BC6D20 Current Regulating Six Stepper Motor Controller

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The BC6D20  controller board is a complete Bipolar six-axis stepper motor controller system with USB communications, implemented on a small 4.90 inch wide by 2.25 inch tall board (as shown here).  It includes the capability of driving up to six bipolar stepper motors at up to 500,000 microsteps per second (per motor) using current control techniques.  This unit is a good choice for those designing products which require higher motor speeds, since it can easily "over-voltage" the motor (to attain the higher speed) without overloading it. 

The board supports ESD protection on most of the TTL I/O lines, as well as providing the capability of having the logic portion of the board (not the motors) powered via the USB system.

This product requires that you select a power supply whose voltage and current can handle your stepper motors.     You will first want to review the calculating motor current for current controlled products faq in order to determine the current and voltage requirements for your motor.

The product can operate bipolar motors from about 0.15 to 2.0 amps/winding.

 This board is currently configured with the BC6D20NCRouter  firmware. The firmware is user updatable, so you may upgrade the firmware yourself as new capabilities become available.  The firmware supports simultaneous NC-Like motor operation (moving any combination of motors as vector-oriented systems) and asynchronous operation (motors operating fully independently of each other).  Please click here for more information on this offering.

BC6D20NCRouter firmware versions 5.29 and later support a simple BASIC-like scripting language.  This language gives you equivalent access to the board's capabilities as that provided by the serial interface. The language is fully described in the BC6D20NCRouter manual.

The BC6D20NCRouter key capabilities may be summarized as follows:

  • Up to six stepper motors may be independently controlled at one time.
  • A scripting language is enabled on the product (as of firmware version 5.29) that allows for both stand-alone and computer-connected operation.
  • One or two potentiometers (user provided) may be used to control the stepping rates of the motors.
  • Limit switches may be used to automatically request motion stop of any motor in either direction.
  • Rates of 1 to 500,000 microsteps per second are supported in non-NC mode, and 250,000 microsteps per second in NC mode.
  • Step rates are changed by linearly ramping the rates; the rate of change is independently programmed for each motor, and can be from 1 to over 1,000,000,000 microsteps per second per second.
  • All motor coordinates and rates are expressed in programmable microstep units of 1/16 to one full step.  Once the base step size is selected, changing stepping modes between half, full and micro does not change any other value other than which winding pairs may be driven at the same time. Each pair of motors may have their own independant microstep size assigned.
  • Motor coordinates are maintained as 32 bit signed values, and thus have a range of –2,147,483,647 through +2,147,483,647.
  • Both GoTo and Slew actions are fully supported.
  • A TTL "busy" signal is available, which can be used to see if the motors are still moving. Note that this information is also available from the serial communications subsystem.
  • Simple control of the motors may be done by switch closure: i.e., each motor can be told to slew left or right, or to stop by simply grounding some input lines. Similarly, the rate of motion can be controlled via a user-provided potentiometer.
  • Complete control of the motors, including total monitoring of current conditions, is available through the TTL-serial connection.   USB communications are built into the board.
  • You have full control over the current which is sent to the windings, both when the motors are in motion and when they are idle.
  • Can run off of a single user-provided 6.5 to 15 volt DC power supply.   The board may also be configured using a split supply, wherein the motors run off of a separate DC power supplies (6 to 34 volt), while the logic circuit runs off of a 5 volt DC supply, a 6.5 to 15 volt DC supply or USB power.
  • Current for the motors is usually expressed in milliamps for simplicity.  A scaling feature allows you to make the units be whatever is convenient for your application.
  • Two of the I/O lines (RDY and NXT) are multi-purpose: they can be reconfigured by you as analog inputs, encoder inputs, digital inputs, digital outputs, as well as providing some special purpose functionality (potentiometer-based rate control, ready-output status).
  • The 12 slew inputs may be logically disconnected from their slew features, and thus become available as generic TTL
  • Additionally, the product supports reading up to two high-speed encoders (several of the TTL I/O lines get reassigned if this feature is enabled by you).  Pulse rates of up to 1,000,000 pulses per second per encoder are supported.

Click Here for the full PDF manual for the BC6D20 series of products with the BC6D20NCRouter firmware.

Hint: If you want to save your own copy of the manual, right click on the appropriate link (above), and then select the 'Save Target As...' option which appears. Tell the system where to save the manual, and then you will be able to browse it at your leisure.

Click here if you need to download the current version Adobe Acrobat Reader from Adobe's site.

Click here if you prefer to use Foxit Reader as is available from the Foxit Software site.

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All products come with a 15 day satisfaction guarantee, and the assembled products come with a 30 day return to factory warranty.  Please click here for the details...