A stepper motor is a computer-controlled motor that breaks a complete motor revolution into many different steps. The reason for these many steps, and for the motor to be controlled by a computer, is that a stepper motor is made to be very precise, so the user can tell it to perform an exact number of steps or rotations. There are many parts in a stepper motor and the stepper motor indexer is part of the motor control system. The stepper motor indexer is responsible for timing the motor and providing directional pulses. Without the indexer, the engine would not know which direction to turn or how many steps to take.
When a stepper motor is employed for use in any industry or to meet any need, it starts with the computer or a microprocessor. The user enters information, in code, about the direction they want the stepper motor to move, how many steps, and the motor speed. The stepper motor coding depends on the computer or microprocessor used, along with the stepper motor itself.
After the instructions are completed, they pass from the controller to the stepper motor indexer. Here, the stepper motor indexer interprets the code and translates it into actual pulses and directions. These instructions then feed the driver and immediately the stepper motor to perform the instructed movement.
The indexer itself is responsible for two main aspects of stepper motor movement: direction and clock pulses. A stepper motor moves based on electrical pulses, so the motor must have the correct electrical signals to move in the right direction. The stepper motor indexer tells the motor which electrical pulse is needed for the motor to move according to the user’s needs.
The term “clock pulses” refers to how many steps the motor creates and how much energy is fed into the motor as a whole to make it move the appropriate number of steps. If the clock pulse is set incorrectly or is not accurately interpreted by the indexer, the motor may move too much or too little. This can potentially ruin an experiment or function, which is why the indexer must be able to interpret user commands flawlessly.
Along with motion, another important function of the stepper motor indexer is to have a stop function. When performing an experiment, the person who programmed the stepper motor may have set the speed or steps too high. To prevent the motor from being damaged, the user must issue a stop command on the indexer to stop the motor from moving.