Controlling Multiple Solenoids through Additional Control Board Interface

Hi Everyone - New to the forum and a little fresh to the Arduino.

I'm working on a project that requires switching on different configurations/permutations of 8 solenoids. The maximum number of active solenoids in any given configuration is 5. Each solenoid is provided with its own control board, which needs dedicated power and has terminals for triggering actuation.

Solenoid: http://www.acroassociates.com/wp-content/uploads/1400N-NDBX5-910-0160-Cassette.pdf Control Board: http://acroassociates.com/wp-content/uploads/Model_900R_Solenoid_Controller_Product_Sheet.pdf

For now I am thinking of using the serial monitor as a means of selecting which permutation to activate, but later on I will be adding a rotary switch to have more of an analog user input.

In terms of power, I will be using either 12V plug or 5V from the computer to power my Arduino Uno, and am in search of a 24VDC 3A power supply to power the 8 control boards in parallel.

Can I get some feedback on how viable this setup is?

Looks viable. The Arduino UNO spec shows digital IO pin has 40mA capacity and the Acro solenoid controller shows it will accept a 5V input at 9mA max.

I could not determine what the exact power requirement was for each board from the Acro spec sheet. Here is a link to a 24VDC 4.2A power supply http://www.allelectronics.com/make-a-store/item/ps-2443/24-vdc-4.2a-switching-power-supply/1.html

For now I am thinking of using the serial monitor as a means of selecting which permutation to activate, but later on I will be adding a rotary switch to have more of an analog user input.

The serial monitor displays data from the Arduino.

For test purposes, it's probably easier to write a little test program that sequences the solenoids. (And, for software testing/debugging, you can use LEDs (with appropriate current-limiting resistors).

In terms of power, I will be using either 12V plug or 5V from the computer to power my Arduino Uno

That's fine.

and am in search of a 24VDC 3A power supply to power the 8 control boards in parallel.

The solenoid specs say 3 Amps per solenoid. If you intend to have more than one solenoid activated at a time you'll need to scale-up the amperage rating on the power supply. 24V at 24A is BIG power supply if you need to activate all 8 solenoids at the same time. But, if you need solenoids with that much mechanical power, that power has to come from the power supply.

adwsystems: I could not determine what the exact power requirement was for each board from the Acro spec sheet.

I believe it is 24VDC x 3A based on this document: http://www.acroassociates.com/wp-content/uploads/M900R-Dimensions-File.pdf

DVDdoug: The serial monitor displays data from the Arduino.

I thought I can interact with the Serial Monitor to direct inputs from my keyboard?

If not, I believe I can set up a few switches on a breadboard instead of running a sequence. The solenoids will be rigged in a way so that they are essentially check valves in a liquid flow circuit, and so we need to test different scenarios based on the different flow paths enabled/disabled. This requires more control over when we do want the solenoids active.

DVDdoug: The solenoid specs say 3 Amps per solenoid. If you intend to have more than one solenoid activated at a time you'll need to scale-up the amperage rating on the power supply. 24V at 24A is BIG power supply if you need to activate all 8 solenoids at the same time. But, if you need solenoids with that much mechanical power, that power has to come from the power supply.

The control boards are set at the same rating as the solenoids, would they not be powered simultaneously? At most, I need to have 8 active control boards and 5 active solenoids, so would this equate to 24V at 15A or 24V at (24A + 24A)?

Apologies if my questions are rather trivial.

When you are sure to have at most 5 solenoids on at any time, the power supply must provide 53A=15A. The solenoids will become hot, with 3A24V=72W each! In normal operation the attached pipes may work as heat sinks, and the fluid can transport heat away as well. Motor driven valves would consume less power (only while switching), and would allow for smoother open/close and consequential lower hydraulic shock. OTOH they would not close automatically on a power fail…

A supply for the possible peak load of 8*3=24A would be safer, in detail in the development stage with possible software bugs. Make sure that the solenoids are off after a reset, and while downloading your sketch! I’d suggest to use only LEDs for the initial development, until all intended sequences are implemented and tested. Once the sketch works with LEDs, it should work with the solenoids as well, except for eventual interference with the solenoid currents and EM fields.

You also have the option to connect only 5 solenoids for testing. When the driver boards have on-board LEDs, you can connect all modules at once, they also should light their LEDs without solenoids attached (check!).