Arduino Stepper motor

Arduino Stepper motor
Arduino Stepper motor

You’re feeling brave and want to operate something more complicated than blinking LEDs. Arduino-controlled stepper motors are the next stage, allowing precise rotation. Don’t be afraid! With a motor, driver, and code, you can start motorized projects quickly. This beginner’s guide covers using these handy motors with everyone’s favorite microcontroller. Learn how they function, how to attach one, and how to program it to move as desired. Build gadgets that aim in a given direction, move parts, or operate primitive robots by following along. Stepper motors aren’t scary with this guide; use them in your next Arduino project.

A stepper motor?

Stepper DC motors offer accurate shaft control due to their short increments. Stepper motors spin incrementally, unlike DC motors. They consecutively energize coils to rotate the shaft by 1.8°.

How They Work

Stepper motors sequentially energize an electromagnet coil. Every electrified coil pulls the rotor in its direction. The motor may turn the shaft by sequentially activating the coils. To rotate the shaft, a four-coil motor can be energized A-B-A-C. Stepper motors with more coils have smaller incremental movements.

Why use a stepper motor?

Stepper motors are suitable for precision positioning and control. Some common usage are:

3D printers employ precise stepper motors to control the extruder and print bed.

CNC machines—Stepper motors precisely move the cutting tool.

In robotics, stepper motors control arms, grippers, and wheels.

Open-loop stepper motors accept pulses to step without feedback. Add encoder-based closed-loop control for high-precision applications. Cost and simplicity make stepper motors popular in open-loop control.

Stepper motors are excellent for amateurs, manufacturers, and industrial applications that need precise control and positioning. Easy to deploy, they work well for simple automation and control.

How Stepper Motors Work

Stepper motors work simply. They have several coils surrounding a spinning gear. Each coil energizes sequentially, rotating the gear in small amounts. This enables precise placement and control.

A magnetic field

Stepper motors employ magnetic fields to rotate the rotor. Coils surround the rotor, usually four or eight. Energizing each coil provides a magnetic field that spins and locks a magnetized rotor component. To keep the rotor moving, the magnetic field is swiftly turned off and the next coil is energized. Stepper motors revolve step-by-step due to rapid coil pulsing.

Full Rotation

All coils must be activated and de-energized sequentially for 360-degree rotation. Many little steps create smooth motion. The number of steps per rotation relies on the motor’s coil count—more coils equal higher precision but slower maximum speed. In most cases, 200 steps per rotation gives good control and power.

Controlling Speed

How fast the coils are electrified and de-energized controls stepper motor speed. Reduce the duration between coil energizations to speed up the rotor. Coil delays grow with slower rotation. This permits stepper motors to function at several speeds with good control. Their speeds range from one to thousands of revolutions per minute.

Stepper motors simplify rotational position and speed control. Energizing and de-energizing numerous electromagnetic coils in series allows them to spin in short, distinct increments with high control and repeatability. This makes them excellent for robotics, 3D printing, CNC machines, and more.

Selecting the Right Stepper Motor Specifications

Selecting a stepper motor for your Arduino project requires numerous parameters. Step angle and current rating matter most.

The step angle determines the number of steps each motor shaft revolution. A reduced step angle allows the motor to move in smaller increments, increasing resolution. Standard hobby stepper motor step angles are 1.8° (200 steps/rev) and 0.9° (400 steps/rev). A 1.8° stepper is affordable and suitable for most robotics projects.

Current rating reflects motor windings’ current capacity. For more torque, use a motor with a current rating that matches your load. 3–6 amps are typical for stepper motors. Make sure your motor driver and power source can produce enough current.

Phase Number

Stepper motors are bipolar or quadrature. Both will work for an Arduino, but 4-phase steppers are smoother and stronger. In contrast to 4-phase steppers, 2-phase steppers only need a 2-channel driver.

Frame Size

Stepper motor frames range from NEMA 8 (20mm square) to NEMA 42 and beyond. Greater frame size means more motor torque. Most DIY robots and automation use NEMA 17 (42mm) or 23 (57mm) frames, which are adaptable.

Motor Mounting

Consider your project’s stepper motor mounting. Most mount with NEMA 17 bolt holes. Some motors have screw- or bolt-on brackets. Before buying, plan how to properly attach stepper motors.

These suggestions will help you choose an Arduino-friendly stepper motor. Drive and build after choosing your motors! Any questions? Let me know.

Arduino Stepper Motor Control

A stepper motor may be controlled by Arduino with a few simple components:

Stepper Motor

Stepper motors control speed and location without feedback sensors by moving in small steps. A 4-wire bipolar stepper motor is ideal for beginners.

Stepper Motor Driver

Stepper motor drivers connect Arduinos to stepper motors. It converts Arduino pulse impulses into stepper motor-drive voltage and current. The A4988 driver, which controls bipolar stepper motors up to 2A per phase, is popular.

Component Connection

Stepper motor, stepper driver, Arduino. Stepper drivers include four output pins for stepper motors and input pins for Arduino digital pins. The driver’s step and direction pins link to two Arduino digital pins.


You must transfer pulse signals from two Arduino digital pins to the stepper driver’s step and direction pins to control the stepper motor. Pulse frequency governs motor speed, whereas direction pin high and low signals determine motor spin.

An example of code:

int stepPin = 3; int dirPin = 2;

In void setup(), pinMode(stepPin, OUTPUT) and pinMode(dirPin, OUTPUT) are used.

// Enable motor movement in one direction using digitalWrite(dirPin,HIGH); for(int x = 0; x < 200; x++) Loop for 200 steps.
DigitalWrite(stepPin,HIGH); delayMicroseconds(500); digitalWrite(stepPin,LOW); } }

The stepper motor spins 200 steps in one direction with this code. Adjusting delay controls speed. Motor spins in reverse when dirPin is reversed. You’ll operate your stepper motor quickly with enough practice!

Beginner Stepper Motor Projects

After learning how to control stepper motors with an Arduino, you can try some introductory projects. Start with these simple stepper motor projects.

Simple Robot Arm

Basic robot arms are novice projects. Using hobby servos, you can build an arm with 2-3 joints to pick up and move tiny objects. Arduino should move each joint to control the arm. You learn how to convert real-world movements into stepper motor steps.

An animated display

Combine stepper motors to create a dynamic display. Build a tiny Ferris wheel or carousel with stepper motors to spin each component. Or make a wave show with numerous arms moving in unison. These clever displays showcase stepper motor skills in fun ways.

Camera Slider

A camera slider smoothly slides a camera for intriguing panning shots. A stepper motor, belt, and rails make a slider. Programming the Arduino to slowly turn the stepper motor will draw the camera across the rails. Speed changes sliding effects. This can give video projects professional camera movements.

CNC Machine

After learning stepper motor control, you can create a CNC machine. CNCs precisely control routers and other cutting tools with many stepper motors. Build a tiny CNC milling or laser cutter. CNC projects are more complicated but allow for unique parts, engravings, and more.

Any stepper motor project should start simple, learn how motors work, and acquire skills gradually. Be patient and you’ll soon be making unique stepper motor crafts! Let creativity lead you.


Stepper motors are easy to use once you get used to them! This guide shows how to connect a stepper to an Arduino and move it. Understanding digital output motor control is crucial. Add accurate movement and vitality to your designs with a few lines of code. Arduino and stepper motors provide up unlimited possibilities. Steppers are useful for moving robots, automation machines, and other items. Use an Arduino and stepper motor to experiment without fear. Your creativity will astound you. Explore motors and motion and make something great!

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