Which controller for high current stepper motor ?

Hi, i'm new to arduino system and i'm trying to control a stepper motor. I've just bought an Arduino Mega and my motor is a 57BYGH405A that needs a 3,6V and 3A /phase.... and that's my problem. I've read a lot about the L293D controller which doesn't seem to be able to hang such a high current. I can't find which controller can be used instead for controlling stepper motors above 2A - up to 3 in my case. That would be great if anyone has infos about how i can manage this problem - i know there is a solution as i found discussions talking of 10A stepper motor control (but unfortunately without giving details) ! Any help will be greatly appreciated

What sort of speed do you want it to turn - that's a high-performance motor that would nomally be hooked up to a switching bipolar motor controler.

If you only want to use for slow speed it can be driven in unipolar fashion. Its 3.6V (its not clear if that's the bipolar or unipolar voltage rating). 4 Darlington TO220 transistors running from 5V could work (you'll need biggish heatsinks)

Thanks for that answer. My motor can be either unipolar or bipolar, depends on how i wire it. Speed should be of 5ms minimum per step, which means that 1s for 360°will be the highest speed i need. I saw many stepper motor controller that use a L293D, but i'm afraid that this part can't handle 3A. I saw shields like Adafruit Motor shield, but none of them is OK as they can't handle more than 1,2A (sometimes 2A). Any idea of what i need to control such a motor would help a lot.

This will get you to 2 amps for not much money: http://www.pololu.com/catalog/product/1182. You will probably need a heatsink, though, if the motor is driven continuously. You may not need the full output of the motor depending on the load so 2 amps may be sufficient. You should also be aware that stepper motors are generally run at a higher voltage than the rated value (perhaps 4-5x) to maintain the amperage. An explanation of that is here: http://www.geckodrive.com/ark_page.php?ark_pg_id=2&pid=0&id=14. If your application needs the full power of the motor this is an excellent driver for a lot more money: http://www.geckodrive.com/g250x-p-37.html.

Do you really need 3A per phase? The problem is you're in a bit of a gray area between low/medium power drivers and high power drivers. If you are willing to run your motors at lower current you can go with L298-based drivers or our slightly-higher-power Rugged Motor Driver. Forget about the L293-based drivers -- they're only good for about 500mA best-case without heatsinking.

If you look at Pololu's selection of motor drivers in the low/medium power category they have things like this:

http://www.pololu.com/catalog/product/1182

"Up to 2A" per coil means probably quite a bit less in steady state. Or as they say in the part description:

The carrier’s printed circuit board is designed to draw heat out of the IC, but to supply more than approximately 1 A per coil, a heat sink or other cooling method is required.

Now in their higher-power category there is this:

http://www.pololu.com/catalog/product/755

You will need TWO of these, one for each stepper motor phase, but now you have some serious current-handling capability (15A per phase without a heat sink).

-- The Gadget Shield: accelerometer, RGB LED, IR transmit/receive, speaker, microphone, light sensor, potentiometer, pushbuttons

Thanks again for your answers. I think i have to dig a little bit more : the references you gave me are far too expensive for my budget and yours answer are making me realize that my problem is much more complex than i thought - i didn't mentionned that i need to control separatly 5 stepper motors, (3 of them need 3A current and 3,6 volt ; 2 others are smaller motors i should be able to manage easily) with different current and voltage... I need to understand how i can manage this, and my first step is to find a way to feed my three motors with the good current / voltage and without burning my arduino. Knowing that my electricity skills are very poor, that is a challenge ! Again, thanks for your lights - any suggestion is still welcome.

If you gave more details of your application perhaps we could offer more suggestions. It may be that you could use a smaller stepper which would reduce the cost of both the motor and the driver quite a bit.

RuggedCircuits: Now in their higher-power category there is this:

http://www.pololu.com/catalog/product/755

You will need TWO of these, one for each stepper motor phase, but now you have some serious current-handling capability (15A per phase without a heat sink).

That won't work as it has a minimum supply of 5.5V and the stepper takes 3A at 3.6V so 5.5V would give 4.5A

Simple darlingtons (TIP100/101/102?)will drop the 5V to something like 3.6V anyhow and be easy to use (modulo adding the heatsinks)

That won't work as it has a minimum supply of 5.5V and the stepper takes 3A at 3.6V so 5.5V would give 4.5A

The module has a PWM input that can be used to limit the current at higher applied voltages.

-- The Ruggeduino: compatible with Arduino UNO, 24V operation, all I/O's fused and protected

the references you gave me are far too expensive for my budget

Driving stepping motors at high current is expensive. However you don't need to drive it at 3A if you have no need of the torque that that amount of current will produce. Most drivers have a current limiting adjustment and you can keep that below the limit of the driver, so 2A per phase might be enough torque for your needs. Giving a motor higher voltage than it needs means the current can get into the coils faster and so the motor can step faster, providing the current is limited this over voltage is what you do to get the speed up. You can happily and cheaply drive your motor with 24V and limit the current to 2A. A typical 2A driver will cost about £10.00.

i have a similar issue i am trying to control a small milling machine i have 2.3v 5.5 a 200 step per rev 4 wire steppers. i have communicated with poluo about running in parallel four or five control boards they say the manufacturer does not recommend bla bla bla. i asked about running darlington transistors and i get the same static. a couple of people have posted on running transistors on the a b outputs. who has done this and where is the proven circuit. displayed at. thanks in advance.

Hi,

I have had success with the MonsterMoto shield (see https://www.sparkfun.com/products/10182) on smaller 1.7A per phase steppers with no problems (does not even get warm).

But you will need to manage the current using PWM or some other method.

As suggested by RuggedCircuits the L298N will max out at 0.5A unless you upgrade the heat sink (I have tested this and the heat sink gets burning hot). The L298N is a basically a lemon!

Regards Alan0

loki0001: i asked about running darlington transistors and i get the same static

What does that mean?

loki0001: i have a similar issue i am trying to control a small milling machine i have 2.3v 5.5 a 200 step per rev 4 wire steppers.

Don't waste your time or ours. Just get a specialized stepper driver that can provide 6 or 7 amps and a 24v or higher power supply.

...R Stepper Motor Basics

loki0001: i have a similar issue i am trying to control a small milling machine i have 2.3v 5.5 a 200 step per rev 4 wire steppers. i have communicated with poluo about running in parallel four or five control boards they say the manufacturer does not recommend bla bla bla. i asked about running darlington transistors and i get the same static. a couple of people have posted on running transistors on the a b outputs. who has done this and where is the proven circuit. displayed at. thanks in advance.

You have no option but a high current chopper driver for such a motor. You absolutely cannot parallel chopper drivers, they will simply fight each other to the death (most likely explode all the chips immediately).

If you don't use a chopper you won't have rapids, it will be horribly slow. Speed depends on the supply voltage to the chopper and think about 24V as the bare minimum, 36 or 48V is more nippy.

Something like a Geckodrive is the sort of kit you require.