Articles on: Learning & FAQ

Why a Driver can Only Be Used to Drive One Stepper Motor?

When choosing stepper motors and stepper drivers, we usually recommend one stepper driver works with only one stepper motor. However, in actual applications, multiple motors may be required to work synchronously, so some people will consider using one driver to drive multiple stepper motors. But we do not recommend this use.

First of all, theoretically speaking, one driver can drive multiple stepper motors. According to the actual application method, it can be divided into two situations: time-sharing work and synchronous work.

Time-sharing work:

Multiple stepper motors share a stepper driver when working in a time-sharing manner. The power selection of the stepper driver and power supply can be configured according to the requirements of one stepper motor. The respective movements of the two stepper motors are switched through relays. This application method actually means that one driver only drives one motor at the same time, and only switches the driven motor through the relay.
However, there are two drawbacks to this solution: First, the loss of accuracy. The phase of the stepper motor will be lost during the relay switching process. Repeated switching will lead to cumulative errors. Moreover, it is in the enabled state after switching and may lose its location on the device. If it is a closed loop drive, it may even trigger the drive rating alarm. Another disadvantage is that it is easily damaged. If the relay is damaged or the program is wrong, it may cause the power to exceed the maximum power of the driver, damaging the stepper motor driver and the power supply.

Work synchronously

When multiple stepper motors work synchronously and share a driver, it is first required that the maximum output current of the stepper motor driver is greater than or equal to the sum of the rated currents of several stepper motors. Secondly, due to the high reverse electromotive force when the stepper motor starts and stops synchronously, it will cause a certain impact on the driver, resulting in a shortened service life of the driver in this application state.

To sum up, in order to ensure the performance of the motor and protect the driver, we do not recommend using one driver for multiple stepper motors.

If you need multiple motors to work synchronously in your application, you can consider the following solutions:

Set the parameters of multiple drives to be exactly the same, and then send the same pulse, direction, and enable signals to each drive through the controller, so that multiple motors can run in the same way at the same time.
If you only need two motors to work synchronously, you can consider using our DMAI series stepper drivers DM456AI & DM480AI. This is our stepper driver specially designed for two motors to work synchronously. They can control the movement of both motors in the same way:

Updated on: 30/04/2024

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