Festo? Or SMC

For the past few years team 503 has been using the 24 volt festo solenoids and they have worked fine. Just this year we switched over to the 12 volt festo solenoids and they lacked the consistancy of the 24 volts. We dont want to switch back to the 24s because the whole system runs on 12 volts. Our teams had to individually crack each of the wires and pull out the pins and solder them te the back plate on the solenoid. It cost us many matches in districts as well as states and I was wondering if the SMC’s had a similair issue and if any team have had problems that made them unreliable and cost them matches.

We use Mac valves so my answer would be neither. They all make quality products though… We use the 24 VDC version because the availability is generally better. (At least for us) I don’t think the 12 volt version is the root of your problem though. We also use the DIN plug version which allows a slightly beefier wire. The first time I ever used 18 gage wire & beefy in the same sentence. :slight_smile:

What type of electronic connection do those valves have becaus I know the SMC has a wires that come preconnected to the solenoid

Take a look at the catalogue for SMC’s SY-series valves. It gives several connection options, including solenoids with connectors rather than integral wires. It also lists several voltage options.

(Also, the poll shouldn’t be an either/or choice—teams can and do use both or neither.)

I spoke lazily because DIN refers to a standard rather than a specific connector. But it is what people call them. Generally you can order solenoids with what is called flying leads, which come out of the the solenoid coil, when you break them, is it permanent. Or you can order them with some kind of connector that pugs into the solenoid. You have to go to a catalog for the specific valve & find how to order them with a plug connection.

After some disappointing experiences with non-SMC KOP solenoid valves in 2008 our team standardized on 12V SMC parts, and did not switch when 24V became an option. No regrets at all. It would be great to see them return as a KOP parts donor (I believe they no longer are - could be mistaken).

Have there been any noticable differences or problems with your SMC valves? Would you recommend them?

Assuming you are asking me:

Well, the main difference I’ve experienced is that SMC valves always work and the Festo model from 2008 didn’t - however: the model that Festo currently donates is completely different than the 2008 model, so it’s kind of comparing apples and oranges. I’ve been casually monitoring the solenoid valve discussions here over the years and I haven’t heard of any folks reporting any non-user-induced problems with the current KOP Festos (which are very similar in design and appearance to the SMC SY-series by the way).

So, yes I would recommend the SMCs. Would I use the current KOP Festo valves if I didn’t have SMCs available? Yes. Which would I buy if I had neither? SMC, primarily because I’ve never had a bad experience with one while cost is on-par with the Festos. Hope that helps…

Thanks that helps im just loling for next year to help assure my team reliability Ill order and test those MAC and SMC’s Thanks!

In that case, the protip is keep some jewelers screwdrivers and light machine oil handy in the pit if you are using this type of valve and don’t have sufficient budget to allow spares. Incorrect initial wiring seems to be the most pervasive problem with solenoid valves in the FRC context, but the second biggest issue seems to be debris getting into the valve causing it to get stuck in a fixed position. For all intents and purposes these valves can be fully disassembled and cleaned quickly if necessary, but only if you have those items handy. We’ve done it in less than five minutes-ish; not much longer than it would take to swap out the whole valve.

Has anyone used any other SMC valves besides the SY series? I was thinking of trying the SJ series. It has a lower CV but we always end up putting flow control valves on our cylinders anyways.

Buy these:

SY3140-6L (Single Solenoids)
SY3240-6L (Double)
ss5y3-41-xx-n7 (xx) is the amount of solenoids on the manifold.

We buy ours through motion since they are local and have them in stock. We like the 6L series as they have a pretty nice connector on them.


Yep those are what we currently use. I was curious about other options beyond the SY series. I was looking at DIN mounted versions, or cartridge based options. I liked the SJ series, but never tried them. They are small, but they are easy to add to together without screws and accept ribbon cable connections. Certainly I am on the look out for other neat valves.

Since I am responding to you, out of curiosity, what’s the largest manifold you have gone with?

Interesting Mark,

If you guys get those cool options let me know. We are always looking to improve our current system. But we also try to stick with what works and just buy a lot of XYZ. We have about 20-30 SY solenoids so its nice being able to pull some off or have spares.

We’ve used up to an 8 port I believe. We buy the blanking kits to just mask off what we aren’t using at the time.


Hello All,

My name is Troy Sanders and I am the Product Manager for Valves for Festo-US. I was reviewing this thread and wanted to make sure everyone knew where to get the proper information on the valves we provided for the 2013 FIRST competition, which are 24V DC VUVG solenoid valves. I have included useful links below. Feel free to either message me or post a reply to this thread if you have any questions regarding either this year’s valve offering or one that was provided in the past. I would be more than happy to answer any technical questions you may have regarding our valve products.



We use the FESTO solenoids mainly because they give them to us for free. We have never had any issues with the solenoids.

-Mihir Iyer

This year Code Orange used a 6 station SMC base mount with 2 24V double solenoids and 3 24V single solenoids. (and a blank station) They worked perfectly the entire season, not a single problem whatsoever.

Mr Sanders, have you personally seen any problem with the electrical connection in the 12 volt VUVG valve here? I thank you for your response and look forward to hearing your opinion

Our experience with festos have been that they are full of leaks and have poor connections.

Did you know you can tighten them with an Allen Key? I didn’t, and it caused me a lot of grief*.

*Thanks Nick Lawrence!