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I have a project where I plan to drive 9 12 V linear solenoids using a controller (Arduino Uno?) to “play” a recorder. I don’t have a background in electronics systems/design, and I have the following questions:

  1. We have a 24 W DC source to power the system. We fear burning out our breadboard from overpowering it, and wonder if we need to purchase a more sturdy board like a protoboard.
  2. We have received some guidance about using a servo shield to protect our Arduino. Would this be preferable over a system of diodes and transistors over the board?
  3. Are there any considerations that automatically stick out with the previous info?
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    \$\begingroup\$ For any answer to be useful it will need the specifications on your solenoids (preferably the datasheet) and the voltage of your DC source. You probably won't need a servo driver shield, but I think any high-current output shield could work or at least serve as the basis of your board design. If the solenoids are small (<1A) you might be able to get away with using a breadboard. Whichever way you go, you are going to learn a bit about switching transients. \$\endgroup\$
    – vir
    Oct 24, 2022 at 21:33
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    \$\begingroup\$ You can make you own circuit if you want. The reason you might want something like a shield is to save time because then you won't have to design and build that part of the circuit yourself. \$\endgroup\$ Oct 24, 2022 at 21:43
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    \$\begingroup\$ By "recorder" I assume you're referring to the woodwind instrument? \$\endgroup\$
    – brhans
    Oct 24, 2022 at 21:53

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The good 'Ole ULN2003 comes to mind! Its a tried and true load switch that is pretty hard to fry. https://www.ti.com/product/ULN2003A

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We have a 24 W DC source to power the system. We fear burning out our breadboard from overpowering it, and wonder if we need to purchase a more sturdy board like a protoboard.

Apparently a typical breadboard can handle about 0.5A to 1A depending on who you ask - so as long as each solenoid uses less than 0.5A it should be fine. Each connection on the breadboard is separate and doesn't know about the other ones, so if you made 8 copies of the same circuit and wired them separately, it would be fine. If you wired them together on the breadboard, you'd have to make sure that point of connection doesn't take more than about 1A.

Breadboards are good for prototyping because you can rearrange the circuit easily. This same feature also makes it easy to break. If you want this circuit to keep working for any significant length of time - even if the current is okay - then you should absolutely upgrade to a protoboard with solder. Soldering is not terribly difficult, and it's much sturdier as you said.

We have received some guidance about using a servo shield to protect our Arduino. Would this be preferable over a system of diodes and transistors over the board?

I'm not sure why a servo shield would be the right one.

It is true that if you find a shield that controls 8 motors you should be able to use it for your solenoids as well. Then, you can simply connect the solenoids (probably into screw connectors) and you don't need to make your own circuit board. This choice is up to you.

Are there any considerations that automatically stick out with the previous info?

Not really. The circuit you need is quite a common one. If you look up "how to connect solenoid to arduino" you will probably find less results than if you search for a motor (one-directional) or relay connection. However, the circuit is the same, as they are all driving magnetic coils.

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