Easy to use stepper controller IC

I had some stepper motors from old disk drives and other electronics devices lying around. Those were typically designed to be driven with 12V voltage and take few hundred mA of current per phase and had five or six wires (four phase).
I thought that it would be a good idea to turn them to some useful applications (for example homemade CNC) by adding a suitable stepper motor controller to control them. I was looking for a controller that accepts traditional step + direction type control interface. And I was looking for a simple to build and inexpensive system that can be easily and cheaply built (so single chip solution would be perfect).

With some web searching I could find some stepper motor driver modules that would fit to my technical needs, but the downside of then was that they seemed to be a little bit expensive for simple experimenting when price starts at around 50 euros. I was looking for something less expensive.

There are many links for stepper motor controller circuits. None of them seemed to be exactly right. I did not want to have many components and I did not want to put in microcontroller. Some web searching gave more circuits, but nothing exactly right.

Then I saw something that looked promising. There was a SAA1027 based stepper circuit. That IC seemed to be exactly what I was looking for. But then came the bad news. It seems that this IC is not made anymore and availability of SAA1027 was really bad.

Back to drawing board. I looked around on the stepper motor controller ICs from the component sources I can easily use. It took some time to go through them and most I were something like 2-3 IC solutions to drive stepper. Too complicated I though. I would like to have single chip and something that costs less than 10 euros.

Then I found NJR3517D2 that is available through Elfa easily at reasonable price (less than 8 euros). I ordered one IC and started experimenting. Very quickly I built a working stepper motor controller to a breadboard. This IC looks very promising. If you are looking for a simple solution for stepper motor controlling, check this IC.

a-small-stepper-motor

34 Comments

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  6. wendyZ says:

    Great information, I also found this link carrries many motor driver ICs at resoable price http://www.wzmicro.com

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  21. lihaijiang says:

    Maybe you will be interested in this new chip-TOSHIBA THB6064AH.

    THB6064AH offers simple peripheral circuit, more selectable phase excitation, high output current and high driver voltage, as TB6560. Its excellent performance is a quantum leap ahead of TA8435 AND TB6560HQ.Therefore, it is an updated product. Through Vref circuit, you can adjust the multi-groups driver current. When there is no impulse to input, DOWN will output the low level. Connect external resistor to reduce the Vref voltage. At the same time, the operation current of static motor was reduced. Through FDT terminal, you can set the decay mode (Fast-decay mode; Slow-decay mode; Mixed-decay mode). Through UVLO detection, you can adjust the supply voltage Vc of the logic circuit .If Vc below3.9V, close the output; if Vc above 4.0V, the protective function will be on. You can design a circuit easily to protect the driver by overheating and over current detection.

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  22. lihaijiang says:

    You can get the info from this website:www.hhbytech.com

    You can try to contact via email:yumin2191@163.com

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  24. lihaijiang says:

    Some guys have tested THB6064AH,and discuss in cnczone,you can see the post from this link http://www.cnczone.com/forums/open_source_controller_boards/80869-thb6064h_4_5a_-stepping_motor.html

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  30. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Stepper Motors on Precision, Ease and Smart Drivers
    http://www.eeweb.com/company-blog/mouser/stepper-motors-on-precision-ease-and-smart-drivers

    This article presents the stepper motors as a technology creation and technology enabler in the modern era of electronic products. It describes the basics of stepper motor, the attributes, the microstepping, which is an enhanced-step technique, as well as the key stepper-motor and driver parameters.

    Reply
  31. tomi says:

    That IC worked nicely to drive small stepper motors when I tried it on breadboard.
    So it works.

    Reply
  32. tomi says:

    The circuit link you gave http://home.att.net/~wzmicro/1compdrive.html
    looks like a nice idea when you need the simplest possible stepper driver and have suitable AC voltage available.
    I have not tested that in practice, but looks promising.

    Reply

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