Controlling a lot of stepper motors. One at the time.

Hi, I have this project where I need to control >16 stepper motors, probably 18 or so. They never need to run at the same time. Just one at the time.

My first idea was to have one stepper driver for each motor and then have an parallel interface from the Arduino for enabling the motor that should run. I'm probably going to use something like a Sparkfun Easydriver EasyDriver - Stepper Motor Driver - ROB-12779 - SparkFun Electronics

But then I thought, hey it's just one motor running at the time. Can I use one motor controller and just some beefy MOSFETs for switching which motor that will run?

If I power down the motor controller each time before switching motors I won't damage the controller?

I need input. What is the smarter option? Is using one motor controler even possible?

If you depower a stepper driver the motor it controls is liable to lose position. And when you repower the driver there is no guarantee the motor will "click" into the exact position.

If you are thinking of some system of Mosfets that can switch the output of one stepper driver to any of several motors (even if the driver is safely depowered first) then I suspect you will have an unmanageable bowl of spaghetti before you are finished - a 4 pole 18-way switch.

Just get one driver for each motor. Or a less ambitious project. :slight_smile:

...R