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issue: December 2006 APPLIANCE Magazine

Motor Technology
A Small Order

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A new stepper motor driver gives engineers an ideal compact form factor for designing a variety of appliances.

The NPAD10BF driver from Nippon Pulse America (Radford, Virginia, U.S.) is designed with a heat sink so that the engineer can easily attach it to the back of the size 17 NEMA motor, allowing all electronics to be placed together in the system. The company says competitive models often require spacers between driver and motor, which takes up more space and makes design more difficult.

Measuring just 41.3 mm by 43.74 mm, the NPAD10BF driver from Nippon Pulse America is designed for appliance applications that require compact components. The bipolar chopping driver board has an input voltage range of 12 to 30 V DC and can offer up to 1/16 microstepping. It also has mounting holes that allow it to be mounted onto a NEMA size 17 motor.
“We knew we wanted a driver that would fit onto the back of NEMA size 17 hybrid stepper,” Mamoru Takabayashi, engineer, tells APPLIANCE. “Getting the electronics to fit the footprint we needed was the biggest challenge. We researched and designed and redesigned until we had the right electronic components in the perfect size.”
According to Takabayashi, one key aspect of the driver design was incorporating isolated signal inputs such as “pulse,” “direction” and “enable” into a small factor. “An isolated interface is better than a transistor-transistor logic (TTL) interface for low noise,” he says.
Two dual in-line package (DIP) switches allow the driver to change microstep resolutions between full, half, 1/4, and 1/16. Takabayashi says this offers engineers more than design flexibility. “When a motor is operating at a low speed in full-step mode, instead of microstepping mode, the motor operation will vibrate,” he explains. “Microstepping operation will allow for smoother operation in lower speed.”
With an output current up to 1.2 A/phase (peak), the driver board is capable of driving two-phase stepping motors. It also includes both an automatic current reduction function and a reset for sequence and disable.
The driver can be used in any application that utilizes a stepper motor. Possible appliance applications include HVAC controls, medical appliances and movement controls in cameras.

Suppliers mentioned in this article:
Nippon Pulse America Inc.

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