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Hi guys,
I'm in the first stage of planning a school project.  This includes operation of solenoid valves through a computer.  However, I am totally lost were to start from here.  Some of the questions I have right now:
1) When is it necessary to use relays?
2) Would this (http://www.paia.com/proddetail.asp?prod=K74) board be suitable?
3) Even though the parallel port is the easiest way to connect a control board, I would much rather use the USB port. Are there any tutorials available that explain this?
4) I heard Darlington transistor arrays can replace relays and minimize the circuit size. Is this approach better than using relays?
Your help is very much appreciated. Cheers, Phil

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