Using a stepper motor and controller in place of a solenoid

We have a number of stepper motors with integrated controllers.

A stepper motor and controller as an electronically controlled switch

The central premise behind this particular project was quite simple – to use a stepper motor and controller in place of a solenoid. The slight challenge came from the fact that the customer in question was only able to use simple analogue controls

In addition, it was not possible to use any limit switches or similar methods as inputs into the controller. This meant that the stepper motor controller would have to be supplied pre-programmed and preset with firmware which could meet the customer’s requirements.

The Zikodrive ZDSP Stepper Motor Controller supplied pre-programmed

For this particular customer, it was decided that the best solution was the ZDSP Stepper Motor Controller supplied with a small NEMA 17 stepper motor. 

Standard setup on the ZDSP usually involves an analogue input as a speed control with enable and direction inputs. However in this case the ZDSP was reprogrammed (don’t forget that you can request custom programmes for any of our stock range of motor controllers) such that the enable input would operate as a trigger to move to a fixed position.

In practice this meant that with the enable input pulled up the motor would move the required number of degrees and hold (up to the maximum torque of the motor). When the input was pulled down the controller would then return the motor to its original position. 

A simple requirement made easily achievable and cost effective by the Zikodrive range

This particular project was relatively quick and simple to carry out. The key reason for highlighting it is the ease and affordability with which the project could be carried out as a direct result of the flexibility of the Zikodrive stock range of motors and controllers

Without the flexibility and programmability of these controllers it would have proven to be much more challenging to accomplish this particular project.