Computer Controlled Stepper Motor

In this article, we will connect a stepper motor to our computer`s parallel port, and then we will write some code to control it with the scroll wheel on a mouse ( video ). If you have never worked with stepper motors, you will surely have a lot of fun with this project. With stepper motors, you can build things such as robots, automatic fish feed
Computer Controlled Stepper Motor - schematic

er, or even a computerized etch-a-sketch ! I`ll start off by discussing the basics of parallel ports and stepper motors. Then, we will build the driver circuit required for connecting a stepper motor to a parallel port. In the final section, we will learn how to communicate with parallel ports and how stepper motors are controlled. Hardware: A 5-wire unipolar stepper motor (these could also be salvaged from old 5 " floppy disk drives), ULN2003 IC (stepper motor driver), wire, stripboard (or a solderless breadboard ), solder and DB-25 Male connector (buy these two if you can solder. Soldering is not necessary for doing this project, but it will ensure that your connections are secure), DB25 (female/male) parallel port cable, a multimeter, a power adapter (with voltage rating depending on your motor`s requirements) WARNING: Before we begin, I would warn you that the PC parallel port can be damaged quite easily if you make incorrect connections. If the parallel port is integrated to the motherboard, repairing a damaged parallel port may be expensive, and in many cases, it is cheaper to replace the whole motherboard than to repair that port. Your safest bet is to buy an inexpensive I/O card which has a parallel port and use it for your experiment. If you manage to damage the parallel port on that card, replacing it will be easy and inexpensive. Don`t let that warning worry you too much, because there is a lot of fun to be had...

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