The Wave Drive mode of operation is typically considered to be the most simple way of driving a stepper motor, but is also the least common mode of stepper motor driving, due to its shortfalls relative to
Full-Step (torque) and Half-step (precision) patterns. The wave drive mode would likely be used in applications where reduced power consumption is important and high torque is unnecessary. Because of its simplicity, it is easiest to help discuss the functional operation of stepper motors.
For this mode of operation, each phase of the motor is activated in succession with only a single phase being activated at any point in time. Figure 8 and Figure 9 describe the step pattern required for the wave drive method, while Figure 10 provides a pictorial representation of the motor steps. Depending on the motor, each step in the sequence will rotate a defined angular distance. Figure 10 represents a motor with 4 steps per revolution, but many common stepper motors will have 32 or 64 steps per revolution; furthermore, others can have even higher precision. Each step for the motor in Figure 10 spins the motor 90°. As each phase is activated in succession, the permanent magnet on the rotor is attracted to the activated coil in the stator.