Large stepper motor - Hot temperature


I recently bought two large stepper motors and two PicoBorg Reverse as motor control boards.
As shown in the "Getting Started" section I connected the stepper motor (just one for the first experiment) to the PicoBorg Reverse and did a first try with the raspberry pi 2B. The software part did work as well. While 15 min. testing the motor, the temperature greatly increased.

I do know that stepper motor are getting hot while using because of the current for holding the position.
Is there a need for a current limiting or not?
Does a cooling plate suffice?

Thanks for helping.

piborg's picture

There are a few easy ways you can reduce the temperature of the stepper motor:

  1. Reduce the power to the stepper when moving.
    This will effectively limit the current.
  2. Reduce the power to the stepper when holding.
    When holding you typically need less current.
  3. Turn the motor off when the move is finished.
    This will reduce power usage a lot, but it may not be suitable for your usage.

I have attached a modified version of which makes it easier to do all of these.

By default it implements #2 by reducing the power to 50% when holding.
To reduce the temperature further you can lower the values of maxPower and holdingPower to the lowest that work correctly.
You can turn the motors off completely when the move has finished by changing holdingPower to be 0.0.

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