Stepper Motor Control : Arduino


Stepper Motor Control : Arduino


I’ve had a number of stepper motors sitting in my shop for years. If we really want to do anything fun with our Arduino, we are eventually going to have to run a stepper motor. So, here we go!

A little background on stepper motors and how they are different compared to a typical electric motor. Unlike a conventional electric motor that spins when power is applied, stepper motors incrementally spin (step), allowing control over exactly how far the motor’s shaft spins, even to the degree.
Stepper motors have a series of electromagnets that encircle an armature containing a magnet. Think of a compass with a shaft attached to the center of the needle. That needle becomes like the armature of the motor. To spin the armature, electromagnets are turned on and off around the outside of the compass, causing the needle to “step” (or point) from one electromagnet to the next. This picture may help illustrate the movement within a stepper motor.
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There are two common types of stepper motors: Bipolar and Unipolar. I’ve chosen to use a bipolar stepper motor in this project. It can be somewhat more difficult to use because of the need to reverse polarity on the stepper motor electromagnets to provide the proper stepping. Here’s a couple pictures of the motor I used:
stepper motor control arduino

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