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Stepper vs. Brushless
In many respects, stepper and brushless permanent magnet (PM) motors are the same. This is because they share the benefit of maintenance free operation due to the elimination of brushes and commutator. A primary differentiation however is that stepper motors operate open loop, whereas brushless motor operation is closed loop. This means that the brushless servo motor provides real-time feedback to the drive amplifier to optimize voltage and current, whereas the stepper motor does not. Stepper Motors Stepper motor operation is done by the commutation of current through discrete stator windings resulting in the synchronous rotation (stepping) of the rotor. This is done with the assumption that the rotor shaft maintains a speed proportional with the frequency of commutation pulses. No realtime feedback is provided to assure the motor maintains pace with the desired motion sequence. If an external load on the system exceeds the motor's torque producing capability, the motor will stall. If the motor had been running at speed when this occurred, it will not be able to restart even if the load goes away, until the frequency of switching is slowed to the point where the motor has enough torque to pull into synchronism. To minimize this condition, the torque rating of the motor chosen is often two or more times the required torque. This adds to the size, weight and inertia of the motor, minimizing its dynamic capability. To assure that a stepper motor does not overheat, voltage applied to the windings is limited so that the maximum continuous current of the motor is not exceeded. This is done regardless of whether the motor is 'running' or not, and independent of the required load. This current is defined by the relationship: I = V/R, where: I = DC amps, V = DC volts, and R = resistance of the motor winding. Because of the limitation of applied voltage, the motor electrical time constant L/R plays a significant role in determining the maximum operating speed of the motor. This is because as the switching frequency increases, the rise time of current will ultimately limit the average current per step, which relates directly to the torque developed. Stepping motors, as a result, are often limited to about 2000 RPM. The value of stepping motors for simple, low power applications is their ability to provide positioning and velocity control at a very low cost. Brushless Motors Brushless motor operation is also done by the commutation of current through multiple windings to the extent that the rotor flux synchronizes with the stator flux. Compared to steppers however, this commutation is done based on rotor position feedback such that synchronism is always maintained. This is referred to as self-synchronism. The motor maintains the ability to deliver torque regardless of the velocity error. In addition, because of the gain factors in the drive amplifier, current (and thus torque) can be increased when needed by applying higher voltage to the motor. The ability to deliver current based on demand is a key feature of servos. If the motor is at rest and there is no load, no current is consumed, and the motor can cool. Additionally, peak

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and are most often limited by mechanical factors. 18/11/2009 .com/website/com/eng/support/education_training/learn_ab. Unlike the stepper drive. the servo drive has a current loop that controls the current..| Danaher Motion | International Page 2 of 2 currents two to five times or more the continuous rating can be delivered for acceleration..danahermotion. Back to Motor Comparisons http://www.000 RPM or more are common. High bus voltage compared to what is needed to force current into the windings is available. Speeds of 10. An additional benefit of servos is the ability to operate at very high commutation frequencies and thus high speeds. and mitigate the electrical time constant of the winding.