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Beginner's Guide to Stepper Motors

Submitted by chenlu225 on Thu, 04/18/2024 - 23:23

The purpose of this article is to educate you about stepper motors, starting with their basic principle , as well as their uses, types, advantages, and disadvantages. We will cover these topics as well as other information related to stepper motors.

What Is Stepper Motor?

A stepper motor is a type of electric motor that converts electrical pulses into precise mechanical motion. Unlike conventional motors that continuously rotate, stepper motors move in discrete steps, making them well-suited for applications requiring precise positioning and control.

Stepper Motor Working Principle

A brushed DC motor operates by applying voltage to terminals, causing a wire coil within a fixed magnet housing (known as the stator) to spin rapidly.
stepper motor internal structure

As the wire coil (the rotor) rotates, it functions as an electromagnet due to magnetic attraction and repulsion theory. Brushes and a commutator work together to control the direction of current flowing through the wire coil. With sufficient voltage supplied, the rotor spins continuously in one direction.

However, this motor's perpetual spinning, without defined stopping points, poses challenges for precise control. It's unsuitable for applications requiring exact stopping points or minute movements, as manually regulating power flow doesn't offer the precision needed.

Conversely, a stepper motor operates differently. It features a fixed stator housing surrounding a series of toothed electromagnets at its core, rather than a rotating wire coil within fixed magnets. Controlled by a stepper motor driver, pulsing electrical currents induce precise one-step movements in the gear-like toothed part around the central shaft.

Each pulse pushes the rotor one exact increment of a full turn. The rotor can complete full or partial turns as required, or stop abruptly at any step along its rotation. The key advantage of a stepper motor lies in its ability to locate itself accurately and maintain that position reliably, making it ideal for high-precision applications like robotics and printing.

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