Controlling vacuum pumps

I am attempting to use vacuum pumps to control air flow of a system and to pressurize it. I have no experience or knowledge what so ever in this field, so, I was wondering if you could use Arduino to control a vacuum pump and if so how.


Yes, you could use Arduino to control a vacuum pump. How you would go about that depends on what you mean by "control" and what the vacuum pump is.

If you want to turn on/off mains voltage vacuum pumps at a low frequency, you would probably use relays. Relays are electric switches. They allow you to switch a higher voltage/current load with a device that doesn't have the voltage/current capacity required to switch the load directly. The Arduino's IO pins don't even support the current necessary to drive most relays but you can get relay modules that allow you to plug the Arduino right in, or you can simply create the simple drive circuit yourself if you prefer not to use a module.

To clarify, I would like to turn the vacuum pump on for a minute and the off for a minute. Ideally, this would repeat indefinitely.

The Arduino is certainly capable of that. In fact you could do it with only small modifications to the File > Examples 01.Basics > Blink sketch which most everyone starts with, though File > Examples > 02.Digital > BlinkWithoutDelay is better if you want to do anything else with the Arduino in addition to turning the pump on and off.

So a good way to start is to control an LED in place of the pump. After that, you only need to figure out the hardware aspect of connecting the pump to the Arduino board.

You can probably buy an off the shelf timer module that will do that for you

But yes an Arduino will do the on/off easily. Programming is dirt simple except for adding some safety logic

As noted above you will need some sort of probably relay module to go with the Arduino since the Arduino operates at either 3.3 or 5 vdc output depending on the model - you will then need another relay or motor starter to probably drive the pump depending on the size and type of pump

NOTE: I am not that good on modules and don't know if you can go directly from an Arduino module to control a 120/220/440 vac motor

make sure the motor has some sort of protection so if something goes wrong you don't have a fire or explosion


Make sure the vacuum pump is happy with 1min ON andf 1min OFF, they can get very hot and rely on in built fan blades on the motor to cool them.

Can you run the motor continuously and operate a valve ON and OFF every minute?

Tom.... :slight_smile:

I would like to turn the vacuum pump on for a minute and the off for a minute.

Most motors are rapidly damaged by such rapid on/off cycling. The startup current surge is also hard on the electrical system.

Describe the air flow (volume, air speed, duct size etc.) you wish to control.