Description: The SparkFun AutoDriver makes it easy to put the L6470 Stepper Driver (a.k.a “dSPIN”) to work in your project. Simply connect your motors and your SPI-capable microcontroller and get steppin'!
STMicro’s L6470 is a 3A, 8-45V bipolar stepper motor driver. It has built-in overcurrent detection, undervoltage detection, overtemperature detection, stall detection, a 5-bit ADC, and a switch input that can be used for either user jog control or as a hard stop function. As if that weren’t enough, it also features microstepping support (up to 128 microsteps per full step) and PWM drive voltage limiting.
Unlike most stepper motor drivers, the dSPIN is controlled over an SPI link. It has an on-board 16MHz oscillator which allows it to autonomously execute movement commands. That means no more counting steps in your code! It also supports customized acceleration and deceleration profiles to prevent jerky starts and stops. On-board registers track current speed and location.
The logic supply voltage supports both 3.3V and 5V I/O levels.
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This driver, as per the description, lets you offload the stepper complexity (acceleration/speed control, step counting) to it rather than deal with it in your program, which is super helpful for driving multiple motors. I have not chained them together, but the tutorial shows how to do this and how to set up the boards (they need lots of boilerplate code to start).
Also: ATTENTION ARDUINO MEGA USERS: The libraries provided for the autodriver are excellent, however the .ccp files have hard-coded references to the SPI pin numbers on the Uno. In order for this board to function on the Mega, you must edit the files to use the SPI pin numbers on the Mega. Hopefully this will save someone some time (it would have saved me a few hours…).