A4988 Stepper Motor Driver Carrier, Black Edition (Bulk, No Header Pins)

This is a bulk-packaged version of our Black Edition A4988 Stepper Motor Driver Carrier that ships without header pins . Please see that product’s page for more information about the driver.

AUD$ 8.95

Out of Local Stock  

We can ship 5 more in 7 days

Our Code: SKU-003463

Supplier Link: [Pololu MPN:2976]


Description

This is a bulk-packaged version of our Black Edition A4988 Stepper Motor Driver carrier that ships without header pins; we carry compatible 0.1″-pitch 40-pin male header strips that can be purchased separately and broken into smaller pieces for use as needed. Please see the Black Edition A4988 Stepper Motor Driver Carrier product page for more information about the driver.

This bulk-packaged version is intended for customers interested in higher volumes at lower unit costs. We will manufacture these to order, and quantities shown in stock will be limited to 10 units. We generally expect orders of up to a few hundred units to ship within a few days. For larger orders, please contact us for lead time estimates.

Note: Orders of 500 units or more are non-cancelable and non-returnable (NCNR) and must be prepaid.


Specifications

Dimensions

Size: 0.6″ × 0.8″
Weight: 1.6 g

General specifications

Minimum operating voltage: 8 V
Maximum operating voltage: 35 V
Continuous current per phase: 1.2 A1
Maximum current per phase: 2 A2
Minimum logic voltage: 3 V
Maximum logic voltage: 5.5 V
Microstep resolutions: full, 1/2, 1/4, 1/8, and 1/16
Reverse voltage protection?: N
Bulk packaged: Y
Header pins soldered: N3

Notes:

1
Without a heat sink or forced air flow.
2
With sufficient additional cooling.
3
No header pins included.

Resources

Recommended links

Video: setting the current limit on Pololu stepper motor driver carriers
Pololu A4988 stepper motor driver carrier assembly video
A short video showing the in-house assembly of a panel of Black Edition A4988 stepper motor driver carriers on our Samsung SM421F pick and place machine.
Pololu A4983/A4988 Stepper Motor Driver Carrier Kicad module
A customer-made module for using the Pololu A4983/A4988 Stepper Motor Driver Carrier in Kicad. By Jared Harvey, October 2011.

FAQs

I want to control a 3.9 V, 600 mA bipolar stepper motor like this, but your A4988 stepper motor driver carrier has a minimum operating voltage of 8 V. Can I use this driver without damaging the stepper motor?

Yes. To avoid damaging your stepper motor, you want to avoid exceeding the rated current, which is 600 mA in this instance. The A4988 stepper motor drivers let you limit the maximum current, so as long as you set the limit below the rated current, you will be within spec for your motor, even if the voltage exceeds the rated voltage. The voltage rating is just the voltage at which each coil draws the rated current, so the coils of your stepper motor will draw 600 mA at 3.9 V. By using a higher voltage along with active current limiting, the current is able to ramp up faster, which lets you achieve higher step rates than you could using the rated voltage.

If you do want to use a lower motor supply voltage (under 8 V) for other reasons, consider using our DRV8834 low-voltage stepper motor driver carrier.

Do I really need to set the current limit on my stepper motor driver before using it, and if so, how do I do it?

Yes, you do! Setting the current limit on your stepper motor driver carrier before connecting your motor is essential to making sure that it runs properly. An appropriate current limit also ensures that your motor is not allowed to draw more current than it or your driver can handle, since that is likely to damage one or both of them.

Setting the current limit on our A4988, DRV8825, DRV8824, DRV8834, and DRV8880 stepper motor driver carriers is done by adjusting the on-board potentiometer. We strongly recommend using a multimeter to measure the VREF voltage while setting the current limit so you can be sure you set it to an appropriate value (just turning the pot randomly until things seem to work is not a good approach). The following video has more details on setting the current limit:

My A4988 stepper motor driver is overheating, but my power supply shows it’s drawing significantly less than 1 A per coil. What gives?

Measuring the current draw at the power supply does not necessarily provide an accurate measure of the coil current. Since the input voltage to the driver can be significantly higher than the coil voltage, the measured current on the power supply can be quite a bit lower than the coil current (the driver and coil basically act like a switching step-down power supply). Also, if the supply voltage is very high compared to what the motor needs to achieve the set current, the duty cycle will be very low, which also leads to significant differences between average and RMS currents: RMS current is what is relevant for power dissipation in the chip but many power supplies won’t show that. You should base your assessment of the coil current on the set current limit or by measuring the actual coil currents.

Please note that while the A4988 driver IC is capable of supplying 2 A per coil, the chip by itself will overheat at lower currents. The carrier board PCB helps draw heat away from the IC, but we have found that it generally requires a heat sink to deliver more than approximately 1 A per coil (the Black Edition A4988 carrier has a four-layer PCB that lets it deliver up to around 1.2 A per coil without a heat sink), but this number depends on factors such as ambient temperature and air flow. For example, sealing three A4988 driver carriers in close proximity in a small box will cause them to overheat at lower currents than a unit by itself in open air.

How do I connect my stepper motor to the A4983 or A4988 stepper motor driver carrier?

The answer to this question depends on the type of stepper motor you have. When working with stepper motors, you will typically encounter two types: unipolar stepper motors and bipolar stepper motors. Unipolar motors have two windings per phase, allowing the magnetic field to be reversed without having to reverse the direction of current in a coil, which makes unipolar motors easier to control than bipolar stepper motors. The drawback is that only half of the phase is carrying current at any given time, which decreases the torque you can get out of the stepper motor. However, if you have the appropriate control circuitry, you can increase the stepper motor torque by using the unipolar stepper motor as a bipolar stepper motor (note: this is only possible with 6- or 8-lead unipolar stepper motors, not with 5-lead unipolar stepper motors). Unipolar stepper motors typically have five, six, or eight leads.

Bipolar steppers have a single coil per phase and require more complicated control circuitry (typically an H-bridge for each phase). The A4983 and A4988 have the circuitry necessary to control a bipolar stepper motor. Bipolar stepper motors typically have four leads, two for each coil.

Two-phase bipolar stepper motor with four leads.

The above diagram shows a standard bipolar stepper motor. To control this with the A4983 or A4988, connect stepper lead A to board output 1A, stepper lead C to board output 1B, stepper lead B to board output 2A, and stepper lead D to board output 2B. See the A4983/A4988 datasheet for more information.

If you have a six-lead unipolar stepper motor as shown in the diagram below:

Two-phase unipolar stepper motor with six leads.

you can connect it to the A4983 or A4988 as a bipolar stepper motor by making the bipolar connections described in the section above and leaving stepper leads A’ and B’ disconnected. These leads are centre taps to the two coils and are not used for bipolar operation.

If you have an eight-lead unipolar stepper motor as shown in the diagram below:

Two-phase unipolar stepper motor with eight leads.

you have several connection options. An eight-lead unipolar stepper motor has two coils per phase, and it gives you access to all of the coil leads (in a six-lead unipolar motor, lead A’ is internally connected to C’ and lead B’ is internally connected to D’). When operating this as a bipolar stepper, you have the option of using the two coils for each phase in parallel or in series. When using them in parallel, you decrease coil inductance, which can lead to increased performance if you have the ability to deliver more current. However, since the A4983 and A4988 actively limit the output current per phase, you will only get half the phase current flowing through each of the two parallel coils. When using them in series, it’s like having a single coil per phase (like in four-lead bipolar steppers or six-lead unipolar steppers used as bipolar steppers). We recommend you use a series connection.

To connect the phase coils in parallel, connect stepper leads A and C’ to board output 1A, stepper leads A’ and C to board output 1B, stepper leads B and D’ to board output 2A, and stepper leads B’ and D to board output 2B.

To connect the phase coils in series, connect stepper lead A’ to C’ and stepper lead B’ to D’. Stepper leads A, C, B, and D should be connected to the stepper motor driver as normal for a bipolar stepper motor (see the bipolar stepper connections above).

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