Rare earth magnets and optimized rotors designed for maximum torque, and high efficiencyStators with maximum winding fill for lower temperatures, long life and maximum torqueLarge ball bearings, also optimized for short repatitive moves to ensure long life.
A stepper motor or step motor or stepping motor is a brushless DC electric motor that divides a full rotation into a number of equal steps. The motor's position can then be commanded to move and hold at one of these steps without any position sensor for feedback (an open-loop controller), as long as the motor is carefully sized to the application in respect to torque and speed.
Stepper motors, with their ability to produce high torque at a low speed while minimizing vibration, are ideal for applications requiring quick positioning over a short distance. Stepping technology allows for the use of an open-loop controller – simplifying machine design and lowering total cost compared to a servo motor system.
What Is A Stepper Motor?
Not really sure how step motors work? Review the three basic types of step motors and understand how these simple yet powerful devices create rotary motion.
• What Is A Stepper Motor
Stepper Motors provide precise position and speed control, without the need for feedback devices to sense position. The operation of step motors is controlled through electrical pulses that the drive converts to current flowing through the windings of the motor. As the current is switched the motor rotates in precise steps of a fixed angle. The motor and drive constitutes a low cost control system that is precise and simple to construct.
• Advantages of Using Stepper Motors
• Accurate Position ControlThe number of control pulses defines the motor shaft position. Position error is very small (less than 1/10th of a degree), and non cumulative.A stepper motor rotates with a fixed step angle, just like the second hand of a clock. This angle is called "basic step angle." MOONS' offers several types of "basic step angle" as standard motors: 2-phase stepping motors with a basic step angle of 0.9° and 1.8° and 3-phase stepping motors with a basic step angle of 1.2°. Besides the standard motor, MOONS' also has stepper motors avalible with other "basic step angle." They are 0.72°, 1.5°, 3.6° and 3.75°, these motors are not listed in the catalog, please contact MOONS' for details.• Precise Motor Speed Step motor running speed, is exactly determined by the frequency of the control pulses. Because the speed is very precise and easy to control, step motors are often used where coordinated motion control is needed. • Forward & Reverse, Pause and Holding Function Motor torque and position control is effective throughout the entire speed range, including zero speed holding torque. The zero speed holding torque locks the shaft at the desired position to hold the load in place. • Low Speed Operation Step motors produce a large amount of torque, and are easy to control, at low speeds. This often eliminates the need for speed reduction gearboxes, reduces costs and saves space. • Long Life The brushless design of step motors leads to motors with a very long life. Step motor life is usually determined by the life of the bearings.
MOONS’ stepping motors are widely used to create the motion needed in many types of equipment. Examples include: • office automation: printers, scanners, copy machines • stage lighting: pointing, focus, color changes, spot size, special effects • banking: check processing, credit card manufacturing, money scanners & counters • medical: body scanning, blood analyzers, chemical analysis • industrial: textile, packaging, robotics, conveyers, assembly, labeling • telecommunication: phase shift, Tuning, mobile antenna positioning • security: camera movement • automotive: fuel metering, steering control
• What is a stepper motor used for
The stepper motor is an electromagnetic device that converts digital pulses into mechanical shaft rotation. Advantages of step motors are low cost, high reliability, high torque at low speeds and a simple, rugged construction that operates in almost any environment.
• How many steps are in a stepper motor
Typical stepper motors are 1.8 degrees per step, which is 200 steps per revolution. Some stepper motors are able to move in very small increments. In this example, it moves 0.9 degrees per step or 400 steps per revolution.
• What are the phases of a stepper motor
A phase (or step) is the momentary condition of the stepper motor: which coil(s) is (are) energised and in which direction. For the 4-coil version each phase has current flowing through one of the 4 coils.
• What is the resolution of a stepper motor
Most modern drives implement microstepping to increase resolution and motion smoothness. Most common stepper resolution is 200 full steps per revolution but when driven for example with 16-microstep drive, the resulting resolution is 1600 steps per revolution (1/1600 revolutions).
• How do you reverse a stepper motor
To change direction you need to reverse the current in one set of coils only. At the moment the two motors are connected in parallel and turn in the same direction. Swap ONE of the coil pairs over and you should be able to get the two motors turn in the opposite direction with the same drive signal.
• How do you wire a stepper motor
To begin, if your stepper motor only has four wires, this means it can only be used with a bipolar driver. You will notice each of the two phase windings has a pair ofwires, use your meter to identify the wires. Find the wires that have the continuity between them and connect these to the stepper motor.
• What is the meaning of holding torque
If external force is applied to a stepping motor when it is stopped but energized, the attractive force generated between the rotor and stator works to maintain the stop position of the motor. This torque of withstanding the external force is called theholding torque.
• Basic Structure
• Operating Principles
In response to each individual control pulse and direction signal, the drive applies power to the motor windings to cause the rotor to take a step forward, a step in reverse, or hold in position. For example, in a 1.8 degree two phase step motor: When both phases are energized with DC current, the motor will stop rotating and hold in position. The maximum torque the motor can hold in place with rated DC current, is the rated holding torque. If the current in one phase is reversed, the motor will move 1 step (1.8 degrees) in a known direction. If the current in the other phase had been reversed, the motor would move 1 step (1.8 degrees) in the other direction. As current is reversed in each phase in sequence, the motor continues to step in the desired direction. These steps are very accurate. For a 1.8 degree step motor, there are exactly 200 steps in one revolution. Two phase stepping motors are furnished with two types of windings: bipolar or unipolar. In a bipolar motor there is one winding on each phase. The motor moves in steps as the current in each winding is reversed. This requires a drive with eight electronic switches. In a unipolar motor there are two windings on each phase. The two windings on each phase are connected in opposite directions. Phase current is reversed by turning on alternate windings on the same phase. This requires a drive with only four electronic switches. Bipolar operation typically provides 40% more holding torque than unipolar, because 100% of the winding is energized in the bipolar arrangement.
How To Use Stepper Motor?
Rules of thumb and best practices for using and installing step motors.
• Load Calculations
• Speed-Torque Characteristics
The dynamic torque curve is an important aspect of stepping motor’s output performance. The followings are some keyword explanations.
A. Working frequency point express the stepping motors rotational speed versus the drive pulse rate. n = q * Hz / (360 * D) n: rev/sec Hz: the frequency value or the driver pulse rate. D: the subdividing value of motor driver q: the step angle of stepping motor E.g.: 1.8° stepping motor, in the condition of I/2 subdividing (each step 0.9°) runs at 500Hz its speed is 1.25r/s.
B. Start/Stop region: the region in which a stepping motor can be directly started or stopped. C. Slew Range: the motor cannot be started directly in this area. It must be started in the start/stop region first and then accelerated to this area. In this area, the motor can not be directly stopped, either. Otherwise this will lead to losing-step. The motor must be decelerated back to the start/stop region before it can be stopped. D. Maximum starting frequency point at this point, the stepping motor can reach its maximum starting speed under unloaded condition. E. Maximum running frequency point at this point the stepping motor can reach its maximum running speed under an unloaded condition. F. Pull-in Torque: the maximum dynamic torque value that a stepping motor can load directly at the particular operating frequency point. G. Pull-out Torque: the maximum dynamic torque value that a stepping motor can load at the particular operating frequency point when the motor has been started. Because of the inertia of rotation the Pull-Out Torque is always larger than the Pull-In Torque.
• Calculate the Acceleration Torque
The torque meeded to accelerate the system inertia is often larger than the friction torque of the load. This limits how quickly the load can be accelerated. As shown by the following graph: the dynamic torque performance of a stepping motor is constant at low speeds. But at higher speeds, the torque drops as speed increases (influenced by the motor inductance and drive voltage). A. Accelerated Motion of Straight Line Motor’s load value is known as TL, it has to be accelerated from F0 to F1 in the shortest time(tr), what is the value of tr? (1). Generally TJ = 70%Tm (2). tr = 1.8 * 10 -5 * J * q * (F1-F0)/(TJ-TL) (3). F (t) = (F1-F0) * t/tr + F0, B. Exponential Acceleration (1). Generally TJ0 = 70%Tm0, TJ1 = 70%Tm1, TL = 60%Tm1 (2). tr = F4 * In [(TJ0-TL)/(TJ1-TL)] (3). F (t) = F2 * [1 – e^(-t/F4)] + F0, F2 = (TL-TJ0) * (F1-F0)/(FJ1-TJ0) F4 = 1.8 * 10-5 * J * q * F2/(TJ0-TL) Note: J is the rotational inertia of motor rotor plus the load, q is the angle of each step, it equals the step angle of stepping motor when motor runs in full step.
• Reduction of Vibration and Noise
In a non-loading condition, stepping motors may appear to have vibration or even lose steps when the motor is running at or close to resonant frequency. Solutions for these conditions include: A. Have the motor operate outside of this speed range. B. Micro-step is used for increasing a motor’s step resolution. By adopting the micro-step driving method, you can divide one step into multiple steps thereby reducing the vibration. This is accomplished by controlling the motor’s phase current ratio. Micro-step does not increase step accuracy. However it will allow a motor to run more smoothly and with less noise. When the motor runs in half step mode the motor torque will be 15% less than running in full step mode. If the motor is controlled by sine wave current the motor torque will be reduced by 30% if using the same peak current. C. Use 0.9° 2 phase step motor, or a three phase step motor.
• Step Sequence & Schematic Diagrams
• 2 Phase Motors
• 4 Lead (bipolar)
• 6 Lead (unipolar)
• 8 Lead• 3 Phase Motors
• Bearing Life & Shaft Loading
Moons’ uses high quality bearings optimized for step motors for long life from every motor. To meet the most demanding applicatons. Most motors can also be provided with larger bearings shafts and custom construction. These bearing life curves represent the maximum axial and radial loads for 20,000 hours L10 bearing life at various speeds. The shaft radial load limit (and bearing load ratings) are highly dependent on the the distance from the mounting face where the load is applied. These curves were calculated with the radial load applied at the distance from the mounting face shown on the curve (usually the center of the flat / keyway). A common cause for shaft (and bearing) failure, are high radial loads that are created when a pulley is attached to the motor shaft at a large distance from the motor mounting face, and the belt has high tension. To avoid this condition mount pulleys and gears as close to the face of the motor as possible, and avoid over tightening belts. This will dramatically reduce the shaft stress, and increases the life of the bearings.
• Conversion Factors
• Length• Force• Torque• Inertia
Stepper Motor Glossary
Ever wonder what “pull-in torque” means? Find out that, and more, here.
Absolute Position Position referenced to a fixed zero or “home” position Absolute Programming A positioning coordinate reference wherein all positions are specified relative to some reference or “home” position; this is different from incremental programming where distances are specified relative to the current position Ambient Temperature The temperature of the medium immediately surrounding a device Amplifier Electronic device that converts command signals (analog or digital) to high power voltages and currents for the operation of the motor ASCII American Standard Code for Information Interchange; this code assigns a number to each numeral and letter of the alphabet allowing information to be transmitted between machines as a series of binary numbers Axial Play(End play)The axial shaft displacement due to a reversal of an axial force on the shaftBaud RateThe number of binary bits transmitted per second for serial communications such as RS-232Bi-level Drive (Dual Voltage Drive)A driver where two levels of voltage are used to drive a step motor; a high (over drive) voltage is applied to the winding each time it is switched on; the high voltage stays on until the current reaches a predetermined level; the high voltage is turned off after a time period determined experimentally or by sensing winding current; the low voltage maintains the desired currentBipolar DriveA drive that reverses the magnetic polarity of a pole by electronically switching the polarity of the current to the winding (+ or -); bipolar drives can be used with 4, 6, or 8 lead motors; with 4 and 8 lead motors, bipolar drives are usually more efficient than unipolar drives and generally produce more torqueBrushless Servo DriveA servo drive used to control a permanent magnet synchronous AC motorChopper DriveA step motor drive that uses switching amplifiers to control motor currentClass B InsulationSpecifies motor insulation that is rated for operation up to 130°CClass H InsulationSpecifies motor insulation that is rated for operation up to 180°CClosed LoopA system that uses some form of feedback device to monitor the system output; the signal from the device is used to correct any errors between actual and demanded outputCoggingTerm used to describe uneven velocity in motors usually at low speedsCommutationRefers to the action of steering currents or voltage to the proper motor phases to produce optimum motor torque. In brush type motors, commutation is done electromechanically via the brushes and commutator. In brushless motors, commutation is done by the switching electronics using rotor position information typically obtained from hall sensors, tachometers, resolvers or encoders.Controller (Step Motor)A system consisting of a DC power supply and power switches plus associated circuits to control the switches in the proper sequenceDampingAn indication of the rate of decay of a signal to its steady state value; related to settling timeDead BandA range of input signals for which there is no system responseDetent TorqueThe maximum torque required to slowly rotate a step motor shaft with no power applied to the windings; this applies only to permanent magnet or hybrid motors; the leads are separated from each otherDrive (PWM)A motor drive utilizing Pulse-Width Modulation techniques to control current to the motor; typically a high efficiency drive that can be used for high response applicationsDrive (Servo)A motor drive that utilizes motor position feedback with a control loop for accurate control of motor position and/or velocityDrive (Stepper)An electronic package to convert digital step and direction inputs to currents to drive a step motorDuty CycleThe percentage of ON time vs. OFF time; a device that is always on has a 100% duty cycle; half on and half off is a 50% duty cycleDynamic BrakingA passive technique for stopping a permanent magnet brush or brushless motor; the motor windings are shorted together through a resistor, which results in a motor braking with an exponential decrease in speedEncoderA device used to translate motion into electrical signals used to provide position information; often used as a position/motion feedback device in closed loop systemsEncoder Marker PulseA once-per-revolution signal that is provided by some incremental encoders to specify a reference point within that revolutionEnd PlayThe axial shaft motion due to the reversal of an axial force acting on a shaft with axial clearance or low axial pre-loadFollowing ErrorThe positional error during motion between a load’s actual position and the commanded positionFriction - CoulombA resistance to motion between non-lubricated surfaces; this force remains constant with velocityFriction - ViscousA resistance to motion between lubricated surfaces; this force is proportional to the relative velocity between the surfacesHall SensorsA feedback device built into a motor used by a servo amplifier to electronically commutate the motorHolding Torque (Static Torque)The maximum restoring torque that is developed by the energized motor when the shaft is slowly rotated by external meansHybrid Step MotorA type of step motor comprising a permanent magnet and variable reluctance stator and rotor structures; it uses a double salient pole constructionHysteresis (Positional)The difference between the step positions when moving CW and the step position when moving CCW; a step motor may stop slightly short of the true position thus producing a slight difference in position CW to CCWI/O (Inputs/Outputs)The reception and transmission of information between control devices; I/O has two distinct forms: Digital - switches, relays, etc. which are either in an On or Off state; Analog – a continuous signal such as speed, temperature, low, etc.Idle Current ReductionReduction of phase current to a step motor when no motion is requiredIndexerAn electronic control device that sends pulse and direction signals for use by a step motor driverInductance (Mutual)The property that exists between two current carrying conductors or coils when magnetic lines of flux from one link with those of the otherInductance (Self)The constant by which the rate of change of the coil current must be multiplied to give the self-induced counter EMFInertiaMeasure of resistance of an object to changes in velocity; the larger the inertia, the more torque required to accelerate and decelerate the loadInertial MatchRatio of reflected load inertia to motor inertiaInstantaneous START/STOP RateThe maximum switching rate that an unloaded step motor will follow without missing steps when starting from rest or stopping from movingL/R DriveA drive that uses external resistance to allow a higher voltage than that of a voltage drive; L/R drives have better performance than voltage drives, but have less performance and efficiency than a chopper driveLoop, PIDA high performance control loop that uses Proportional, Integral and Derivative type control parametersLoop, PositionA feedback control loop in which the controlled parameter is motor positionLoop, VelocityA feedback control loop in which the controlled parameter is velocityMaximum Reversing RateThe maximum stepping rate at which an unloaded motor will reverse direction of rotation without missing stepsMaximum Slew RateThe maximum stepping rate at which a step motor with no load will run and remain in synchronismMicrostepping A technique in which motor steps are electronically divided by the drive into smaller steps; the most common microstep resolutions are 10, 25 and 50 steps per full step, but many resolutions ranging from 2 to 256 microsteps per full step are available Open Frame Drive Refers to amplifiers where a separate DC power source must be provided to the unit Open-Loop A system with no feedback; most step motor systems are run in this mode Oscillator A device that is used to produce pulses for driving a step motor at a preset speed Overshoot The amount a motor shaft rotates beyond the commanded stopping position Packaged Drive Refers to amplifiers where the power supply is included in the enclosure and 110/220VAC is used to power the unit Permanent Magnet Step Motor A step motor having a permanent magnet rotor and wound stator Pull-In Rate (Response Rate) The maximum switching rate at which an unloaded motor can start without losing step positions. Pull-In Torque The maximum torque load at which a step motor will start and run in synchronism with a fixed frequency stepping rate without losing step positions Pull-out Torque The maximum torque load that can be applied to a motor running at a fixed stepping rate while maintaining synchronism; any additional load torque will cause the motor to stall or miss steps Pulse Rate The rate at which successive steps are initiated or the windings switched; the pulse rate divided by the resolution of the motor/drive combination (in steps per revolution) equals the rotational speed of the motor in revolutions per second PWM (Pulse Width Modulation) A method of controlling motor voltage and current used in servo and step motor drivers Radial Play (Side play) The side-to-side movement of the shaft due to clearances between the shaft and bearing, bearing to housing, and bearing internal clearance for ball and roller bearings Ramping The acceleration and deceleration of a motor; may also refer to the change in frequency of the step pulse train Rated Torque The torque producing capability of a motor at a given speed; this is the maximum continuous torque the motor can deliver to a load Regeneration The action during deceleration, in which the motor acts as a generator and takes kinetic energy from the load, converts it to electrical energy, and returns it to the amplifier Repeatability The degree to which the positioning accuracy for a given move performed repetitively can be duplicated Resolution The smallest positioning increment that can be achieved; frequently defined as the number of steps or feedback units required for a motor’s shaft to rotate one complete revolution Resonance The effect of a periodic driving force that causes a large amplitude increase at a particular frequency Response Rate (Pull-In Rate) The stepping rate an unloaded motor can follow from a standing start without missing steps Ringing Oscillation of a system following a sudden change in state RS-232, RS-422/485 Serial communication hardware definitions Serial Port A digital data communications port that uses a serial bit stream for data transfer Servo Amplifier/Servo Drive An electronic device that converts a control signal into a current that is fed into the motor windings to produce torque in the motor Servo System A feedback control system for mechanical motion in which the controlled output is position or velocity; servo systems are closed loop systems Settling Time The elapsed time starting the instant the rotor reaches the commanded step position and the oscillations settle to within a specified displacement band around the final position Si MOONS’ Simple Indexer operating environment; sequences for machine operation are programmed by the use of point and click instructions Slew The portion of a move made at a constant nonzero velocity Stall Torque (holding or static) The torque available from a motor at stall or zero rpm Step Angle The nominal angle through which the step motor shaft rotates between adjacent step positions Step or Stepping Rate (Speed) The number of steps a shaft rotates during a specified time interval Step-to-step Accuracy (relative accuracy) The maximum error that occurs between any adjacent step, expressed as a percentage of one full step Switching Amplifier A device that switches a high voltage on and off to control current; some amplifiers (PWM types) switch at a constant frequency and adjust duty cycle to control current, others have a fixed off time and adjust the frequency Switching Sequence (Energizing Sequence) The sequence and polarity of voltages applied to coils of a step motor that result in a specified direction of rotation Thermal Time Constant The time required for the motor winding to reach 63.2% of its final temperature Thermal Resistance The resistance to the flow of energy between two surfaces of the same body or different bodies; thermal resistance = degrees C/watt in the winding Torque The rotary equivalent of force; equal to the product of the force perpendicular to the radius of motion and distance from the center of rotation to the point where the force is applied Torque Constant A number representing the relationship between motor input current and motor output torque, usually expressed in units of torque/amp Torque Displacement Curve The holding (restoring) torque plotted as a function of rotor angular displacement with the motor energized Torque Gradient (Stiffness) The ratio of the change in holding torque to a particular change in shaft position when the motor is energized Torque Ripple The cyclical variation of generated torque given by the product of motor angular velocity and number of commutator segments Torque-to-inertia Ratio Ratio of a motor’s torque divided by the motor’s rotor inertia; the higher the ratio, the higher the acceleration may be Unipolar Drive The motor phase winding current is switched in one direction only; the polarity of the applied voltage to each winding is always the same; unipolar drives require 6 or 8 lead motors Variable Reluctance Step Motor (V/R) A step motor having a wound stator or stators with salient poles working with a soft iron rotor having salient poles on the periphery Velocity The change in position as a function of time; velocity has both magnitude and direction Viscous Damping A damper that provides a drag or friction torque proportional to acceleration; a quality used to damp unwanted oscillations of a step motor Voltage Drive A drive operated at the minimum voltage required to safely limit motor current; motors used with voltage drives produce less torque at higher speeds than when used with L/R or chopper drives Wave Drive Energizing the phases one at a time; driving the motor one phase or winding at a time
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