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Hi I'm looking for a USB controllable (or less ideally a serial interface of some other kind) solenoid controller that can switch up to 8 small (<1A) solenoid valves with hit and hold*.

The best I could find is the phidgets 16x solidstate relay which acts as a low side switch but lacks the flyback diodes since the driving voltage needs to be external. I've used this in the past but without diodes it can't freewheel when outputting PWM and so the performance is poor.

Obviously I could add the diodes myself but I have more money than time so ideally an industry focused solution would be best.

*: "hit and hold" is a solenoid driving technique that drives a solenoid at DC for long enough to actuate the plunger (usually a few hundred ms) then PWM's the driving current to reduce power consumption (and HEAT!) while still holding the plunger in place.

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    $\begingroup$ You might want to edit your question to explain what "hit and hold" means. I've never heard of it in > 40 years of engineering. It may be a regional thing but you're on an international site and you have no location information in your user profile (which can sometimes help). $\endgroup$ – Transistor Sep 18 at 22:56
  • $\begingroup$ thanks. I didn't even think about the jargon. $\endgroup$ – user1816847 Sep 20 at 3:13
  • $\begingroup$ @user1816847, Have you considered a bi-stable solenoid. Hit - pulse for 20ms example, the hold action will be done by the magnet. If so I can write up a response for you, that might get closer to the solution you are seeking. $\endgroup$ – Mahendra Gunawardena Sep 23 at 1:30
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    $\begingroup$ did you have a look at ncd.io. $\endgroup$ – NMech Sep 25 at 8:01
  • $\begingroup$ I have never heard of hit and hold either, but the control method seems solid as long as your minimum current holds reliably. I doubt a stand alone commercial product exists because for each type of solenoid valve coil will take some experimentation to get the frequency and a PWM level that is reliable. Not sure what type of valves you are using, but you can buy din connector cables with flyback diodes built into them. $\endgroup$ – ericnutsch Sep 25 at 8:29

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