The EasyDriver is a simple to use stepper motor driver, compatible with anything that can output a digital 0 to 5V pulse (or 0 to 3.3V pulse if you solder SJ2 closed on the EasyDriver). The EasyDriver requires a 6V to 30V supply to power the motor and can power any voltage of stepper motor. The EasyDriver has an on board voltage regulator for the digital interface that can be set to 5V or 3.3V. Connect a 4-wire stepper motor and a microcontroller and you’ve got precision motor control! EasyDriver drives bi-polar motors, and motors wired as bi-polar. I.e. 4,6, or 8 wire stepper motors.
This EasyDriver V4.5 has been co-designed with Brian Schmalz. It provides much more flexibility and control over your stepper motor, when compared to older versions. The microstep select (MS1 and MS2) pins of the A3967 are broken out allowing adjustments to the microstepping resolution. The sleep and enable pins are also broken out for further control.
Note: Do not connect or disconnect a motor while the driver is energized. This will cause permanent damage to the A3967 IC.
Note: This product is a collaboration with Brian Schmalz. A portion of each sales goes back to them for product support and continued development.
This skill defines how difficult the soldering is on a particular product. It might be a couple simple solder joints, or require special reflow tools.
Skill Level: Noob - Some basic soldering is required, but it is limited to a just a few pins, basic through-hole soldering, and couple (if any) polarized components. A basic soldering iron is all you should need.
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This skill concerns mechanical and robotics knowledge. You may need to know how mechanical parts interact, how motors work, or how to use motor drivers and controllers.
Skill Level: Competent - You may need an understanding of servo motors and how to drive them. Additionally, you may need some fundamental understanding of motor controllers.
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If a board needs code or communicates somehow, you're going to need to know how to program or interface with it. The programming skill is all about communication and code.
Skill Level: Competent - The toolchain for programming is a bit more complex and will examples may not be explicitly provided for you. You will be required to have a fundamental knowledge of programming and be required to provide your own code. You may need to modify existing libraries or code to work with your specific hardware. Sensor and hardware interfaces will be SPI or I2C.
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If it requires power, you need to know how much, what all the pins do, and how to hook it up. You may need to reference datasheets, schematics, and know the ins and outs of electronics.
Skill Level: Rookie - You may be required to know a bit more about the component, such as orientation, or how to hook it up, in addition to power requirements. You will need to understand polarized components.
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Based on 35 ratings:
3 of 3 found this helpful:
It works well. Easy to use with literally any microcontroller you can imagine. I use mine with a 3.3V Arduino Pro Mini.
Just beware of EMI. The A/B pads and traces leading to them, along with those pins on the chip, and your cabling leading to the stepper motor, will throw off a ton of EMI. This is not a fault of the board, it’s just what happens when you switch a stepper motor. It can mess with nearby microcontrollers and ICs. So be careful how you lay out your project - put some distance between the EasyDriver + stepper motor and other components if you can. If you can’t keep them isolated by distance, shield sensitive components with conductive, grounded material.
I wrote back and forth to Brian when dealing with the EMI issues in my project, he is very knowledgeable and courteous. Excellent support.
The chip can get hot to the touch. I am considering adding a heat sink to the top of the chip.
1 of 1 found this helpful:
Honestly, it did not work for the project I intended. Lack of having the flexibility to choose the + or - common for my signals was a problem. However I am not disappointed, I will be able to design future projects around that drawback. Overall, worth the price.
1 of 1 found this helpful:
This is the so easy to use. With the example code from the website, it is very streight forward on how to use this driver. It does get very warm. But if you use the sleep mode when the motor does not need to be on, the driver board has time too cool down.
These chips are pulling a lot of power, and they can get quite hot. Sleep mode helps. Also, I always throw a couple of small heatsinks on the chip.
1 of 1 found this helpful:
Works great, but chip get hot at .5 amp. Probably not a problem, but I bought the larger, slightly more expensive, version (2 amp amp) and it runs with no noticeable chip heat. I might add that I did not use any of the associated code for either the large or small version. I see no obvious need to change the micro-step options on the fly (except maybe for testing), so I hard wired those and just used the direction and step controls. I drive direction off a port output and step from a counter that automatically toggles an output pin on reaching a selected value. (Note this is outside the std Audrino I/O, but far easier in the long run. I suggest everyone should at least glance at the Atmel manual for the Arduino chip an try using some registers directly.)
Hi, These will get warm, even hot in some cases. The chip is syncing a lot of power and that shows through heat. If you are running this on the higher end of the spec, it is suggested that you manage the heat with a heat sink on the chip.
1 of 1 found this helpful:
I got 18 of these to drive a bunch of motors (ROB-09238) at once. Each one worked flawlessly and handled the power without doing any adjustment. Programming was a snap using the AccelStepper library. Used a Mega 2560 to control the step and direction logic.
There was a catastrophe: three of my boards got clipped by an MDF panel and the capacitors were ripped right out. I replaced the caps with typical polar caps (the tallish cans) and the boards are running just fine again.
1 of 4 found this helpful:
Keeping in mind that I an a novice using arduino and associated products, I am really disappointed with the quality of the coding that I have found so far concerning this board. It seems like everyone is “ga-ga” over it, so the purchase was a natural decision. Unfortunately I feel that I’m back in the Commodore 64 days of loading tons of code, only to find that they don’t work. So I expend hours ensuring that I haven’t missed, or added something. And generally I haven’t. So then I wind up trying to figure out what was inadvertently added, or omitted by the author. Next I start to review other codes and inserting portions of what I think worked to the new code, only to find out that they aren’t compatible either. This board is no exception. I’m sure it is probably as good a product as others have reported, but for me, so far, I am not a great fan. By the way, I also have the Seeed Motor Shield and the Adafruit Motor Shield V2.0 and I have exactly the same feelings for them.
You are describing one of the main hurdles of the open source hardware community. Open source code can be hit or miss. You have to learn want resources tend to be good and what resources can be more questionable. Bildr is a great resource that generally has good documentation and examples. – http://bildr.org/2011/06/easydriver/
Excellent tool. Got a good grade on my project.
This is an excellent way to control your stepper motor. But…. The arduino stepper libraries are excellent for controlling connection to 4 wire driver. Some im sure have the delays sorted out so they dont effect the timing on the rest of your code. The easy stepper driver would be so much more powerful if the arduino library was adjusted (for simple folk like me :), especially if acceleration and deceleration timing was also included. I find it difficult to write code without using delay in my project. Maybe im just not so smart :)
There’s a great library that I’ve used for these called the AccelStepper library. It incorporates acceleration and deceleration quite easily.
It would be nice if you would offer for sale the required terminal strips needed for the boards purchased.
Hooking this up to a microcontroller is simple and changing to 3.3 instead of 5 for logic is trivial. While the chip can go faster, my stepper motor can not so making sure it does not skip required trial and error until I found the minimum delay which the combination of controller and motor could achieve. If you are in a hurry to just make things work (like I was) this really is a great simple driver. Make sure to take time to adjust the current limit for your motor using the test point before plugging the motor in - there is a voltage to current formula in the manual. For low cost this is very useful.
Worked exactly like it should have
After making my own stepper driver, these are worth all the money to just have it done for you. Works fantastic, easy to integrate with, drove mine right from a raspberry pi. Puts out a lot of heat, if you’re using a motor to its full capability, consider a fan when mounting these somewhere. The pot is super small, I was turning it with a metal screw driver and it slipped, I touched the capacitors beneath it, it sparked and stopped working. Bummer. I’ll totally be ordering a replacement though! It sparked and its fun, Sparkfun.
I use it to drive all my acrylic skeleton clock. It’s reliable and up 24/7…
works great when you use it correctly…. Easy to blow when you don’t use it correctly haha
Works as advertised, easy to use, just follow their guides on the product webpage. Make sure to heed their note asking you to not connect/disconnect the motor while the driver is on; this will kill your EasyDriver so don’t do it! I loosely wired my motor to the board and it came off during testing and my driver died; fortunately I purchased two boards anticipating I would burn the first one so I made sure to solder proper terminals to the driver the second time around and it’s flawless now.
I’m new to using stepper drivers and was building a circuit of my own. It’s bigger than most other drivers, but that’s great when I’m trying to learn how to use a driver and I don’t need it directly interfacing with anything else.
I was frustrated before, and after I ordered these I could happily move on to the next steps in my project. Clear documentation and labeling made using these a breeze.
The board works well and easy to program for. I noticed doing small steps or just a few full rotations it’s fine. After running full rotations and near high speed the chip gets extremely hot and the motor starts acting jerky. Probably a heat sink will solve that. Does anyone experience this and recommend a particular heatsink?
I love this board. It’s much easier than I thought it would be. My only change would be to move all the pins to one side to make it easier to wire.
Very simple to use following Sparkfun’s hook-up guide. Works as promised. I’ve read comments on the amount of heat it generates but I haven’t seen any problems in that regard. The EasyDriver is a no-brainer purchase to go along with your stepper motor.
top of the line product for the experience i have and am gaining with each project i do highly recommended
It can run 4000 steps per second driven by a 16MHz Arduino Pro Mini. Pretty good. It is reliable, but I always switch the motor off after running it for 6000 steps or less. If you leave it on, the full programmed current is flowing through it continuously and it gets really, really hot. Burn your finger hot. I would recommend a heatsink if you are going to leave the motor enabled (like when micro-stepping).
Because the module is expensive, I did all of my testing with knock-offs, and fried two of them, then put this one in the finished product for reliability. I highly recommend this driver for smaller motors.
I have not been able to test it with the right kind of stepper motor. The one I have now takes about 2 A, and the driver can not deliver that much. It does make the motor turn, but not at the speed I need. Better motor is on its way, I do not expect any problems, once it has arrived. By the way, it is very easy to use!
This device worked as advertised. I ended changing out to a Big Easy Driver because I needed more current.
I was using a PIC16F18855 to interface and analyze several sensors for a scientific application. Late in the prototype stage, the need for a stepper-controlled precison translation stage became apparent. Pressed for time, processor overhead, and PCB space, I decided to try EasyDriver. The stepper implementation and firmware went together in a mere 30 minutes thanks to the clear, accurate, no-nonsense documentation pack that surrounds the board’s functionality. With a few modifications, I was able to further reduce board size by tapping into the EasyDriver’s +5/3.3v output regulator to power most of the application. If you need a reliable flexible stepper controller, but would rather spend your time on other aspects of your application - EasyDriver will deliver!
I’m the worlds worst programmer, but even I figured it out and I’m having a blast with it. Thanks! Brett R
The documentation was thorough enough for me to make a simple python script for my Asus tinker board, the built in 3.3v mode made things simple and clean, the pin out locations made perfect sense and the masking on the board was well done. Like all of the boards from sparkfun it was very well built.
0 of 1 found this helpful:
Just be careful with it, one slip-up with a wire or soldering job on the power input on the board and it’s done.
I had a very simple temporary application to turn a single motor with nothing but a function generator. It worked without any issues but I am not likely to require any more from this board for now. I can’t give it five stars (yet) because I barely tested it.
Power and control lines are easy to use. I don’t have to know anything about stepper motors to use them.
Only minor change is that I would move the MS1 and MS2 motor speed controls together on the board for ease of wiring.
Found a tutorial for beaglebone black and had it working same day. With code. Well documented and straight forward
I needed the 1/8 microstepping for close control of a tuning capacitor in a small magnetic loop antenna - the Easy Driver made the job very easy.
Worked as advertised !! Lots of options so it nice to have around so when I need to throw a project together is a good choice. I did blow one up , but it so cheap It was a no brainer to replace than to fix it.
It does what it says on the tin. However that central IC does get very hot. I haven’t had it shutdown on me (yet) but I would recommend putting it in sleep mode whenever you can.