Most cheap pump can achieve, according to the Amazon page, around 5 PSI and I would need something a way higher that can still be controlled.

I have this solenoid valve.

enter image description here

Can I use pulse-width modulation (PWM) with a longer time period to control the flow of a pressurized liquid? Will that damage the valve? What is the accuracy of the valve?

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Are you asking if you can use PWM to make the valve act like a pressure reducing valve like this? If you are, i'd err on the side of saying no. I can't imagine it being accurate. If you are measuring the outlet pressure anyway, it'll be better to buy a pressure reducing valve rather than the expense of seperate monitoring guages etc. $\endgroup$
    – CraigC
    Commented Aug 18, 2017 at 17:45
  • $\begingroup$ Did it work the PWM control on the valve that you mentioned above? $\endgroup$
    – Barzi2001
    Commented Jan 2, 2022 at 18:35

3 Answers 3


It is possible to modulate the drive of some types of solenoid fluid valves to ultimately regulate the pressure of the fluid at their output port. I have designed a product that does excatly that.

However, you can't easily use any valve. You want a valve that is intended for part-way operation between full on and full off. There are such solenoid valves, but you shouldn't assume they can do this unless this is explicitly stated. These are often referred to as proportional valves, althogh they aren't necessarily all that linear.

Using PWM to control a solenoid is quite feasible. The product I mentioned did exactly that. You should make the PWM period short enough so that the current thru the valve changes little each cycle. Only the average current goes to driving the valve. The high speed AC component only heats it without doing anything useful.

Valves intended only for on or off operation are not suitable for this. You can PWM the solenoid, but PWMing the fluid flow causes a lot of mechanical stresses, pulses, and other problems. On/off valves aren't intended for that kind of operation.


Yes, you can control flow/pressure with an on/off solenoid, using electronic PWM. EPRs such as these from SMC do exactly that. The lifetime of the valves in # of cycles needs to be considered, as well as their switching time.


EPR Working Principle

However, if you want smoother control, you can use proportional solenoids, which can smoothly open and close to control flow/pressure. You still use PWM control usually to supply a constant current, however the frequency of PWM will be significantly higher with a proportional solenoid.

https://content2.smcetech.com/pdf/PVQ.pdf https://www.burkert.com/en/content/download/7480/229630/file/Product-Overview-Proportional-Valves.pdf?id=44

Proportional Solenoids


Controlling solenoid valve with PWM is feasible, however it is not accurate due to non-linearity of at the level of cross-section area of that valve. If you are willing to use it for level control purpose you can go on, but if you use it for pneumatic purposes this will make your mission more complex. Furthermore, most industrial pneumatic control valves as expensive, so consider the price too.


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