Leaky Andymark solenoids / Source for non-manifold solenoids?

I’m new to FRC pneumatics.
I’ve been told that in past years, my team had used Andymark solenoid valves but the plastic connector pieces would break/leak pretty easily. They switched to the Vex system a few years ago, and it proved to be more robust, but this year we don’t want the weight of the manifolds/base mounts.

Does anyone have a solution to the Andymark solenoids breaking or an alternative source of solenoids that don’t require a manifold and have hella fast shipping to eastern MA?

McMaster-Carr probably has some metal solenoid fittings that work with the AndyMark solenoids, as well as some pricey small solenoids.

If you have the solenoids still, send pictures or details to support@andymark.com and we may be able to provide some advice. :slight_smile:

I can recommend Automation Direct’s line of solenoids. They ship quickly, and are rebadged metal Mead solenoids. A little heavier than the vex models, but they’re very solid, with both manifolds and porting options.

For fittings, consider Norgren. They offer SS or nickel plating, and are very robust. They also include an internal hex, a lifesaver for tightening in close quarters.

Anything from McMaster that meets the rules will ship to you next-day (look for air control valves).

However, in my experience with FRC pneumatics, you’ll be very hard-pressed to get anything lighter and less leaky than VexPro solenoid manifolds.

AM doesn’t sell the same valves they used to (I was never a fan of the plastic ones). The Festo valves they currently carry work really well. Makes sure you tighten the fittings with the hex key inside the fitting - if you only hand tighten you likely will have a leak.

It’s best to identify these valves by the manufacturer, since there are so many available to the teams.

We at AndyMark sell these types:
Festo, model VUVG: double and single solenoid
CKD, model 4GA: double and single solenoid
Mead, model M4V: double and single solenoid

The Festo valves are compact and used commonly in industry. They are also available in FIRST Choice. The CKD valves are slightly larger than the Festo valves, but they have simple, efficient wiring. The Mead valves are larger than the Festo and CKD valves, and have higher flow ratings (Cv). We have only sold these three valve models.

Andy B.

Thanks everybody!

Follow-up question I found this solenoid on Automation Direct. Is the price ($29 vs $52-$119 on AM) a sign that I should run far away from it? To my beginner’s eye the specs look pretty comparable.

Pay attention to the pressure rating on the Automation Direct solenoids. These have a listed working pressure of 115 PSI (although it looks like their datasheet now does list a proof pressure of 215 PSI). Be prepared to prove to an inspector (i.e. bring a copy of the datasheet) that these are legal per R80.

They only have to be rated for 60 psi working pressure and 125 psi maximum or burst pressure