I accidentally bought a stepper motor from http://www.sparkfun.com/products/9238 I really just needed a normal motor, I hardly know what a stepper motor is.
I also have this shield.
My question is, can I use the stepper motor as a normal motor? If so what wire(s) do I connect to ground and what wire(s) to 12V?
If not, can I use the driver shield above to power this thing or do I have to buy a stepper motor shield or a normal motor?
Hope someone can help.
A stepper motor is driven by switching power between its coils in a specific pattern, the advantage being that the rotation can be controlled precisely. It cannot be driven just by connecting + and - DC power to its wires.
Hang on to the stepper though. Do a little research on them to understand how they're used and I'm sure you'll come back around to finding a use for it.
You can use the stepper motor as a "normal" motor. Basically a stepper motor is made for precision positioning, whilst a normal motor is made for spinning at different speeds and/or different torques.
So what will happen is that the motor's movement will be like a the seconds hand in a clock. It is possible to spin it pretty fast, but not as fast as a DC motor.
It is possible to connect it and use it with that shield. Have a look at these:
Not sure if the stepper motor library can be used with this though. :\
What do you mean by a "normal" motor? Although a stepper is generally used as a positioning device moving in discrete steps to a commanded position, it will run continuously though at a relatively low rpm compared to a brushed DC motor (usually <1000 rpm) and will have very little torque at higher speeds. It is also an inefficient motor, dissipating a lot of heat.
So the short answer is if you need continuous motion use a brushed DC motor. If you need precisely controlled motion, use a stepper.
The stepper you have is a bipolar motor and requires an H-bridge to run. Your driver will not work.