In a recent video, my colleague Miles Budimir and I got the chance to program and play with an MCH-5 motion checker controller from Nippon Pulse America. These come in versions for both unipolar and bipolar stepper motors, and we got a sample of one for bipolar. The controllers provide pulse-direction output signals — so the MCH-5 can also work as a standalone controller for any external stepper motor-driver board.
They’re available with input ports for external signals — including end limit and home-origin switches and external starts and stops. Plus they include nonvolatile memory that can save up to six different motion profiles. In fact, Nippon Pulse shipped the MCH-5 to us with this 25-gram PFCU-20 tin-can stepper motor. These motors are also called can-stack, claw-tooth, or claw-pole motors … which we cover in more depth here and here.
We connected the four wires for little stepper motor to the MCH-5 through the gang of terminals labeled motor. Then we programmed the controller’s standard mode as well as six routines by following a simple flowchart from Nippon Pulse. Users can use the MCH-5 to set the number of program repetitions, motor-shaft output direction, moving pulses for positioning, optional sensor input, low and high speeds, and acceleration and deceleration times between low and high speed. Other functions are a zero-return operation and jog and homing settings via the controller’s ORG switch.
Just for the sake of illustration and where it made sense, I arbitrarily filled all the user-selectable values for Pr1 with 9s for the leading digits; and Pr2 with 8s; and Pr3 with 7s; and Pr6, 5, and 4 with 6s for leading digits.
We also set the controller to drive the motor with full stepping (and not half stepping, which is another option). The controller has non-volatile memory and stores program settings even when unplugged.
A key takeaway point on this little controller is that is has robust capabilities, especially for its compact size — and this little unit requires no connection to a CPU. The MCH-5 can also be programmed for burn-in testing to run stepper motors for extended periods (for detection of design problems before end products ship) … or the motor controller can be used to go back and forth indefinitely on product testing. For more information on tin-can stepper motors in general or the MCH-5 controller, visit the page detailing the MCH-5 at nipponpulse.com.
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