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How to Unstick a Solenoid

Updated July 20, 2017

Solenoids are electromechanical devices that aid in the operation of smaller parts in a wide array of devices, from doorbells to cars. An electrically charged coil of wire is wound around a movable slug of iron or iron. When the slug moves back and forth, the solenoid creates an electromagnetic force field that can move metal parts, such as valves and switches. The solenoid won't operate correctly if it becomes stuck. Fortunately, it's easy to unstick a solenoid.

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  1. Access the faulty solenoid casing. Consult your owner or user's manual as to how to access the mechanism with the faulty solenoid. This could be as simple as opening a compartment with your screwdriver or wrench or it could be a more complicated disassembly. With a few exceptions, the solenoid will be inside a casing.

  2. Tap the casing with a screwdriver or other tool. Solenoids become stuck for different reasons, but often the electromagnetic field has become overloaded by absorbing electricity from another part of the electronic device and the slug has stopped moving. Wear and tear to the wire or slug can also cause the solenoid to become stuck. A gentle tap on the casing is enough to dislodge the metal slug so that the solenoid can work properly.

  3. Reassemble your electronic device, following manufacturer's instructions for the specific piece of equipment.

  4. Warning

    If a solenoid continues to stick, it has probably worn out and needs to be replaced. Deterioration of the wire and movable metal slug can occur and will prevent the proper flow of electricity. If you are uncomfortable taking apart your mechanical device, consult a professional.

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Things You'll Need

  • Screwdriver or wrench

About the Author

Linde Aseltine's began writing professionally in 1992 for "The Hartford Courant." Her short fiction has appeared in literary magazines such as "Glimmer Train," and one of her scripts was featured in the IFP Market. Aseltine received her Bachelor of Arts in dramatic writing from the University of New Hampshire and her Master of Fine Arts in screenwriting from the University of Southern California.

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