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I read somewhere that keeping a solenoid activated is bad for it (overheating or something). Is this the case, assuming that the power supplied to the solenoid is of the correct voltage, or is it OK to keep a solenoid powered for long periods of time?

EDIT: Just to add to this, it seems that one contributor to solenoid burnout is the inrush vs holding current. Some solenoids are apparently "continuous duty" vs "intermittent duty" (http://www.thefreelibrary.com/Solving+solenoid+burnout.-a011845237). The one I am interested in specifically is this: http://www.amazon.com/0837L-Open-Frame-Solenoid-Electric/dp/B00AOCAETQ/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1461097053&sr=8-1&keywords=lock+type+solenoid

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Most common solenoids are driven by a short high voltage pulse (which is required to overcome BEMF and still provide enough current to keep the force). Then after the pulse voltage is reduced. Not to zero (this is release) but to some small value, so it keeps enough current~=force to hold it. And yes, if you keep the high voltage for long time- you will overheat and burn it, because basically it's just an inductor with low DC resistance.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Yup. TI makes solenoid drivers that take care of this \$\endgroup\$ – Scott Seidman Apr 19 '16 at 21:29
  • \$\begingroup\$ This is a nice feature, but in industry solenoids are mostly still activated with constant voltage source by means of relay or PLC output. Some high speed pneumatic valves have the inegrated electronics that opereates as described by you. \$\endgroup\$ – Marko Buršič Apr 20 '16 at 7:17
  • \$\begingroup\$ Marko, i am not sure about industry other than the few machines i met, but i saw this feature in all solenoids. I am speaking at least about a 3dprinter, a cash counting machine and a sewing machine. All three had different sized solenoids. \$\endgroup\$ – Gregory Kornblum Apr 20 '16 at 7:20
  • \$\begingroup\$ @GregoryKornblum Is there a kind of module that you can buy, perhaps for industrial environment? Or you saw the electronics part soldered on embedded control board? \$\endgroup\$ – Marko Buršič Apr 21 '16 at 11:02
  • \$\begingroup\$ In all cases it wasn't Integrated component. Twice it was something like small servo with current loop, and in 3dprinter it was a small board coming with the solenoid, on which was a boost converter and the pulse rapidly discharged it's output cap into solenoid, so after the cap was empty, the current flew through boost diode, with lower voltage. \$\endgroup\$ – Gregory Kornblum Apr 21 '16 at 16:09

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