I do have it setup as an emitter follower switch,
Highly recommended BTW. http://www.amazon.com/Practical-Electronics-Inventors-Paul-Scherz/dp/0071771336) and researching on my own.
C = (I * t)/V = (0.8 * 1.5)/2 = 0.6 Farads.
The problem is your connection to the solenoid power supply.Take a good look at the following symbol and then tell me which terminal of the battery your solenoid is connected to (+ or - ?)
The negative ("-") terminal of the battery should be connected to ground. (not your solenoid)
Are you telling me that you measured 12V across your AA battery pack terminals and you connected the NEG terminal of the SOLENOID to the NEG terminal of the battery pack and then briefly touched the POS terminal of the solenoid to the POS terminal of the battery pack and the solenoid DID NOT ENGAGE ? Is that what you are telling me ?
The full pack gives 11.89v at ~9amps
The full pack gives 11.89v at 0.9 A (900 mA)