Stepper Troubleshooting

Problem: Intermittent or erratic step motor or stepper driver function.

Solution: This is the most common cause of failure and one of the most difficult to detect. Start by checking to ensure all connections are tight between the step motor and the stepper driver and controllers. Evidence of discoloration at the terminals/connections, may indicate a loose connection. When replacing a step motor, stepper driver or driver pack, or controller in a motion control system, and be sure to inspect all terminal blocks and connectors. Check cabling/wiring for accuracy. Stress step motor wiring and connections for poor conditions and check with an ohmmeter. Whenever possible, use Anaheim Automation’s shielded cables for step motor wiring.


Problem: Poor system performance.

Solution: Check to see if the wire/cables are too long. Keep step motor wire/cables less than 25 feet in length. For applications where the wiring from the step motor to the stepper driver exceeds 25 feet, please contact the factory for instructions, as it is likely that transient voltage protection devices will be required. Another possibility is the step motor lead wires are of a gauge too small. Do not match your cable wires to the gauge size of the step motor lead wires, this is a common mistake. To avoid this mistake, Anaheim Automation suggests using its shielded cable for such wiring purposes (purchased separately). Additionally, check the age of your step motor, as with time and use, step motors lose a portion of their magnetism which affects performance. Typically one can expect 10,000 operating hours for step motors (approximately 4.8 years, running a one eight‐hour shift per work day). Also, make certain your step motor and driver combination is a good match for your application. Contact the factory should you have any concerns.


Problem: The step motor is stalling.

Solution: In some cases, stalling of a step motor causes a large voltage spike that often damages the phase transistors on the driver. Some drivers are designed to protect themselves from such occurrences. If not, Transient Suppression Devices can be added externally. Consult the factory for further information.

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