Understanding the V5 Pneumatics Kit Components

This article is an introduction to the V5 Pneumatics Kit, breaking down each component and explaining how it works. It is a valuable resource for anyone using the kit to kickstart their pneumatic projects. This guide offers the necessary information to get your system operating smoothly. For guidance on coding your V5 Pneumatics Kit, view this article from the VEX Library.

Important Note: The effectiveness of the V5 Pneumatics System largely relies on the O-Rings and fitting connections. O-Rings are small, black, rubber-like rings found on each M5 thread of the fittings, Schrader valves, etc., and they help to create a tight seal to prevent air leaks. These are further optimized by the flow of pressurized air. When assembling, there's no need for tools — hand-tightening components ensures a secure connection. Over-tightening using tools can lead to damage, so always handle components with care to ensure longevity and proper function.

Kit Exploration

The V5 Pneumatics Kit can be broken down into 7 different functional categories. These categories include the following and are listed in order of importance from the initial pressurization of air and ending with the actuation of mechanical parts:

  1. Reservoir: this includes components related to the influx and storage of compressed air in the system.
  2. Pressure Monitor: this includes devices used to regulate and monitor the air pressure in the system.
  3. Fittings: this category is for various types of connectors and plugs used to join tubes together or to connect them to different parts of the system.
  4. Tubing: this category is for components related to the flexible tubes that carry the air in a pneumatic system.
  5. Manual Control: this category contains devices that allow for manual control of the airflow in the system.
  6. Electronic Control: this category is for components that provide electronic control over the system.
  7. Cylinders: this is where the mechanical work happens in a pneumatic system. Cylinders use the energy of the compressed air to create motion.
Product Description


Air Tank


The Air Tank is a cylindrical vessel for storing pressurized air.

It has two ports which can accept different fittings. One port would contain the Valve Stem which serves as the inlet. The other port will be used as an outlet and can accept one of the other fittings listed below.

The Air Tank can be attached to your robot or project using zip ties.

Remember, just like you'd need to recharge a battery when it's running low, you need to refill the Air Tank when it's low on air. And, just like turning off a machine when you're done using it, you should also let the air out of the tank after you're done.

Valve Stem

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The Valve Stem is a small gold colored part that looks like the pressure inlet on a bike or car tire (formally called a Schrader Valve). It's important for getting your pneumatic system ready to go. You can screw it securely into the Air Tank or the Straight Female Fitting using its M5 thread.

This is a one-way valve that lets air in, but not out, meaning as soon as you remove your pump from the valve, it closes to keep the air in. You can release the air from your Air Tank by pushing the pin in the center of the Valve Stem.

Pressure Monitor

Air Pressure Regulator


The Air Pressure Regulator in your system is like a control knob for the air pressure. Adjusting the air pressure allows the Cylinders to operate at a constant force as the pressure in the Air Tank decreases.

For example, if the Air Tank is initially pressurized to 100psi, the pressure in the tank reduces with each actuation of a Cylinder. Without a pressure regulator, the force of the Cylinder will not be consistent - it will reduce as the pressure in the Air Tank reduces.

If you set the regulator to 50psi for example, the force of the cylinder will be consistent for all actuations until the Air Tank pressure drops below 50psi.

So by regulating the pressure, the Cylinders will operate with less force, but with more consistency. You will also get more actuations from the Cylinders before the air runs out.

You can connect parts called fittings to the regulator's inlet (where the air comes in denoted by an embossed triangle) and outlet (where the air goes out). Then, you can change the pressure of the air that's leaving by turning the black dial. This makes sure that the pressure doesn't go above a certain limit.

Air Pressure Regulator Bracket


The Air Pressure Regulator Bracket is used to mount the Air Pressure Regulator to your robot.

Remove the black nut near the knob of the Air Pressure Regulator and slide the bracket on. Then replace the nut and tighten to hold the Air Pressure Regulator to the Bracket. The Bracket can be attached to your robot using standard VEX hardware.

Air Pressure Gauge


The Air Pressure Gauge in your system is like a meter that tells you how much pressure is in the Air Tank, or system depending where it is mounted. It's usually put before the Regulator and helps you see the total pressure. The Gauge has an M5 thread, so you can connect it to the Straight Female Fitting or straight into any M5 hole, like one on the Air Tank.


Straight Male Fitting


The Straight Male Fitting is used when you need to connect Tubing to an Air Tank, Air Pressure Regulator, Solenoid or Cylinder.

Screw the M5 thread into the device that you need to connect to the Tubing. The Tubing is then a push-fit into the red end of the fitting.

To release the Tubing from the fitting, press the red release button and remove the Tubing.

Elbow Fitting


The Elbow Fitting is similar to the Straight Male Fitting, but the Tubing exits at a 90-degree angle.

The M5 thread can be screwed into the device that you need to connect the Tubing to. The Tubing is then a push-fit into the red end of the fitting.

To release the Tubing from the fitting, press the red release button and remove the Tubing.

The Elbow Fitting also has a mounting hole which can be used for securing it to your robot.

Air Flow Valve Fitting


The Air Flow Valve Fitting is used to control the speed at which your Air Cylinders move. Unlike the Air Pressure Regulator which controls the force of the Air Cylinder movement, the Air Flow Value controls the flow rate which affects speed.

The Air Flow Value is usually fitted to a port on the Air Cylinder for which you want to control the speed.

Tee Fitting


The Tee Fitting, which is named for its "T" shape, lets you connect 3 pieces of Tubing together in your pneumatic system.

For example, you might use it to connect the Air Tank, Air Pressure Gauge and use the third outlet to supply air to the rest of the system.

The Tubing is a push-fit into the red end of the fitting.

To release the Tubing from the fitting, press the red release button and remove the Tubing.

The Tee Fitting has two mounting holes which can be used for securing it to your robot.

Straight Female Fitting


The Straight Female Fitting is used when you need to connect a male M5 thread to a piece of Tubing. For example, the Air Pressure Gauge can be connected using this part.

The male M5 thread of the device can be screwed to the female thread of this fitting. The Tubing is then a push-fit into the red end of the fitting.

To release the Tubing from the fitting, press the red release button and remove the Tubing.

4mm Plug


The 4mm Plug, which has a solid black tube on one side and a small handle on the other side, is a useful tool for closing off open ends in your pneumatic system. It fits tightly into any Pneumatic Fitting that isn't being used and is the same size as your tubing.

This is useful for parts like the Solenoid where unused outputs could let air escape. Instead of having to reroute extra tubing with a Tee Fitting, you can put this plug straight into a Fitting to stop the airflow. This makes sure all the pressurized air stays in your system, providing a way to save space and use your system efficiently.


Tubing Cutter


The Tubing Cutter, an important part of your pneumatic toolkit, is used to cut your Tubing to just the right lengths. Its triangular blade makes clean, straight cuts, which helps prevent air from leaking out. To use it, you put your Tubing in the cutter and squeeze it to make a neat cut. Don't forget to be careful with the cutter because the blade is sharp. This tool helps make your system work as well as possible.

4mm Tubing


The 4mm Outer Diameter x 2.5mm Inner Diameter Polyurethane (PU) Tubing in your Pneumatic Kit works like the veins in your pneumatic system, moving pressurized air from one part to another. Just like how veins carry blood in our bodies, this tubing moves air around in your setup.

Tubing can be cut to any length using the Tubing Cutter.

Manual Control

Shut Off Valve Fitting


The Shut Off Valve Fitting has a tap which can be used to turn the air flow on and off.

The Shut Off Valve Fitting is marked with an arrow which denotes the direction of airflow. Be sure to connect the Value to your system so that the air flows in the correct direction.

You can control the flow of air by turning the top dial: when it's turned so it's making a "T" with the flow, the valve is closed, and when it's turned so it's in line with the flow, it's open. Closing the valve prevents air from flowing to the rest of the system which can prevent air loss when not in use and allow you to ensure the system is safe.

Electronic Control

Double Acting Solenoid


The Double Acting Solenoid is controlled by your V5 Brain. You can code your robot to direct air to one of the two outlets on the Solenoid, which are typically used to either extend or retract a Pneumatic Cylinder.

You can connect either the Straight Male Fitting or Elbow Fitting to the ports on the Solenoid which then allow you to connect Tubing to carry air to the rest of the system.

There are two ports marked P, one on each side of the Solenoid. This is where the pressurized air supply is connected. You can use the other P port to connect the pressurized air to other parts of your system.

The pressurized air can be directed to either port A or port B and is controlled by your code.

There are two exhaust ports labeled R where the waste air exits when the Air Cylinder is moving. These ports are a through hole, meaning both are joined together.

For more information on the uses and applications of the Double Acting Solenoid, view this article from the VEX Library.

Double Acting Solenoid Driver Cable


The Double Acting Solenoid Driver Cable links the Double Acting Solenoid to the V5 Brain of your robot.

One end of the cable has a 3-wire plug which connects to a 3-wire port on the Brain. At the other end are two sockets which are connected to each of the plugs on the Solenoid.

The connector with the black and red wires should connect the the side of the Solenoid labeled A, and the connector with the green and white wires should connect to the side of the solenoid labeled B.


25mm Stroke Pneumatic Cylinder


The Pneumatic Cylinder, which comes in three sizes in the Kit, turns pressurized air into a back-and-forth motion and can extend (push) and retract (pull) because it has a dual-acting feature. The "stroke length," or how far the cylinder moves in one cycle, is different for each size, so it can fit different project needs.

You connect the Cylinder to the Tubing using a Straight Male, Elbow Pneumatic Fitting, or Air Flow Valve Fitting. This makes a setup that turns air pressure into movement. Remember, the more pressure you supply to the cylinder, the stronger the force it exerts - so more pressure means more force. The piston rod of the Cylinders features an #8-32 thread, making it compatible with standard VEX hardware.

50mm Stroke Pneumatic Cylinder


75mm Stroke Pneumatic Cylinder


For examples of a basic V5 Pneumatic System operation, view this article from the VEX Library.


For more information, help, and tips, check out the many resources at VEX Professional Development Plus

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