A typical system for a stepper motor comprises a motor and a drive unit with a control part, a power stage and a power supply. The control part is responsible for ensuring that each motor phase is supplied with the correct current level at the correct moment and the power stage feeds in the current taken from a direct current source.
The drive is usually supplied with pulses and a directional signal from an indexer or some programmable control system. These generate a pulse train, where the frequency determines the speed of the motor and the number of pulses the position of the motor.
A stepper motor has many uses. It can mainly be used for so-called CNC machines and other types of robots. The fact that the stepper motor can be used for these is due to the fact that it is good for moving a small distance with high torque, which in turn provides high precision over the movements while being robust, which is very useful when you want to process materials.
Compared to other types of motors, stepper motors are better when you are looking for precision over movement and high torque over speed or constant movement. A radio-controlled car with a stepper motor would not be practical as the stepper motor moves jerkily and would therefore not provide a steady speed. How big these jerks are depends on the quality of the stepper motor. The smoother movement (the fewer degrees per step of the engine) you want, the more it costs. Instead, it is best in things like a robot or computer-controlled lathe where the priority is on precise movements and high torque.
In practical terms, they fit into commercial applications such as scanners, printers, CD readers, hard drives, camera lenses, CNC machines, 3D printers and more.
In addition to the purely technical, the stepper motor is cheap in relation to how much control it provides, it has high torque at low speeds, it is robust, it has a simple construction, requires almost no maintenance, it is very reliable, it has full torque when stationary if it has energy (so it can not be turned), easy to repeat movements, long life as it has no brushes that are in contact with the rotor (depends on the ball bearings in the engine) and that you can get many different speeds easily.
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