of lack of containment of the combustible gas. Yes, they will control the fuel gas for a time, but they are not rated for that use. So should an incident happen that could threaten your safety and the long term integrity of your brewing environment, chances are that your insurance company will not look favorably on your use of these valves for an uncertified use. Give them a reason to not cover a liability and they most surely will take it.

Also, integral enclosed wire junction boxes, NEMA ratings, high temp solenoids and specific wire connection terminal types are used for keeping unintended stray ignition under control.

This is the REASON that the 'Gas Shutoff Valves' for 'Combustion' use in 'Control of industrial and commercial burners' are offered. And why they are slightly more expensive.

http://www.ascovalve.com/Applications/Products/FuelGasOilSolenoidValvesData.aspx

These are 8210, 8214, 8030, 8040, 8256, 8262, etc, etc, series valves but the suffix (-G074, -G075, -G076, for the 8210 series, for example) denotes fuel gas ratings. The 8210 series designation alone does not specify the controlled media type, nor valve body material. Also, there are direct acting types and diaphragm types, so be aware of how your choice of valve actually operates, to match your intended use.

http://www.ascovalve.com/Common/PDFFiles/Product/8210_NC.pdf

CAN you use General Purpose valves for brewing? Sure, but for how long and how safe?

The STV Valve site does not show any fuel gas use valves as available, though they may be.

http://www.stcvalve.com/Process Valve.htm#2

"Process Valves: Complete line of solenoid valves for Air, Gas, Water, Liquid, Steam"

I'm just saying...

Myself, I would prefer to use a cheap aluminum combustion rated valve, rather than a bling General Purpose Stainless Body valve, (although I would most likely choose a brass body model).

Do whatever you want-but just KNOW.

Thank-you for your time.
 

Bobby_M

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Good post. I agree, on the cautious side. I personally do a lot of things that I would not recommend like using a plain old rubber hose for a temporary NG line to my brewstand.

I would feel more comfortable using a non rated valve on NG due to the lower pressure (.5 psi vs. 10-30 with propane). The other important thing is realizing how infrequently the gas would be in contact. We're not talking about 100% duty. Brew, open a purge valve and just flush the system with air. Do it again in 2 weeks or however often you brew.
 

MadWeezel

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I suggest the use of valves used for funraces. you will need a LP conversion kit, but they work well. Mine work on 24Vac so i need a low volt transformer, but it works.
 

Scimmia

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Great post, but I have to ask, you don't go by "Hank", do you?

You seem to know a lot about "propane and propane accessories".
 
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HenryHill

HenryHill

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Thanks, guys. I didn't want to rain on the automation parade but I have biting my tongue for quite a while on this. I just want people to know what the situation is.

In my other hobby, I go real goddam fast in a 21' boat with a built and dynoed 502. The boat weighs 3000 pounds, and I run on a 10 mile lake that is 275 feet deep. Ignoring coast guard rules on flame arrestors (boat air cleaners), spark proof marine starters, distributors and alternators, and non-approved fuel line hose can cost you everything you have tied up in the boat, whether it was the REASON that you had an insurance claim or not. Insurance companies don't want to have to pay claims, but these things are requirements for a reason-they save lives. Investigators LOOK for things that get them out of paying the claim-not for the cause of the accident. . Serious hot boaters follow these rules and urge others to, for the simple fact that chit happens. And nobody wants to lose their investment.

Same deal with electricity, fireplaces, combustibles like furnaces and hot water heaters, hell, even the plumbing in your house. If it ain't code, they ain't payin'.

Bobby, I understand the 'it's only once in a while' thing, but the time that valve sits and ages when not in use, with even just oxygen in the air, is wear and tear, just the same. Leave a car parked and don't start it for long periods of time and the seals go bad just from NOT being used/run. When put back into service, the thing leaks like crazy; look for the oil drip spots underneath...

And I, too, am one to tell you how to do things right, then do them in a manner less than I know better to. Human frailty... :eek:

Hydrocarbons kill the standard seals.

I know that the general purpose valves are plentiful, and in so being, cheap. But I would like to get off my conscience what I see as a potentially dangerous trap to fall into, by the uninformed. And an unnecessary one at that.

But, again, do as you please; I only mean to inform.
 

billtzk

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I appreciate the info Henry and I think it's good that you put it all in one thread. As you may have noticed from other related threads on this subject, I came to the realization that not all valves are created equal (or suitable for "ert" gases, as you say), so I'm getting different ones than the ones I first bought, as soon as I can locate some at a good (cheap) price.
 

Lonnie Mac

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Thanks for the VERY informative post Henry! :)

There is nothing like safety and I am truly glad you posted this! I really am a safety advocate, and like you, we all do things a bit on the dark side sometimes. Hell, look at my control panel on Brutus Ten! Do a reach-around on that baby and you’ll look like Don King! Honestly though my friend, I am quite sure that my fire insurance investigation will stop dead in it’s tracks the very second that they find out that I, like most, are brewing beer in the garage… First, they’ll want to prove to themselves that brewing beer is actually legal in America, and then they will be pretty peeved at the fact that I had three 100,000 BTU burners firing off at any one time in close proximity to my 10 gallons of lawnmower gas before I got drunk, passed out and my ASCO valve exploded.

So most all ASCO valves have the buna-n seals. At least mine do… They are impervious to aliphatic hydrocarbons like propane, butane and such… True indeed, ozone, weather, global warming and time, well, even my FJ Cruiser will give in to that one day! They indeed do not have a stamp, nor price tag indicting such a stature I agree, but they have served a great small purpose for the 7 years that I have had one hooked up to a propane tank at less that 1 (one) psi… Yep! Brutus 5 is still going strong although it usually just sits there unattended! So the ill result of one of my ASCO valves exploding a seal at .4 psi on brew day, in short of me dropping my cigarette, is nothing more than a wow; an unintended firing of a burner at the most I guess. Actually I couldn’t imagine that even happening, more like a very slow leak developing at .0001 psi at best that I wouldn’t even notice… Brutus already has a leak due to my poor welding skills so like most folks; my propane tank is turned off until brew day. I guess at 300 bucks each for the SC8210G37’s (100 bucks for two on eBay) they’ll do just fine holding back mother earth at 1 psi; and they have indeed!

I DO appreciate the seriousness of the safety factors that you inform Henry! Seriously I do… :)

Don’t mean to take away from that my friend… Just wanted to give another view!

Lonnie Mac...
 
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HenryHill

HenryHill

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Lonnie, I understand your support of your use of Buna N seals for apparent natural gas use with .5 PSI. But I don't want others, who may use propane upwards of 20PSI, to not realize that there is a better seal material available and what the specs of each type are.Some will want to make a choice based on the manufacturer's info and not just the type of body material.

I just want to clear up some points that I have found by reading the information at ASCO's web site, and then calling them to settle my own debate on what to use.

http://www.ascovalvenet.com/pdf/LiteratureRequest/ASCOTODAY_V7375R3.pdf

"General Information on Elastomer Materials Frequently Used

NBR (Buna "N", Nitrile)

NBR is commonly referred to as a nitrile rubber and is the standard synthetic elastomer for accomplishing resilient type seating or sealing of ASCO valves. It has excellent compatibility for most air, water and light oil applications. It has a useful temperature range of 0°F to 180°F (-18°C to 82°C).

FKM (Viton®/FLuorel®, etc.)

FKM is a fluorocarbon elastomer primarily developed for handling such hydrocarbons as jet fuel gasolines solvents etc., which normally cause a detrimental swelling to NBR. FKM has a high temperature range similar to EPDM but with the advantage of being somewhat more resistant to "dry heat". FKM has a wide range of chemical compatibility. It has a useful temperature range of 0°F to 350°F (-18°C to 177°C)"

Lonnie from their usage and selection chart, you would have been better served to use EF8210G087V. There are many more valves suitable for use with combustion gases, but most are aluminum or brass.

More info from Asco:
http://www.ascovalve.com/Common/PDFFiles/Product/Engineering.pdf

But, again, your call.
 

Lonnie Mac

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Excellent info Henry! You just can’t argue with safety. I’ll even here and now help you squash the stainless body idea. There a MANY types of ASCO valves indeed. I have on hand about ten different ASCO valves at the time and have used them in some of the most unusual manners. All but the two valves on Brutus are brass. I will tell you all that there is only ONE reason that I have the expensive stainless body valves on Brutus and that is because I got a great deal for two of these baby’s on eBay for a 100 bucks for both. Really, I wasn’t out for stainless valves that night, just some good valves. These are extremely great valves nonetheless; new for 300 bucks each, I got a steal! Now as to the EF8210G087V valves you mentioned Henry, we are talking 600 bucks new a pop. Man, I would just stand there and use a bic striker at that point!

Now stainless is not even remotely a requirement in gas valves. I got lucky! I would take Henrys advice and make up your own mind, and not be too picky about the body material or looks. As you can see from his info, there are MANY ways to go…
 

korndog

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colplink said:
These are extremely great valves nonetheless; new for 300 bucks each, I got a steal! Now as to the EF8210G087V valves you mentioned Henry, we are talking 600 bucks new a pop. Man, I would just stand there and use a bic striker at that point!

Now stainless is not even remotely a requirement in gas valves. I got lucky! I would take Henrys advice and make up your own mind, and not be too picky about the body material or looks. As you can see from his info, there are MANY ways to go…
Ah, one more wrinkle to deal with in my Brutus build! The Bic lighter is sounding pretty good. :)
 

Lil' Sparky

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Yeah, my $0.99 lighter will be replaced with another $0.99 lighter when it gives up the ghost. The most expensive valves I ever plan on putting on my stand are $6 brass valves that you turn by hand. ;)
 

Cyan

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I read this post when looking for cheap ASCO valves on ebay. I bought the EF8210G087V for $50 and the EF8210G087 $30. As you can see one has the "V", and one does not. The difference is the seal (which was explained on the 1st page of this thread). I will be experimenting the differences between the two seals, and I will post the results in this thread. It will be awhile before post those results because I haven't even started building the brewstand yet.
 

Catt22

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There are much less expensive valves available from these guys:

http://stores.ebay.com/valves4projects

FYI, I bought a 3/8" brass bodied 110v valve with Viton seals for about $35 from them. It's performing flawlessly. They have a very friendly and helpful tech support staff if you need advice on which valve would work best for your application and they respond quickly to email inquiries.
 

Catt22

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Catt22: That is good to hear. How do you control your valves?
I have a direct fired RIMS and control the solenoid valve with a Johnson A419 digital controller. It's working very well for me. My system operates basically the same way as a Brutus does only it's not a "Rig". I mounted the valve directly on a Camp Chef burner. It's more of a modular setup than a rig.
 

Catt22

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Do you have a pic by chance?

I too am looking to add a valve to my Camp Chef.
I'll take a pic and post it soon. The Camp Chef I have is the low pressure one with a ring type burner and leg extensions. This burner works well for direct firing the mash. It distributes the heat well and has good flame control at low levels. I also added a Honeywell pilot burner which works really well. The pilot burner is not automatic and it's not thermocouple linked. IOW, it's not fail safe, but then I don't operate the burner unattended.







 

jpalarchio

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I'll take a pic and post it soon. The Camp Chef I have is the low pressure one with a ring type burner and leg extensions.
Thanks for the pics. I have the same burner although yours looks like it has seen quite a few more batches than mine has!
 

Catt22

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Thanks for the pics. I have the same burner although yours looks like it has seen quite a few more batches than mine has!
It probably has as it is nearly 10 years old. It's not really as rusty and crummy looking as the pic shows. The harsh light of the flash exaggerates it a lot. The flash does that to me too. It can be quite alarming sometimes!:D
 

Cyan

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There are much less expensive valves available from these guys:

http://stores.ebay.com/valves4projects

FYI, I bought a 3/8" brass bodied 110v valve with Viton seals for about $35 from them. It's performing flawlessly. They have a very friendly and helpful tech support staff if you need advice on which valve would work best for your application and they respond quickly to email inquiries.
A Viton valve for $35 is a great deal. Are they made in China? Even if they are, at least they got good tech support. Thanks for the info.

That's how I got all my valves (1/2" brass ball valves for ~$3 a pop) from directmaterial (who gets it from China dammit) on eBay.

I bought the solenoid valves to test the theory discussed by Lonnie and "Hank" Hill. I use ASCO valves at work, so I already knew they are made in USA and were dependable. I got an additional $20 off the entire order cuz screwed up the order, so I got one for $40 and the other for $20. :D

I'll be using these on my single-tier propane/electric HERMS/RIMS rig. Heard of that one yet? I hope not. ;)
 

Catt22

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A Viton valve for $35 is a great deal. Are they made in China? Even if they are, at least they got good tech support. Thanks for the info.
The particular valve I bought from the Valves4Projects people is manufactured by a company called ECHOTECH. ECHOTECH is located in San Diego. It appears that these valves are made in the USA. The one I have is not stamped "Made in China", but otherwise I really have no way of knowing for certain. The overall quality of the valve seems to be very good. IMO, our homebrewing use of valves such as these is very light duty so they should last a very long time.
 
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