The Fundamentals of Stepper Motor Common Troubleshooting

Are you also worried about stepper motor common troubleshooting? Discover the fundamentals of it along with the types and common malfunctioning.

January 26, 2024

1. How to control the direction of the stepper motor?

Change the direction level signal of the control system.

Adjust the motor wiring to change direction, details are as follows:

For two-phase stepper motors, only swap one-phase motor wiring to connect the driver, such as swapping A+ and A-.

For three-phase stepper motors, simply swap two adjacent phases of the motor wires. For example, for the three phases A, B, C, it can exchange the two phases A, B.

stepper motor


2. What should you do when the stepper motor produces vibration and noise?

When the stepper motor is running, if the stepper motor has obvious noise and vibration, please follow the following steps to troubleshoot:

It is really important whether the stepper motor and driver match. If not, then it may be useless to take steps such as division, drive current and speed regulation. It is recommended to choose a set and make sure it is qualified when selecting stepper motors and drivers.

Nowadays, stepper motor drivers are divided into digital and analog. Analog stepper motor drivers are very noisy, while digital stepper motors are basically noiseless, usually because a DSP chip is added to the digital driver to optimize the stepper motor driver. Therefore, to ensure that noise and vibration are as low as possible, it is recommended to use digital stepper drivers.

Correctly adjust the stepper motor driver's subdivision and current. The larger the subdivision, the smaller the variation in the coils in the motor. That is, noise is reduced. As for segmentation, it is recommended to set it to 8 or above. In situations where there is sufficient torque to drive the stepper motor load, it is also necessary to reduce the driver current. The smaller the parameter setting, the smaller the change in the coil in the motor.

Correctly set the acceleration, deceleration and maximum speed of the stepper motor. During the acceleration and deceleration process of the stepper motor, it is easy to generate additional noise. The solution is to appropriately increase the acceleration and deceleration of the stepper motor without causing out-of-step.


3. Why does the stepper motor not rotate or move back and forth after being powered on?

If your stepper motor sometimes doesn't spin or moves back and forth after starting, you may consider doing the following troubleshooting checks.

When selecting a stepper motor, consider whether the working torque is large enough and whether it can drive the load. Therefore, it is recommended to choose a motor with a torque 30%-50% larger than the actual need, because the stepper motor will not rotate when overloaded, and it will not cause out-of-step even if it is overloaded for one second. More seriously, it will result in pauses or repeated and irregular movements on the spot.

Check whether the input stroke pulse from the upper controller is correct, or whether the input frequency is higher and may have been filtered by the optocoupler.

Check whether the startup frequency is too high and whether an acceleration process is set during the startup process. It is best to start at the starting frequency adjusted for the motor and accelerate to the set speed. Regardless of whether the acceleration time is short or unstable.

When the motor is not fixed, situations such as strong resonance of the motor sometimes occur. Therefore, the motor should be secured.

Consider whether there is a missing phase. If so, the motor will vibrate and not rotate properly. For a two-phase stepper motor, if the phase wiring is wrong, the motor will not work properly.


4. Why does the torque of a stepper motor decrease as the speed increases?

When the stepper motor rotates, the inductance of each phase winding of the motor will form a reverse electromotive force. The higher the frequency, the greater the reverse electromotive force. Under its action, the phase current of the motor decreases as the frequency (or speed) increases, so the torque decreases.

Smooth Motors

5. Why can the stepper motor run normally at low speed, but cannot start at a higher speed when it makes a whistling sound?

The stepper motor has a technical parameter: no-load starting frequency. That is, stepper motors can usually start at a pulse frequency under no load. If the pulse frequency is higher than this value, the motor will not start properly and may stall or self-lock. Under load conditions, the starting frequency should be lower. The pulse frequency should have acceleration to make the motor rotate at high speed. That is, the frequency starts low and then rises to the expected high frequency based on acceleration (the motor runs from low speed to higher speed).

In addition to the above reasons, the reason for the whistling sound may also be due to the large load. If the motor rotates at high speed, the output torque of the motor will decrease. However, if the load requirements cannot be met, the motor will stall and the howling will change as the frequency changes. The solution is to reduce the RPM or replace the electric motor with more torque. In addition, after the motor rotates at high speed and then stops, transient whistling will be caused due to the chopping of the phase current. Just set the automatic half-flow on the stepper driver board to active.


6. How to prevent power interference of stepper motors?

Install a power line filter to reduce AC power pollution.

Use shielded wires to reduce external interference in the power cord, or reduce interference from the power cord in the external environment.

According to the "single point grounding" principle, the power filter and stepper driver PE are grounded (the driver's base plate is insulated from the chassis), the control pulse and direction pulse DIR short-circuit lines, the motor output line ground line, the driver and the motor. The cable shield and shield wire of the drive should make good contact with the ground rod on the chassis wall.

Extend the distance between control wires, power wires (L and N), and motor drive wires (U, V, and W) to avoid crossing, for example, when dealing with the drive mounting locations of two drives of the same chassis in a dual-axis system, put the nameplate of one driver on the front, and the nameplate of the other driver on the back, and shorten the leads as much as possible during structural layout.

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