What is the difference between a stepper driver and a stepper controller?

I am wanting to build a circuit to drive my stepper motors and control them with the PC with software like Mach 3, or something similar. My question is what is the difference between stepper driver and stepper controller. Do I need a driver for each motor and do the drivers connect to the controller. Newb here and trying to understand before I attempt.

AndyGadget8 years ago
A stepper controller converts the direction and clock pulses from (say) a computer into the signals needed to power the coils of the motor. There are various types of stepper motor - star configured or with independent windings, and various ways of driving them - half step or full-step. There are controllers for both types and (I think) universal ones. The low current signals from the controller are fed into the stepper drivers which supply the power needed to operate the motors. I had a very quick glance at the Mach3 manual and they suggest using a pre-built controller/ driver board.