Depending on the build of your switch, this
may be easy or difficult to access and clean
using very light emery polishing paper or
perhaps just a rough clean rag. It can be a
particularly worrisome problem because often
the plunger gets stuck in the down position,
meaning that the horn won’t turn off. This
problem is far worse if the momentary switch
is being used to start an engine. I’ve seen
these switches stick down in this application,
causing the starter solenoid to remain activated, and thus continuing to run the starter
after the engine has fired off. This can quickly
ruin a very expensive starter and related components and is a good reason to replace these
relatively inexpensive switches regularly.
in the open end of the solenoid. It is held in
position by springs. The magnetism from the
coil overcomes the springs’ resistance, pulling
the shaft in. This does two things in a typical
starter arrangement. The shaft, as it is pulled
to the end of its chamber, pulls the starter’s
gear out so that it engages the engine. But the
other end of the shaft, as it is thrust forward,
contacts and pushes a “button” which is
essentially another momentary switch.
(g) Cap being removed from top of
starter solenoid revealing the wires
leading down to the coil in the coil
casing. (h) Without the cap in place to
hold the spring down, the copper contact disk (note pitting from arcing) is
touching the terminal post as it would
be if the engine were being started.
(i) The plunger assembly for the contact disk is the “button” pushed by
the shaft in the coil casing.
WHEN ONE SWITCH
The solenoid on an engine starter illustrates
a multifaceted application of this type of
switch. Instead of utilizing the muscle power
from your finger to push the plunger, you
utilize 12-volt current by turning the key
or pushing the starter button, which sends
the current to wires in the wall of the sole-
noid, creating magnetism. The “finger” in
the engine solenoid is the heavy metal shaft g
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