Total Newb - Want to make time delay vacuum release system

First off thank you in advance for taking the time to read this and for any help you are able to provide.

I am looking to automate a process I perform multiple times a week if not daily.

I use a vaccum pump to infuse wood in a vacuum chamber. I turn on the pump and let it run for 20 minutes, turn off the pump, and then release the vacuum pressure with a manual ball valve. I often forget to turn off the pump and will let it run for hours. It doesn't hurt anything other than I'm worried about burning out the pump motor and generally annoyed with using the extra power.

So this is what I'd like to do. Create a system that has one button and will do the following.

Press the button
Turn on the pump (release valve is normally closed)
Timer starts (20 minutes)
Timer is exhausted
Pump turns off
Release valve opens (10-20 seconds?)
Release valve returns to closed
The system reverts back to start

Is this something that a complete novice can or should take on? I have some specs and a valve that I was looking at. Oh, and I have an Uno that I used for uploading firmware to a 3D printer.

Pump - 2.5 amps Example of pump I'm using
Link to valve - 1/4inch DC 12V 2 Way Normally Closed Electric Solenoid Air Valve

From what I gather I would need some sort of relay to control the valve. And likely one for the pump as well. I'm not sure if timers can be created in sketches or if that is another piece of hardware.

Any advice would be greatly appreciated. I've been wanting to get into this side of prototyping but I have yet to have an application as my first go. I have difficulty with tutorials but appreciate the time that went into creating them.

I hope all is well,

It's doable. The Arduino can take care of the timing aspects using millis. You could write a program that just prints to serial what action it would apply to the pump and valve as a start.

You will indeed need external hardware to work the pump and release valve. A relay sounds plausible for the pump, although an SSR may last longer. Maybe one for the valve too, hard to say without more detail.

Do you have a pressure sensor to the system integrated to get a automated processing ?

Thank you for the reply! It sounds like I'm in the right place and worth a little digging.

I don't have a pressure sensor. I flip a power switch on the pump for on and off. I'm hoping I can set up system that takes my forgetting to come back and shut it off out of the equation. I may be over complicating things. Ha.

+1, totally doable unless you all thumbs.

And I second the idea of playing with the code separately from getting the relays or whatever into the picture.

Doesn't matter which you do first, just do the two parts alone

  • get some software printing plausible actions to be taken with the right timing

  • rig some relays and see that you can make them click, and that they can control your external components

For timing a simulation, you can always use shorter times, so you don't have to wait around twenty minutes to see that it did work - 1 minute would prove it, and trust me, will still be agonizing enough to sit through as you test. :expressionless:

then putting them together and you done.

Speaking of simulation, you can do a bunch of progress without any hardware, check out, it is really very convenient for testing little hacks and experimenting.


Thank you for your reply! I had no idea there were simulators out there! I am going to work through it with the link you provided. I'm realizing I need to start from the beginning and work through the basics first. The simulator will be extremely helpful for that as well. Big thanks.


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