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Basic Stepping Motor Control Circuits

Basic Stepping Motor Control Circuits

This section of the stepper tutorial deals with the basic final stage drive circuitry for stepping motors. This circuitry is centered on a single issue, switching the current in each motor winding on and off, and controlling its direction.
The circuitry discussed in this section is connected directly to the motor windings and the motor power supply, and this circuitry is controlled by a digital system that determines when the switches are turned on or off.

This section covers all types of motors, from the elementary circuitry needed to control a variable reluctance motor, to the H-bridge circuitry needed to control a bipolar permanent magnet motor. Each class of drive circuit is illustrated with practical examples, but these examples are not intended as an exhaustive catalog of the commercially available control circuits, nor is the information given here intended to substitute for the information found on the manufacturer’s component data sheets for the parts mentioned.


This section only covers the most elementary control circuitry for each class of motor. All of these circuits assume that the motor power supply provides a drive voltage no greater than the motor’s rated voltage, and this significantly limits motor performance. The next section, on current limited drive circuitry, covers practical high-performance drive circuits.

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