3. June 2023

Remote controlled valves for pneumatics

Features: Different remote controlled valve typs for pneumatics

General thoughts

My first pneumatic LEGO technic model was the 8443 pneumatic log loader. Since then I have been fascinated by pneumatics. After my dark ages I restarted directly with pneumatic functions again. At one point I also wanted to build remote-controlled pneumatic functions. Furthermore, it was clear that I wanted to close the pneumatic valves after usage so that the pressure stays in the cylinders. Therefore, it was also clear that I needed the PF servo motors to control the valves and close them automatically to the center position after usage. The main problem was that the servo motor deflects 90° into each direction and the pneumatic valve only 30°. To solve this mechanical problem, I developed several solutions. Later on, I developed also an auto valve. My valve solutions are manly inspired by Sariel’s and Nico72’s valve systems. Over time the pneumatic system and also the servo motors and the other motors developed that is why I developed the following pneumatic RC solutions:

RC pneumatic valves V2 gearless and geared with PF servo motor

As first solution I developed a gear reduction with the 8 and 24 teeth gear. Like this the deflection angle of the PF servo motor was reduced from 90° to 30° and fit perfectly to the deflection angle of the pneumatic valve V2. A precise control of the valve was possible and the pneumatic cylinder was controlled smoothly. Disadvantage was the space needed for the 24 teeth gear. The 24 teeth gear is in diameter approximately 3-3.5 studs. Like this normally 5 studs of widths were necessary to place this servo-gear-valve unit in a MOC. The goal was a 3 studs wide RC valve unit to save space in MOCs. Therefore, I developed another mechanic reduction over leverage law. Like this it was possible to build a smaller 3 studs wide unit which was also smaller in volume. I used this solution in several MOCs and it worked great.

RC pneumatic valves V3 gearless and geared with PF servo motor

Next, you can find different methods to use the pneumatic valve V3 for remote-controlled functions. One solution is to connect the valve V3 directly to the PF servo motor and limit the deflection of the servo motor in the SBrick app to 30°. Another possibility is to use the mechanical gear reduction as shown above.

RC pneumatics with Control+

Text: The new Control+ system was released in July 2019. For future projects I need to know how the Control+ motors and the V3 pneumatic system can be used. Therefore, I tested a remote-controlled pneumatic valve which was powered by a Control+ L motor, the Control+ hub and the BrickController 2 app together with a gamepad. Big advantage of this system was that the angle of the Control+ L motor can be defined in the BrickController2 app. So no longer a gearing between the pneumatic valve and the motor was necessary. Furthermore, the pneumatic valve V3 with the cross-axle hole fits perfectly on the Control+ L motor. Like this a precise control of pneumatic cylinders is now possible.

Compact auto valve for pneumatics

Text: To realize the project MACK Anthem with pneumatics it was necessary to have a small pneumatic valve with only one motor for switching the valve and pumping at the same time. Therefore, I searched for inspiration and found the auto-valves of Sariel and Nico71. Their valves worked with pneumatic valves V1 (Sariel, Nico71). Their solations were feasible but it needed to be more compact. I angled the driveshaft for the pump with bevel gears so that the pump can be aligned to the valve. Like this it got more compact.

Remote pneumatic valve system with selector

PF servo motors are expensive and not handy but normally necessary for remote-controlled pneumatic functions. For more pneumatic functions with few servo motors I created a gearbox/selector where one PF servo motor can be used to control two pneumatic functions. It worked but it can be discussed whether this solution is a smaller and more efficient. But it was used in the Mercedes Zetors Beer opener.

Selector for RC pneumatics

This was another try for a selector for more pneumatic functions. It works but needs to much space in 1:16.5 scale mocs. Therefore, it hasn’t used in any moc so far.

Remote controlled automatic compressor

This was the first attempt for a multi-servo-valve approach with only one pump which is activated when one valve is switched. I solved this problem mechanically with PF switches at each valve. In times of programmable apps this solution isn’t need anymore.