Mechanically, stepper motors are ideal for hobbyist projects and simple motion control. Because they work in individual steps, objects may be precisely positioned simply by moving a number of steps. Speed and direction are also easily controlled. However, electrically speaking, stepper motors are complicated. Proper sequencing of power on several wires is required, rather than simply applying power as with a conventional motor.
This talk will demonstrate basic electromagnetic effects, illustrate how changing these magnetic fields creates stepping motion, demonstrate full and half step sequences, and conclude by presenting very simple circuitry and software to control a stepper motor from a PC parallel port. Extensive use of illustrations and live demonstration will keep the focus on tangible results.
While primarily of interest to anyone who has ever wished to utilize a stepper motor, this talk should also demystify in general how motors magically transform electrical power into mechanical motion. The illustrations and live-demo hardware may be particularly useful for high school science teachers to demonstrate abstract magnetic field principles with a practical, real-world example.
Paul is an electrical engineer with 15 years professional experience and a life-long passion for tinkering with technology and crafting overly ambitious ideas into reality.