Control 100 Stepper motors for Art Install

I am trying to figure out how to control 100 Small Stepper motors for a special art project.
they all move independantly based on input. they only end up making a few rotations and dont need much power.

I would apprecaite any links or suggestions on how one would wire up and control these. what boards would be recommended. hoping for something plug and play if possible / daisy chain?

adamfilipowicz:
I am trying to figure out how to control 100 Small Stepper motors for a special art project.
they all move independently based on input. they only end up making a few rotations and don't need much power.

OK, so you are now re-posting this previous question.

Here's the rules: Give the Web link to the steppers you have, or propose to purchase.

Explain why you propose to use steppers instead of servos? Steppers require more power as they use (about) the same power when stationary as when moving. There is a board cheaply available on eBay which will control 16 servos and you can use 7 of these boards quite easily.

100 steppers. Seriously.

At least one pulse pin and one direction pin (if using 4-wire steppers and a board like the A4988) makes for 200 output pins, of which 100 need careful timing to produce the pulses for the correct movement. Way too much for a single board.

That's a lot of work to wire up. Power wires to the controller boards, wires from boards to steppers, etc. Lots of wiring.

You can do maybe 10 steppers per Arduino, one master to send high-level commands to the individual Arduinos.

That's a lot of current - steppers take 1-2A each, so that's 100-200A.

That's a lot of interference - the current control by the stepper drivers mostly.

Servos sound like a very good alternative indeed - a few turns left and right implies you're moving things by a little bit, and that's exactly what a servo can do very well. Not sure if you can nicely control that many from a single Arduino (you probably want to control the movement carefully) but it sounds quite feasible. You still have to deal with the current and interference of course.

An off the shelf solution would use a Mega with a RAMPS 1.4 shield, that provides support for 5 bipolar steppers. You could probably daisy chain another RAMPS to give 10 motors per Mega. Then 100 stepper drivers.

The hardware is probably the easy bit, unless you on a small budget which is often an implicit requirement.

Servos adapted for continuous rotation would be a cheaper solution.

The rest is a simple matter of programming.

bobcousins:
Servos adapted for continuous rotation would be a cheaper solution.

The rest is a simple matter of programming.

The it sounds like the OP requires position control, a continuous rotation servo basically looses this property when made continuous.

How "small" are small steppers?
Link to data/specs please?

Tom... :slight_smile:

adamfilipowicz:
they only end up making a few rotations and dont need much power.

If you turn a disk with a bump or notch or hole every X degrees to sense then a sketch could know servo position.

But for just one special end-up spot, 1 card stock disk with 1 hole that lets a springy radial-oriented wire (paperclip or less) on top through to a contact piece (pull tab) below is a cheap switch . Controller could count down positive reads to stop, the final orientation is how you set the disk. Make it adjustable so you can set each one in situ.