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FIGURE 19.11 Add four LEDs and resistors to provide a visual indication of the stepping action.
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TABLE 19.5 PARTS LIST FOR UCN5804 STEPPER MOTOR TRANSLATOR/DRIVER.
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All resistors have 5 or 10 percent tolerance, 1/4-watt.
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the same company. The truth table for the typical driving sequence of a bipolar stepper motor is shown in Fig. 19.13 (see p. 292).
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Spend some time with a stepper motor and you ll invariably come to admire its design and be able to think up all sorts of ways to make it work for you in your robot designs. But to use a stepper, you have to get one. That in itself is not always easy. Then after you have obtained it and taken it home, there s the question of figuring out where all the wires go! Let s take each problem one at a time.
SOURCES FOR STEPPER MOTORS
Despite their many advantages, stepper motors aren t nearly as common as the trusty DC motor, so they are harder to find. And when you do find them, they re expensive when new. The surplus market is by far the best source for stepper motors for hobby robotics. See Appendix B, Sources, for a list of selected mail order surplus companies that regularly carry a variety of stepper motors. They carry most of the name brand steppers: Thompson-Airpax, Molon, Haydon, and Superior Electric. The cost of surplus steppers is often a quarter or fifth of the original list price. The disadvantage of buying surplus is that you don t always get a hookup diagram or adequate specifications. Purchasing surplus stepper motors is largely a hit-or-miss
CONTROLLING A STEPPER MOTOR 291
FIGURE 19.12 Two finished stepper motor translator boards, with indicator LEDs. The board on the left controls two stepper motors; the board on the right controls four stepper motors.
affair, but most outlets let you return the goods if they aren t what you need. If you like the motor, yet it still lacks a hookup diagram, read the following section on how to decode the wiring.
WIRING DIAGRAM
The internal wiring diagram of both a bipolar and unipolar stepper motor is shown in Fig. 19.14. The wiring in a bipolar stepper is actually easy to decode. You use a volt-ohm meter to do the job right. You can be fairly sure the motor is two-phase if it has only four wires leading to it. You can identify the phases by connecting the leads of the meter to each wire and noting the resistance. Wire pairs that give an open reading (infinite ohms) represent two different coils (phases). You can readily identify mating phases when there is a small resistance through the wire pair. Unipolar steppers behave the same, but with a slight twist. Let s say, for argument s sake, that the motor has eight wires leading to it. Each winding, then, has a pair of wires. Connect your meter to each wire in turn to identify the mating pairs. As illustrated in Fig. 19.15, no reading (infinite ohms) signifies that the wires do not lead to the same winding; a reading indicates a winding. If the motor has six wires, then four of the leads go to one side of the windings. The other two are commons and connect to the other side of the windings (see Fig. 19.16). Decoding this wiring scheme takes some patience, but it can be done. First, separate all those wires where you get an open reading. At the end of your test, there should be two three-wire sets that provide some reading among each of the leads.
292 WORKING WITH STEPPER MOTORS
STEP 1 Clockwise 2 3 4
PHASE 1
PHASE 2
Counter Clockwise
FIGURE 19.13 The phasing sequence for a bipolar stepper motor.
Phase 1
Phase 2
Phase 1 Phase 2
Phase 3 Phase 4
FIGURE 19.14 Pictorial diagrams of the coils in a bipolar and unipolar stepper motor.
CONTROLLING A STEPPER MOTOR 293
R Meter connections
Open
Open
FIGURE 19.15 Connection points and possible readings on an 8-wire unipolar stepper motor.
Phase input Possible connections
FIGURE 19.16 Common connections may reduce the wire count of the stepper motor to five or six, instead of eight.
294 WORKING WITH STEPPER MOTORS
Locate the common wire by following these steps. Take a measurement of each combination of the wires and note the results. You should end up with three measurements: wires 1 and 2, wires 2 and 3, and wires 1 and 3. The meter readings will be the same for two of the sets. For the third set, the resistance should be roughly doubled. These two wires are the main windings. The remaining wire is the common. Decoding a five-wire motor is the most straightforward procedure. Measure each wire combination, noting the results of each. When you test the leads to one winding, the result will be a specified resistance (let s call it R ). When you test the leads to two of the windings, the resistance will be double the value of R, as shown in Fig. 19.17. Isolate this common wire with further testing and you ve successfully decoded the wiring.
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