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Description: This vacuum pump really sucks! This pump operates at 12V and has enough suction for most small projects. We even used one to make our very own universal gripper using coffee grounds, balloon and some other parts.


  • 12V motor
  • 12W operation
  • 1/4" barbs
  • 0-16" Hg vacuum range


Comments 72 comments

  • Out of all of Sparkfun’s products, I think this is the only one that sucks.

  • Hey
    Is it possible that you will stock small hydraulic pumps in the future? And some pneumatic / hydraulic actuators and motors?

    • I agree, I would really like to see some small hydraulic/pneumatic pumps/actuators/motors.

      • Thirded. I have always wanted to make a drinkbot, but the appropriate pumps are hard to come by.
        If there was a nice little food grade pump and a solenoid valve, I’d be extra happy.

  • To answer a few questions about how well the pump sucks, I hooked it to a vacuum gauge. The gauge read 760 mmHg before I powered it up. After turning it on and letting it equilibrate, the gauge read 218 mmHg. Thanks very much to my bro Mike Stephenson for setting up and letting me use the gauge and LabVIEW program for reading the gauge.

    Transmorgrifying to other units, atmospheric pressure at that time was about 14.7 psi, and the pump made the pressure in the tube 4.2 psi. This is the thing I wanted to know, that there would be a 10 or so psi difference between atmospheric pressure and, for instance, the pressure in my coffegroundgrippermachine. I only have one of these vac pumps, so I could not perform any statistics, and I’ll have to experiment anyway to figure out how to do stuff. In the words of the great philosopher Lemmy Kilmister “Take it or leave it.”

    Your mileage, of course, may vary.

  • Hmm, wonder how many Hg i need for a DIY breast pump? new arduino project coming up!

  • Damn, out of stock again. That blows!

  • Hey, could you expand on this more: ‘0-16" Hg vacuum range'
    I was looking at vacuum pump measurements and it seemed like this means that the 30" hg at atm could be brought down to a vacuum of 14" hg. But then I got into looking and there are micron measurements for vacuums of 500 microns. Instead of subtracting this distance from the 30" hg they added from 0". This leads me to my question of what the zero in the 0-16" inches because this would either mean that the vacuum is perfect or that the vacuum doesn’t work at all, none of which really make sense.

    • To you guys unsure of the pressure range… This is really a common sense kind of issue. Does it make sense that the pump would generate 0" of vacuum, i.e. a PERFECT vacuum? No, of course not. It’s a $15 part for hobbyists. This means that it generates up to 16" of differential pressure, i.e. at 30" of mercury atmospheric pressure, it can bring that pressure down to ~14" or up to ~46".

    • Thank you, Evangelista Torricelli, for covering your hands in mercury in the name of science.
      …although I suppose people at the time were also covering their hands in mercury in the name of hats as well…

    • It’s a range. Does this help:

      • that doesn’t help much, since that page also describes both systems of measurement! Does this pump produce a 16"Hg differential from atmospheric, or can it evacuate a chamber to 16"Hg absolute?

        • Wiml, enjoy an upvote for posting a really valid question.
          here’s a datasheet i found

          • Thanks! That answers my question about it working as a regular pump instead of a vacuum pump!

            • So to clarify - this is not actually a vacuum pump, correct? It’s just a regular air pump? Also where is the 16"Hg coming from? On the data sheet I see -70 kPa, which is -20.67"Hg. I’m assuming that given the 250 kPa upper range this actually a positive displacement pump that’s hooked up in reverse to create vacuum?

  • Can you give us a noise measurement? Something along the lines of x dB at 1 meter?

  • I wonder if i could I use this for vacuum filtration separating precipitate. Most minimalist vacuum filtration setups come with a cheap hand vacuum pump used for bleeding automotive brakes. A hand operated vacuum pump would work fine for filtering, but being able to keep a constant vacuum to help dry the precipitate is it’s shortfall. Anyone else heard of using one of these 12V vac pumps for this purpose?

  • Hello! I want to make a roomba like robot, and I wanted to now if some of you think this has the suction for this? Thanks

    • Sadly no. Floor vacuums need high volume / low suction. This pump is designed for low volume / high suction. It wouldn’t move enough air to budge your dirt. But you might be able to adapt our blower, which moves a lot of air. It inhales through the body (think of a hair dryer) so you’d need to glue some sort of duct to the center of it to achieve suction. Good luck!

  • has anyone tried to PWM this guy? I am hoping for a fairly-constant vacuum/pressure level that is a bit less than what I’m getting from it… I can’t seem to get it to turn on for a short (10mS) interval, either.

  • I’m looking for a pump that can be switched from suck to blow with an electronic switch. Any suggestions? Thanks

  • Any thoughts on valves and tubing for directing the vacuum to different lines over time? I want to see if I can get something to climb up a mirror.

  • I want an air pump for pumping a balloon, can I use this one for that purpose, if not, what do you recommend.

  • Hi, I need help. Electrical noob here. Can this vacuum pump have varying levels of suction force by varying the voltage applied to it? Connection to an Arduino board and programming it? Would that work? Much thanks.

    • If you hook this pump to a sealed container, it will produce varying pressure by varying the time that voltage is applied to it. Placing too low (or too high) of a voltage on any motor, including a pump, may damage it.

      However, you can also hook this pump to a leaky container, and it will produce varying pressure by varying the speed of the pump’s motor. You can use PWM (pulse-width modulation) of the voltage to change the pump’s speed (an arduino has PWM libraries).

  • Is this item arduino compatible, & if so how would I program it to keep a specific amount of pressure, like when I am wanting something to be vacuum pressurized.

    • You can power this pump (or any motor) with an arduino and a transistor or relay. Sparkfun’s tutorials should cover that.

      If you hook this pump to a sealed container, it will produce varying pressure by varying the time that it is on. If you hook this pump to a leaky container, it will produce varying pressure by varying the speed of the pump’s motor. Use pulse-width modulation to change the pump’s speed. Do not use pulse-width modulation with a mechanical relay, or the relay will break.

      To regulate the pressure, use a pressure sensor to tell the arduino when to turn the pump on or off. If you want to be accurate, try to find a sealed container, and pressurize it using the “leaky” method. Use the “sealed” method to fill a balloon or in cases where the actual pressure really doesn’t matter.

  • What is the max psi this pump can make

  • The original manufacturer of this pump (Ningbo Forever Electronic Appliance Co., Ltd.) lists the maximum continuous working time as 5 hours with a total lifetime of 500 hours on their page. They confirmed those values via email. So, I wouldn’t recommend running this pump for long periods of time. In my case, I need something that will operate for a minimum of 12 hours a day.

  • next up: get photos of the inner workings/mechanism!

  • “This vacuum pump really SUCKS!” rofl hahahh

  • Am I reading the spec sheet right in thinking that at 12v and 1a the pump will pull the full 16" Hg of vacuum?

  • Had one of these turn up this week and I must say, if decibels were somehow related to Hg then this would be a winner. I reality they aren’t. My DIY solder-sucker project sucks (and not in a good way)! Worth trying though, and learning by trial & error is not a vacuous thing…

  • If reversed will it work (for blow)? Some vacuum pumps seize up if run backwards (veined). I’m looking to build a picker, and would need a ‘blow off’ to break vacuum, and would rather not get into solenoid valves and such.

  • !!! Refuel !!!

  • Hey was just wondering if theres a way to make the vacuum to suck then blow without swapping the hose. Can it be done by just the programming? Im using the Audrino Uno processor if that helps. Im a newby to all this so simple instructions would help :)

    • Maybe use a motor driver… they are used to drive a motor forward and backwards :-)

      • Hey Robert,
        I’m planning on using a motor driver, but do you know for sure that running the motor backwards will actually reverse the flow of the air? e.g. will the pump actually work with reversed current? Thanks.

    • This is a diaphram pump, so reversing the motor won’t reverse the airflow. I don’t think reversing the motor to reverse the x-flow works on more than turbine or Tesla pumps.

  • Can I use this as an air compressor for an RC submarine?

    • Probably not. You could probably get a few psi out of it but I wouldn’t bet on anything greater than about one atmos, or 14 psi max. You would need a huge air system to blow ballast tanks, which would in turn cause a bouncy problem.
      A better solution, which I’ve used was to take a used threaded co2 cartridge from a bike emergency pump, bore out the center of the threaded area and and tap it so you can put a valve in it. Then you can pressurize it with an air compressor, and use it in your air system. An added bonus is that when you have three or four it looks like the HP air system on a sub. You can use ¼" stainless as the air header.

  • Mine arrived with both barbs broken off. I think SF needs to find a better way to pack them.

    • Sorry about that. Have you already contact customer service for a replacement?

  • Could this be modified for underwater use? I know it sounds silly but I think it would be useful for a project.

    • most electric engines can be used I have found, (is it the best for them) if you clean it out with fresh water and rubbing alcohol it should work just fine. Also use heat shrink on the connectors.

    • That depends on what you mean exactly. You may be able to enclose the unit to keep it watertight. However, I have no reason to believe it could pump water effectively.

    • Anything is possible, It’d take a good amount of waterproofing though.

  • Being the cheap bstrd that I am, I’m looking to make a motorized one man brake bleeder. There are pneumatic models on the market at about $100.00. I was hoping that this pump could be attached to a container, create a vacuum and be used to draw brake fluid out of the brake line. Sadly, I do not know how to translate the vacuum created by the pump into what is needed for the viscosity of brake fluid. Thanks, Jari.

  • how does this pump handle on pressurizing? what is its max pressure? does it require a check valve to fill a tank?

  • Amazing, I saw this in the new products list and the balloon grabber in the video was the EXACT purpose I had in mind for it when I clicked!

  • Can someone provide a Head/Flow diagram for this pump?
    instead of hg rather use barA or barG….

  • Oh man…. giant gecko robot for sure:) Strap a huge solar panel on the back and it could walk up walls! New AVC challenge walk up and over the sparkfun building:)

  • Does this work in reverse as a small air pump?
    EDIT. roybean’s link shows that it does work as a pump.

  • Awwwwww! :( Why couldn’t you post this earlier in the week? I tried and tried to hold out hoping a new product would be posted but I just couldn’t wait. I knew this would happen lol. I want this.

    • Sparkfun usually has all their products posted by Thursday(new product post Thursday), so hold of on buying something new until then.

  • 0-16" Hg
    you missed the double prime key, lol

  • Can this pump be used for liquids?

    • If you wanted a high pressure pump that can pump liquids use a solenoid pump either from the internet, or buy a cheap espresso maker with a pump in it (70$ish, target)
      if you want a low pressure water pump, get one that is for liquid cooling computers.
      both of those will have tube in tube out

      • another possibility for pumping liquids is an aquarium powerhead. i dont think they work so well if you want any amount of pressure, but if you’re just using it to move liquid they work quite well….

    • I’m not sure, but I would assume that it cannot.

  • Hey I saw the video with the gripper and I was wondering if you can put into the market this elastic ball you use to grasp
    any object.
    Is that possible ??? or at least tell us where we can find one.

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