Motor Control: Stepper Motor

Block Diagram (SBD) for Stepper Motor System featuring microcontrollers, gate drivers, isolation, industrial interface and power management.

Block Diagram

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Design Considerations

Stepper Motor Overview

The stepper motor has a rotor with permanent magnets mounted on it, while the stator has a minimum of two windings. When the rotor magnet aligns with the stator winding, the second winding is energized. The two windings are turned on and off alternately; this causes the motor to lock on to the desired step position. The direction of the current through the winding can also be reversed.

In a stepper motor with two stator windings, there are clearly four steps, separated by 90 degrees. A stepper motor can be controlled precisely as it moves in steps, depending on the pulses provided to the stator windings.

The speed control of a stepper motor is achieved by the pulse frequency provided to the windings, while the direction of rotation can be changed by reversing pulse sequences. The pole pieces inside the motor have many teeth, which help in aligning the rotor position relative to the stator. Some stepper motors also have teeth on the stator poles.

Stepper motors can be controlled in full steps, half steps or micro steps, depending on the control techniques used. Simple square pulses can control the motor in full steps, while advanced control techniques such as pulse-width modulation (PWM) are used in micro stepping.

Microcontrollers

A basic MSP430 MCU in conjunction with a stepper control driver IC such as a DRV8412 can provide full step or up to 16 micro steps at a very low cost. More complex control of stepper motors is possible with Stellaris™ or C2000™ MCUs. On-board peripherals such as ADCs and PWMs create a highly integrated solution to meet all application requirements with stepper motors.

Interface/Connectivity

Traditional analog RS-232/RS-485 interfaces remain popular choices for motor control applications. Looking forward, designers are integrating mainstream interfaces such as Ethernet, USB and CAN into their products.

TI is committed to providing solutions for both traditional and emerging industrial interfaces. For example, TI recently introduced the ISO1050, the world's first isolated CAN transceiver.

Power Management

Texas Instruments offers power management IC solutions ranging from standard ICs to high-performance, plug-in, power-brick, digital-power MOSFETs and integrated power modules.

From AC/DC and DC/DC power supplies, linear regulators and non-isolated switching DC/DC regulators to PMICs and power and display solutions, Texas Instruments power management IC solutions can help you complete your project.

Recommended Resources

Overview of TI Motor Control Resources

Application Notes (1)

Title Abstract Type Size (KB) Date Views
HTM 8 KB 30 Nov 2004 2027
    

Reference Designs

Selection and Solution Guides

Selection Guides (5)

Title Abstract Type Size (KB) Date Views
PDF 2.8 MB 25 Jun 2014 68191
PDF 4.63 MB 22 May 2014 4100
PDF 9.51 MB 01 May 2014 58354
PDF 6.82 MB 25 Mar 2014 13208
PDF 16.33 MB 17 Nov 2011 1058

Solution Guides (1)

Title Abstract Type Size (KB) Date Views
PDF 5.83 MB 26 Oct 2012 14480

Tools and Software

Name Part # Company Software/Tool Type
Code Composer Studio (CCS) Integrated Development Environment (IDE) CCSTUDIO Texas Instruments SW Development Tools, IDEs, Compilers

Product Bulletin & White Papers

Product Bulletin (1)

Title Abstract Type Size (MB) Date Views
PDF 216 KB 17 Oct 2012 2663

White Papers (3)

Title Abstract Type Size (MB) Date Views
PDF 1.17 MB 04 Oct 2012 2196
PDF 179 KB 20 Apr 2012 3145
PDF 1.64 MB 02 Sep 2011 2120

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Motion in Minutes: Single and multi-axis speed and position control
Get exposed to the latest in high performance control technology for elevators, CNC, robotics and servo drive applications.
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Getting Started - InstaSPIN-FOC Enabled C2000 LaunchPad and Motor Boosterpack
Learn how to quickly develop motor control applications.
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Getting Started - MSP430 LaunchPad and NFC BoosterPack
Learn how to quickly develop NFC applications.
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Tiva C Series TM4C129x MCUs
This 6-part series will introduce you to various features on TM4C129x microcontrollers.
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Intro to Motor Drives and the Motor Signal Chain
This session will focus in on the analog drive section of the motor.
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