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Basic Explanation of Stepper and Microstepping Motors

Motor Stepper  Mikrostepping

Stepper Motor How it Works, Types and Explanation Microstepping - Stepper Motor is a type of motor that rotates based on the step of rotation, after the rotation is complete, the motor will be held (stopped) at a predetermined step.

Basic Explanation of Stepper and Microstepping Motors

Stepper motors are widely used, such as industrial machines such as CNC, 3D Printing, Robotics, and others. Because of its advantages that it can move per step, so it can be rotated at a certain angle.

In addition, because the stepper motor can move/rotate with high accuracy, its use is also found on DVD, Printer, BlueRay, Camera Zoom,

In a stepper motor, there is a gear shaft that can produce an electromagnetic field. This electromagnetic field (magnet) will move (turn) the wheel (rotor) per one step (step).

A. Jenis Motor Stepper Berdasarkan Desain

There are three types of stepper motors based on the design of the stepper motor itself:

  1. Variabel Reluctance Stepper
  2. Magnet Permanen
  3. Hybrid
The difference above will affect the magnetic field that will be created.

B. Types of Stepper Motors Based on Winding Configuration

Because the rotor of the stepper motor is controlled through the magnetic field generated by the coil through which the current flows, there are two types of stepper motors when viewed from the configuration of the windings:
  1. Motor Stepper BiPolar
  2. Motor Stepper UniPolar
Bipolar stepper motors (Bi = two and Polar = Polarity) are motors composed of two windings. From these two windings, the stepper motor will have 4 controller wires.

A UniPolar stepper motor (Uni = Many and Polar = Polarity) is a motor composed of 4 windings, with 2 windings each connected. So this stepper motor has 5 or 6 controller wires.

Look at the following picture:

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Difference Between BiPolar and UniPolar Stepper Motor

- Bipolar stepper:

  • 4 wires
  • Required inverting voltage
  • High torque
  • Low max speed
  • More complicated controller

- Unipolar Stepper:

  • 5 or 6 wires
  • No reversing voltage required
  • Low torque
  • High max speed
  • Simpler controller

C. Step Mode (Step Mode) Stepper Motor

There are three types of step mode terms or step angles, Full Steps, Half Steps and Microsteps.

Stepper motors popularly use a 1.8° step angle, in other words it takes 200 steps to achieve a full 360° rotation.

1.Full Step

What does full step mode mean? This means that the stepper motor is rotated or driven up to 360° rotation.

If we take a stepper motor with a 1.8° step angle type, then we easily only give a signal to move 200 steps.

2. Half Step

Half step means 180°. So in general, if we use a stepper motor that has a step angle specification of 1.8°, we only give a signal of 100 steps.

3. Microstep

If you need a more accurate motor rotation, for example revolutions per 1°, then you use the Microstepping mode.

You cannot use such a full 200 steps per 360° to drive a stepper motor per 1°. Why?

The logic is simple, a full 360° rotation means you need 360 steps if you want to move 1°, while the capability of a 1.8° stepper motor is 200 steps per 360°.

So, we have to make the steps bigger than 360 steps the minimum is 360 steps.

If the step has been more than 360 steps, it will allow you to drive the stepper motor per 1°.

Microstepper mode is a stepper motor technology that is capable of being driven in micro units. This microstep technology does not depend on the stepper motor used, but the driver (controller) of the stepper motor itself.

In the market, stepper motor drivers have a type of Microstep mode, namely, 1 to 256. The higher the microstep used, the more accurate the movement of the stepper motor itself.

The following is a comparison of the microstep to the minimum rotation of the stepper motor.

Mikrostep / FullStep Steps per 360° Turn Minimum
1 200 1.8°
2 400 0.9°
4 800 0.45°
8 1.600 0.225°
16 3.200 0.1125°
32 6.400 0.005°
128 25.600 0.0141°
256 51.200 0.00703125°

The term microstepper is the term for a stepper motor moving in micro rotation. Besides microstep, the term used is Excitation.

D. Driver Motor Stepper

Unlike the case with ordinary DC motors, which will rotate by providing voltage polarity only. Stepper motors require a driver that can be controlled accurately.

This control can use a microcontroller. Some of the popular types of drivers used are:

  • ULN2003 Driver Modul
  • L298N
  • A4988
  • SilentStepStick (TMC2100, TMC2130, TMC2208, TMC2209 or TMC5160)
  • TB6560 
  • TB6600
  • MA860H

To understand more about Stepper motors, there is a great video from below:

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