12V Solenoid Engine - Video





Introduction: 12V Solenoid Engine - Video

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A sneak preview of a solenoid engine I am working on.  I have now reached the stage where the engine runs.  There is still allot of work to do including a proper base, better wiring, a governor and I plan to run the engine with a solar panel.

I plan to do a full instructable when I have completely finished with the project.

It is made from Aluminium scraps, bearings from a RC car and  parts scavenged from old computer drives and a video recorder, the engine uses a solenoid from an old telephone exchange

Thanks for looking

The full step by step Ible has now been added to my account.



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Dr Qui,

It is a remarkable project. You have inspired, rather convinced me that I should do a project using solenoid. So I ordered a solenoid coil. I am still not sure what I want to build. This coil operates at 110 Volts. I noticed that if I leave it on for more than a few seconds it gets hot. Since I was not sure how hit will it get, I disconnected it. So, I have a few questions on this behavior. I wonder if you can answer them for me please.

1. Do the coils get very hot?
2. Is it okay is I keep the circuit closed and they remain hot for say five minutes.
3. Your project energizes the solenoid at a constant frequency, I am assuming that should be okay with the coil.

I would greatly appreciate your comments.

2 replies

Check out this website The Old Model Company you should e able to get some good design ideas from the videos on this site. I'm very interested by the Froment engine and revolving armature engines as they are the predecessors to our modern electric motors.

Take a look on the torrent sites for a video called secrets of the electric motor, if you can find it it will you more information than i can.

The solenoid i used was from an old telephone exchange and was rated for 50v i only run 12v through it and i don't seem to get hot if running for a few minutes, I have never had this running for more than a few minutes at time for I don't know how long it would run before becoming hot.

Where is the "clicking" coming from? Is it from the L-Shaped link or the armature actually contacting the solenoid, or what?

Did you think of using a 'sliding-core' solenoid? that could then drive the 'input-side' of the beam directly.

Just thinking out loud...

1 reply

The clicking is greatly exaggerated my my cameras sound recording, and it was also amplified by the wooden bench.

The clicking is coming from the metal screw of the cam hitting the metal arm on the switch.

Check out the full step by step Ible.

I would have used a sliding core / plunger type solenoid if I had one big enough at hand that was not prone to overheating.

If I had mounted the flap horizontally it would have taken more energy to lift the flap to its open position,  the L shaped link was added so the flap could be mounted vertically with the weight of the flap carried on the hinge pin, this reduces the force need to  cycle the flap back to its open position.

I dig these things.


Very nice! In the last couple weeks I've been sketching out a design for a very basic solenoid engine, under the assumption that it requires less precision machining than the steam engine I really want to build... any advice or resources to look at?

2 replies

Check this site out, I was going to buy one of these but the price put me off but also gave me the idea to build my engine. http://www.oldmodels.co.uk/

If you want to build something based around a solenoid you could try a Froment engine the Old model Company site has a nice example.  I am in the process of collecting bits and pieces to build a Froment engine only somewhat bigger than the OMC one.


You what happens when you assume things, you will need just as much precision to have something that will run smoothly. 

I have slight bit of play in the L shaped linkage that i would like to eliminate (about 0.1 of a mm) this causes some slap in the mechanism when operating.   On the other hand the beam is fitted with roller bearings used in  RC cars and has no play at all

I built a very small single cylinder oscillating steam engine at technical college some 20 odd years ago. I have to say that the larger engine was much easier to work with. 

I plan to build a large sterling engine approx 12 - 18" in the near future

http://www.john-tom.com/html/SteamPlans3.html  this has some good free plans.

Whoa, cool! I'm looking forward to the full "Ible!

1 reply

Thanks, it may be a while though, I want this to be a show piece and I still have a lot of things to do yet