Stepper motor

Electric motor for discrete partial rotations / From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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A stepper motor, also known as step motor or stepping motor, is a brushless DC electric motor that divides a full rotation into a number of equal steps. The motor's position can be commanded to move and hold at one of these steps without any position sensor for feedback (an open-loop controller), as long as the motor is correctly sized to the application in respect to torque and speed.

Animation of a simplified stepper motor turned on, attracting the nearest teeth of the gear-shaped iron rotor. With the teeth aligned to electromagnet 1, they will be slightly offset from right electromagnet (2).
Frame 2: The top electromagnet (1) is turned off, and the right electromagnet (2) is energized, pulling the teeth into alignment with it. This results in a rotation of 3.6° in this example.
Frame 3: The bottom electromagnet (3) is energized; another 3.6° rotation occurs.
Frame 4: The left electromagnet (4) is energized, rotating again by 3.6°. When the top electromagnet (1) is again enabled, the rotor will have rotated by one tooth position; since there are 25 teeth, it will take 100 steps to make a full rotation in this example.

Switched reluctance motors are very large stepping motors with a reduced pole count, and generally are closed-loop commutated.