Stepper Drives

Stepper systems (motor + drive) are open-loop systems which accept digital step & direction inputs provided by an "indexer" or "motion controller" which is basically a programmable pulse generator.

Step & direction commands are typically generated from a PLC (programmable logic controller), signal generator, PC or programmable motion controller.

The sequence of command pulses is "translated" into motion of the motor by the drive ("translator"). The result is a very cost-effective all-digital Smart Motion System.

Electromate is a supplier of stepper drives & systems such as microstep drivers, drivers with oscillators, and more. For more information, speak with an expert today.

Full/Half Step Drivers:

In full step operation, a hybrid stepper motor steps through the normal step angle (e.g. 200 step/revolution) causing the motor to rotate 1.8° per full step, while in half step operation the motor rotates 0.9° per full step. Full step mode is typically used in applications where torque and speed performances are less important, wherein the motor operates at a fixed speed and load conditions are well-defined.

Typically, stepper motors are used in full step mode as replacements in existing stepper motor systems, and not used in new applications. Half step mode generates steps that are half the normal step size. Therefore, this mode provides twice the resolution of full step mode.

Step motor systems can be Open Loop or Closed Loop:

Open Loop System - A system that does not use feedback to verify the desired result, or output, has been reached. Most step motor systems are operated open loop.

Closed Loop System - A system that uses feedback to verify the desired result, or output, has been reached. As an example, a feedback device such as an encoder is commonly used to provide position or velocity information to a motion controller. Closing the position loop with an encoder in an open loop step motor system benefits overall system performance since it provides stall detection, position verification and/or path correction.

Stepper Drives We Carry:

Microstep Drivers

Step motors are commonly driven by microstepping drives. A Microstep Driver applies power to the appropriate step motor winding to produce torque. It precisely divides the current between the motor phases thus positioning the step motor at smaller increments between full steps. It provides higher resolution but with less torque. Microstepping does not increase step accuracy but will allow a motor to run with less noise, minimize low speed resonance effects and produce smooth rotation over a wide speed range. Microstepping is commonly used to increase a motor's resolution. The degree of the improvement depends on the step accuracy of the motor.

Drivers with Oscillators

An oscillator is a device that is used to produce pulses for driving a step motor at a preset speed. In microstep drivers, the oscillator is usually incorporated into the hardware construction of the stepper drive.

In oscillator mode, the pulse input becomes a run/stop signal: when this signal is set low, the motor accelerates to a preset speed and slews. Raising the input high (to 5 volts) causes the step driver to decelerate to rest.

Stepper Drive Advantages:

Stepper motor drives and systems offer exceptional torque and accuracy. They also:

  • Low-cost and easy to use
  • Can be used for high-speed operations but for a limited period
  • Produce full torque at standstill
  • Offer excellent speed control, precise positioning, and repeatability of movement


Stepper drives can be used in a variety of applications, including:

  • 3D printing equipment
  • Textile machinery
  • Printing presses
  • Medical imaging machines
  • Robotics
  • CNC milling machines


Stepper Drive Products:

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