A single-cylinder mini-solenoid engine
Here’s a quick video of the circuit in action:
Solenoid motors are an interesting curiosity. They are quite impractical, as there are much more efficient mechanisms for converting electrical potential to kinetic energy.
But that doesn’t stop people building some impressive models like this V8 Solenoid Engine.
What I have here is much more modest - a “single cylinder” engine powering an impromptu-wire-art drive train. The mini-solenoid used here has a very small effective stroke - about 8mm - which necessarily constrains the gearing.
I was inspired by 30GB’s similar credit-card mounted model for the layout.
The switching circuit is completed by a ~135˚ extra rim on one of the flywheels. It makes contact with a free-standing wire during the “pull” cycle. The flywheels, axle and engine mount are all copper, so the base of the engine mount is grounded to complete the circuit.
The switch controls the power to the whole circuit:
- 12V battery (at the upper end of the solenoid’s voltage range for max power)
- mini solendoid with 1N4001 flyback diode
- an LED indicator with current limiting resistor