Ok, so I’m fairly new to the world of electronics and I’m hoping someone can provide me some general guidance on a project I want to create. While I am a novice, I’m very technically inclined, I have basic computer programming skills, I have assembled electronic kits that require soldering, and I’m not scared of research. What I want to do is create a compact circuit board that’s capable of accepting commands via a USB port and then executing a sequence that would involve opening and closing a series of 12V solenoid valves for a specified amount of time. That’s it. This probably seems very simple to many, so I’d also like to add that I’m not trying to have someone else solve this problem for me, I’m just looking for a little guidance and an understanding of what methods may be best and why. It probably sounds a little frat-boyish, but the whole purpose of this project is to create an automated drink dispensing system. (I’m remodeling my basement and creating a bar hangout area.) I know it’s been done, but I can’t find anything that exactly meets my criteria, plus I’m really interested in knowing “HOW” it works. My Criteria: 1) Controls up to 12 – 12V solenoids 2) Communication via USB 3) Ability for the board to receive the entire command from the PC prior to executing (to avoid problems with lag in PC communication speed) 4) Assign unique address to each board (For possible expansion via daisy chain) 5) As compact as possible, and avoiding mechanical relays if possible I’ve been researching basic electronics, and I have some books on the way about PIC microcontroller basics… I have a feeling this is going to be a good option, but I welcome any of your opinions, ideas, and guidance. Like I said, my knowledge is very basic, so if you can provide any guidance on layout, components, as well as how it functions, I would really appreciate it!