Solenoid Project---question about using a variac

Discussion in 'The Projects Forum' started by Brownsfan93, Mar 7, 2013.

  1. Brownsfan93

    Thread Starter New Member

    Mar 7, 2013
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    I am currently part of a group of students making a fairly large solenoid. We are planning on using a variac to control the amount of current going through the solenoid. We looked up a few variacs and we found a lot similar to this Variac

    none of us are EE students (surprisingly we are mostly aero students, and electronics are not our strong suit), so we occasionally run into questions. One question is with using the variac to supply the varying current. As seen in the link, the output on the variac is a standard outlet 3-prong plug. We were wondering how to get the power to the solenoid. Is it as simple as finding a plug then splitting the wire and connect each of the split wires to opposite ends of the solenoid? or is there some kind of adapter that has alligator clips that we could get. This may be a simple question, but this type of thing is new to us so we are learning as we go! Any help will be much appreciated.
     
  2. MrChips

    Moderator

    Oct 2, 2009
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    You have to provide a model number of the solenoid and a photo or link to it.
    Sorry, you said you are building it.
    You are working with live 120VAC. Alligator clips are a no-no in this situation.
    You have to bring the wires of the solenoid to a proper connector, terminal block, crimp or screw caps,
    preferably in a junction box.
     
    Last edited: Mar 7, 2013
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  3. Brownsfan93

    Thread Starter New Member

    Mar 7, 2013
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    what kind of connectors do you recommend? we are using 20g wire and then need to connect it to the variac
     
  4. MrChips

    Moderator

    Oct 2, 2009
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    What is the voltage and current requirements of the solenoid?
    What size wire are you using for the solenoid?
     
  5. Brownsfan93

    Thread Starter New Member

    Mar 7, 2013
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    sorry just updated my last post....but we are using 20ga wire. Also the project is being used to sort of show the difference in varying the current through the solenoid so there is no "set" current that we will have, that is why we wanted to use a variac.
     
  6. MrChips

    Moderator

    Oct 2, 2009
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    Get a spare computer power cable, a junction box and screw caps.
    Cut off the socket end of the power cable and throw away.
    Wire inside the junction box, looking something like this, clamp the cables going in/out of the box:

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Mar 8, 2013
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  7. crutschow

    Expert

    Mar 14, 2008
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    What is the resistance of the solenoid? What is the maximum solenoid current you need? That current can not be larger than the input current rating of the Variac.
     
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