a small stepper motor Stepper motor idea sources

Photo from Society of Robots

Dale Herzog and I were talking the other night about the treasure trove of techno goodies that can be found in the average dumpscore printer. He sent along a few resources including this one about using steppers and the Basic Stamp:

If you are staring at a pile of stepper motors in a surplus shop, or have pulled one out of used equipment, here’s how you can determine what you have.

First, check for the number of wires coming out. If 5 or 6 or 8, that’s good because you have a unipolar stepper. If 4, that’s bad because you have a bipolar stepper and should put it back. If 2, you have a regular DC motor. Confirm you have a stepper motor by turning the shaft. You should feel the little detents indicating each step.

Next, read the label on the side. If you are lucky, it will have the voltage and step size printed, or will be in a bin with the voltage marked. Look for 12V steppers. If you have a 5V stepper, and it is large, the currents will probably be too large for easy control. Small 5V steppers are OK. If you have no way of telling the voltage, it is probably best to look for another stepper.

What are you doing with steppers? How are you controlling them?

Chris Connors

Making things is the best way to learn about our world.


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