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Best way to control solenoids from computer?

I got a Pololu controller for a stepper motor. Very happy with the purchase. There is good video documentation, an app with a UI for control, and a Python library for running from command line.

What I’d like to know is which product would best to control up to 8 solenoids with. I just need to control when to send 12v to each of the solenoids. I know a simple bank of relays would do the job but the catch is that I want to do so from a Python app. I found other products out there but I’d rather stick with Pololu because I feel confident that I can get it working without having to go through a bunch of grief.

I think I want something like the Maestro. It does exactly what I want except I only see examples for servos and I don’t see any reference to it being able to drive solenoids so I don’t know if the pinouts will work.

Hi.

The Maestro is not appropriate for controlling solenoids directly, but you could use it to control a bank of relays like our 12V relay carriers. Using relays with the Maestro would only let you drive the solenoids in one direction. If you need to driver them out and back, you could use multiple Simple Motor Controllers. The SMC has several interface options including USB, serial, and I2C. Please note though that each SMC can only independently control one motor, so you would need 8 controllers for 8 solenoids.

-Claire

Thanks. So my initial assumption was correct that you don’t carry anything single product that can do for solenoids what you can do for servos or steppers? I don’t think using a Maestro in conjunction with other components would be the best solution for my project.

I would understand if you didn’t want to suggest products from other companies but if you have any recommendations, I’d appreciate hearing what someone from the industry would say is a good option for me.

Do you have any plans for a product like what I’m describing?

Thanks again for your help.

We don’t have any current plans for a relay board like that, but thanks for the suggestion! We’ll keep it in mind. There are various USB relay boards out there. I haven’t personally tried any though, so I don’t have any recommendations. If you try something out and like it, we would be happy to hear about it.

-Claire