Introduction: Stepper Controller

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This is a quick tutorial on how to get started with bipolar stepper motors. I salvaged the one used in this instructable off of an old printer.

For this tutorial you will need:
- a bipolar stepper motor
- jumper wires
- motor controller chip

- solder less breadboard

Click here to see how to multiplex up to four stepper motors using one controller chip:

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Step 1: What Is a "Stepper" Motor

Stepper motors are very different from DC or servo motors. Both DC and Servo's use a direct current to spin a shaft in one direction or another varying the speed using current. Servos are only able to monitor the position of their internal DC motor and reverse the polarity of its power supply, on the other hand stepper motors move an exact number of steps and can "lock in place" because the shaft is balanced between electromagnets instead of being repelled or attracted to all of the electromagnets in the motor.

This is an overly simplified description, but this is why stepper motors require motor-controller chips and micro-controllers while DC motors only require a potentiometer or MOSFET and micro-controller.

Stepper motors are commonly used in printers, where I harvested mine from, as they can be controlled to a high degree of accuracy.

Step 2: Wiring

The wiring is fairly straight forward from the diagram above. Make sure to keep the A and B circuits straight. If you mix them up your motor will be doing the funky chicken or not moving at all.

Also with bipolar motors if there is a loose connection with any of the four wires it will not function properly and will do the funky chicken. (See Gif Above)

Step 3: Coding

I used the Arduino IDE example file "One Revolution", you must adjust the step count to the step count of your motor to have it function properly.

If you are having any issues or have suggestions for improvement feel free to comment below.

Have a great day! :-)

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