Is it possible to have the Maestro 12-Channel Controller control a step motor controller?
Yes, the Maestro can generate digital output signals, which can be used to control stepper motor drivers like the ones we carry.
However, the Maestro does not give you very precise control over how quickly you can toggle the I/O pins, and it cannot do much better than 1000 pulses per second, so it is not a great solution if you need your stepper motor to move quickly or precisely.
Moving quickly is not an issue. Being precise is required in that the motor needs to move the same distance with each pulse. I looked at a couple of Pololu Stepper Motor controllers. I see how to connect the motor power, the motor and the controller power. It’s not clear to me how to connect the Maestro 12-Channel Controller to the Stepper Motor Controller. Do I connect the Stepper Controller to one of the servo channels of the Maestro?
You would probably want to connect the STEP pin of the stepper driver to one of the servo channels and the DIR pin to another servo channel. You should use the signal pin of the channel, which is the pin furthest from the edge of the board. Then you can configure the two channels as outputs in the Maestro Control Center. You should also connect the Maestro’s GND to the stepper driver’s GND. You should also consult the wiring diagram we have on the product page for the stepper driver and make sure that you have made all the other required connections.
I’m new to stepper motors. So a stepper motor only moves in one direction unless the direction switch is changed. I’m using my own software to control the servos so I’ll have to workout how to change the stepper motor direction without adding another layer of complexity.
I’m building a camera motion control system. The stepper motor would be used to move the camera slider (dolly). Which stepper controller and stepper motor would you recommend?
If you do use the Maestro, David already described how you could send signals to the STEP and DIR pins.
The appropriate stepper motor depends on the specific details of your setup. Our stepper motor drivers work with almost all of our stepper motors, so if you let me know which stepper motor you might be interested in, I could help you select an appropriate driver.
Here are the ones that seem like they might work. Keep in mind I know nothing about step motors.
FIRST PICK (OUT-OF-STOCK)
You can use any of our stepper motor drivers to control the #1476 and #1200 stepper motors, though I recommend using our DRV8825 carrier. Unfortunately, we do not carry a stepper motor driver that can supply the full current of the #1478 stepper motor. You might consider using the #1477 stepper motor, which has the same dimensions and draws less current (you can also control it with any of our stepper motor drivers).
I’m going to go with the #1476 motor and the DRV8825. I have one more question. Right now I’m powering my 12-Channel Maestro Controller and the servos with a single 6VDC regulated power supply. The DRV8825 requires a 5.25VDC power supply for the logic circuit. Does this mean I need to get a separate power supply for the DRV8825 logic circuit? I know I need a separate power supply for the motor.
You could use the regulated 5V output from the Maestro to supply power to the logic side of the DRV8825.
I forgot that the Maestro have a 5VDC output. Thanks for all your help.
Oops! One more question. Which power supply would you recommend for the motor?
With stepper motors, usually higher voltages lead to better performance, so I recommend a 12V supply that can source enough current for each phase. For example, you could use this wall power adapter with this terminal block adapter.
I’m confused! I’m going to be using the #1476 stepper motor which has an operating voltage of 5VDC. If I send it 12VDC isn’t that going to fry the motor?
No. To avoid damaging your stepper motor, you want to avoid exceeding the rated current, which is 1 A for that stepper motor. Our stepper motor driver boards let you limit the maximum current, so as long as you set the limit below the rated current, your stepper motor should be fine, even if the voltage exceeds the rated voltage. You can read more about this in the first question of this FAQ.