Communicate with stepper motors?

Tim Ponn alptex2 at orwell.net
Fri Sep 1 16:18:19 EDT 2006


Marty,

I LOVE using steppers in machinery and fixtures around my company.   
You can use Rev very nicely to control them.  Here's the approach  
I've taken...

I prefer to use an existing controller.  I have a lot of experience  
with a particular brand called "SimpleStep" (www.simplestep.com).   
They are expensive, but I simply don't care.  One machine we designed  
and built years ago cost us about $15,000...$400 of which went for 2  
boards from this company.  This single machine has resulted in close  
to $250K of sales over the years.  I wouldn't care if the boards cost  
me 10x what they did.  They're solid...never skip a beat...are simple  
to use and have a very rich set of features.

Now, if you want a less costly controller (plus oodles more widget  
"stuff")...there is a new player that I've gotten some early release  
info from...you can find them at www.copelandelectronics.com.

If you prefer to write your own low level stuff and create your own  
controller...you're a better man (or...person) that I!  ;=)

On motors, I prefer Sanyo-Denki.  Dunno why...but I've never had the  
tiniest of problems with them.  You can find steppers at places like  
Jameco electronics...also a good source for cheap controllers and  
kits.  Just remember...as usual...you'll probably get what you pay for!

Now the fun starts...I've used Rev to control these boards via  
serial.  But, I prefer using sockets...so I get one of those Ethernet  
to Serial convertors (specifically "SitePlayer Telnet" from NetMedia)  
and use the Rev socket commands.  This allows me to control a few  
machines from a single app.  It's all personal taste from here...it  
really depends on the machine and the environment.

That's my 2 cents!  Hope it helps.


Best Regards,

Timothy R. Ponn
tponn at alptex.com


On Aug 31, 2006, at 1:08 PM, Marty Knapp wrote:

> I was talking with a guy yesterday who said that using Basic you  
> could use the printer port on Windows to talk to a stepper motor. I  
> know pretty much nothing about robotics (or communicating through  
> ports for that matter). Does anyone know if this is possible with  
> Rev? I read through the docs and could see that one can read from  
> and write data to com ports and LPT ports, but wouldn't a stepper  
> motor just need electrical pulses sent to it?
>
> I realize I'm revealing my ignorance to the world here, but any  
> help would be appreciated.
>
> Marty Knapp
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