Essential Hardware to control 4 stepper motors


I am a beginner at Arduino and stepper motors. But as a part of my project, I should need to control 4 step motors with Labview.

2 Nema 17 stepper motors (17E2035D4-150-001)

2 Nema 17 stepper motors (PD3-140-42-SE) TRINAMIC stepper motors.

Initially, I used to control 2 Trinamic stepper motors with TMCL and TMCM module. But I got another requirement in my project where I need to use another 2 additional motors. Now I need to control all 4 motors with a single platform (LabView).

I need at least 1/4 micro step for every motor to achieve a resolution of 0.45°. I am not worried about speed. I will use only one motor at a time.

So with my initial research, I found that Arduino and micro stepper drivers are the essential hardware that I should need to build this feature. Also, I found that one Arduino controller is enough to control 4 motors. But I need at least one micro stepper driver to control one motor. So, I need 4 micro stepper drivers.

I am wondering if there is any way that I can control 4 stepper motors with a single Arduino and a single micro stepper driver.

I would kindly request any information that would help me choosing the hardware for this project. Also, I would gladly appreciate it if there are any further tips on how I can integrate this setup with LabView.

Thanks in advance.

Best regards,
Vayalthota Gopikishore

Well, you could maybe use a bunch of relays to switch motors, but it would probably cost more and be MUCH larger than simply adding another Small and Low Cost Driver

Note that there are currently a large number of stepper motor drivers aimed at the hobbyist robotics and 3d-printer market that are MUCH cheaper than the Official Motor Vendor Products!

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No, that would definitely blow up your stepper driver - its essential the connections between each stepper and its own driver are rock solid and never broken while power is present.

Each motor needs its own stepper driver unless you want to have several motors in lock-step, in which case you wire the A coils in series and the B coils in series to present a single A and B pair to the driver - each motor gets the same current and runs therefore in lockstep.

DRV8825's are very cheap, so if you only need upto 1.5A or so for your motors that will be the best way.

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Really? How/why?

You could presumably disable the driver during switch-over. (although, I don't know if that's actually possible with standard-ish drivers.)

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Really. By high frequency high voltage transients created by arcing. Its very easy to trash a stepper driver this way. You have to fully power down the stepper driver to reconnect the winding connections.

(Never underestimate the wreckage an inductor can wreak on semiconductors)

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But ... the driver should already be protected from turning coils on and off; why would the transients from disconnecting the motor be worse than a normal coil transition?

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You'd think so, but trust me these chips really don't like this sort of abuse - remember that arcing has significant energy right up to microwave frequencies
and causes resonances in wires. An arc can have negative resistance and drive oscillations (That's how Marconi first transmitted across the Atlantic for instance).

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The driver never simply turns the coils on or off. It always allows the current to flow. And if the current through the coils is to be turned off, it will switch it so that the current through the coils can decay and the energy in the coils is dissipated.

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