This article is from the Robotics FAQ, by Kevin Dowling email@example.com with numerous contributions by others.
Wally Blackburn has provided a stepper motor controller design that
easily connects to a parallel port:
This is the info file for the Opto-Isolated Stepper Motor
Controller. While the info is oriented towards control via a PC
parallel port, the controller can really interface to just about
The controller uses a UCN5804B controller IC from Allegro. This chip
can control motors at up to 35V and 1.25A continuously. Peaks of up
to 50V and 1.5A can be tolerated according to the data sheet.
The inputs to the UCN5804B are optically isolated from the control
circuitry. Input control voltages from 3 to 12V are acceptable.
Diodes are used to protect the UCN5804B from negative transients
from the motor windings. For efficient low-voltage operation,
Schottky diodes are used.
I have recently rewritten the instructions and included a simple
parallel port control program in QuickBASIC. The Turbo C source is
still included also. I still have kits for the controller. Wally
Blackburn firstname.lastname@example.org Here are some files on the operation
and use of stepper motors from Steve Walz:
ftp://ftp.armory.com/pub/user/rstevew/ Useful files include
stepper.viz, steppers.tut, ibmlpt.faq, and tomlpt.faq
10.2.5 Controllers (Robotics related products)
There are many controllers for motors and vendors of controllers for
motors in the marketplace. There are only a few here that might be
of interest because of low cost or flexibility. See also [18.10]
3050 Tasman Drive
Santa Clara, CA
Animatics makes an RS-232 based communications
motor controller. The Series 5000 Servo Control can drive from 1-4
servo motors either as a stand alone unit or slaved to a host
computer via RS232. Includes fully digial automatic PID filter (no
pots) All tuning and config parameters can be sent in the form of a
file transfer. Can control brushed or brushless motors. Does not
need a host for control. Up to 3 Amps continuous current per axis.
Full 4axis model is about $3K.
10.2.6 DC Motors (Robotics related products)
This is a huge industrial area. A typical new autmobile might have
30 motors these days and there are a lot of motor manufacturers. See
the Thomas Register for a listing. It is beyond the scope of this
FAQ to provide addresses for all manufacturers, but I'll provide a
list of those who've been mentioned and might be of interest.
"Mabuchi Motor America Corp."
475 Park Avenue South (32 St.)
New York, NY 10016
One of the largest manufacturers of small motors. Found in R/C cars.