Sequence valves control the sequence of operation between two branches in a circuit; they enable one unit to automatically set another unit into motion. An example of the use of a sequence valve is in an aircraft landing gear actuating system. In a landing gear actuating system, the landing gear doors must open before the landing gear starts to extend. Conversely, the landing gear must be completely retracted before the doors close. A sequence valve installed in each landing gear actuating line performs this function. A sequence valve is somewhat similar to a relief valve except that, after the set pressure has been reached, the sequence valve diverts the fluid to a second actuator or motor to do work in another part of the system. There are various types of sequence valves. Some are controlled by pressure, some are controlled mechanically, and some are controlled by electric switches.
Pressure-Controlled Sequence Valve
The operation of a typical pressure-controlled sequence valve is illustrated in Figure 12-36. The opening pressure is obtained by adjusting the tension of the spring that normally holds the piston in the closed position. (Note that the top part of the piston has a larger diameter than the lower part.) Fluid enters the valve through the inlet port, flows around the lower part of the piston and exits the outlet port, where it flows to the primary (first) unit to be operated. [Figure 12-39A] This fluid pressure also acts against the lower surface of the piston.When the primary actuating unit completes its operation, pressure in the line to the actuating unit increases sufficiently to overcome the force of the spring, and the piston rises. The valve is then in the open position. [Figure 12-39B] The fluid entering the valve takes the path of least resistance and flows to the secondary unit. A drain passage is provided to allow any fluid leaking past the piston to flow from the top of the valve. In hydraulic systems, this drain line is usually connected to the main return line.
Mechanically Operated Sequence Valve
The mechanically operated sequence valve is operated by a plunger that extends through the body of the valve. [Figure 12-40] The valve is mounted so that the plunger is operated by the primary unit. A check valve, either a ball or a poppet, is installed between the fluid ports in the body. It can be unseated by either the plunger or fluid pressure. Port A and the actuator of the primary unit are connected by a common line. Port B is connected by a line to the actuator of the secondary unit. When fluid under pressure flows to the primary unit, it also flows into the sequence valve through port A to the seated check valve in the sequence valve. In order to operate the secondary unit, the fluid must flow through the sequence valve. The valve is located so that the primary unit moves the plunger as it completes its operation. The plunger unseats the check valve and allows the fluid to flow through the valve, out port B, and to the secondary unit.
A priority valve gives priority to the critical hydraulic subsystems over noncritical systems when system pressure is low. For instance, if the pressure of the priority valve is set for 2,200 psi, all systems receive pressure when the pressure is above 2,200 psi. If the pressure drops below 2,200 psi, the priority valve closes and no fluid pressure flows to the noncritical systems. [Figure 12-41] Some hydraulic designs use pressure switches and electrical shutoff valves to assure that the critical systems have priority over noncritical systems when system pressure is low.
Quick Disconnect Valves
Quick disconnect valves are installed in hydraulic lines to prevent loss of fluid when units are removed. Such valves are installed in the pressure and suction lines of the system immediately upstream and downstream of the power pump. In addition to pump removal, a power pump can be disconnected from the system and a hydraulic test stand connected in its place. These valve units consist of two interconnecting sections coupled together by a nut when installed in the system. Each valve section has a piston and poppet assembly. These are spring loaded to the closed position when the unit is disconnected. [Figure 12-42]
A hydraulic fuse is a safety device. Fuses may be installed at strategic locations throughout a hydraulic system. They detect a sudden increase in flow, such as a burst downstream, and shut off the fluid flow. By closing, a fuse preserves hydraulic fluid for the rest of the system. Hydraulic fuses are fitted to the brake system, leading edge flap and slat extend and retract lines, nose landing gear up and down lines, and the thrust reverser pressure and return lines. One type of fuse, referred to as the automatic resetting type, is designed to allow a certain volume of fluid per minute to pass through it. If the volume passing through the fuse becomes excessive, the fuse closes and shuts off the flow. When the pressure is removed from the pressure supply side of the fuse, it automatically resets itself to the open position. Fuses are usually cylindrical in shape, with an inlet and outlet port at opposite ends. [Figure 12-43]