I've been looking at various NEMA-17 stepper motors, and I noticed that a most have an extremely low voltage. For example, on this page, there are NEMA-17 motors ranging from 2.8 V to 5.4 V, with currents from 1 A to 1.7 A.

However, most drivers (including this company's own page) can't drive that low. Their 'low-voltage' driver can't run motors with a low current. Ideally, I'd like to use one of the L298N drivers that I have lying around, but their minimum is 5 V.

Am I misreading something to do with the current and voltage of motors or drivers? Could I just use an L298N even though the minimum is 5 V?

FYI I'm using an Arduino Mega. For the power supply, I've got a 12 V power supply, a 5 V power supply, and various combinations of batteries.


1 Answer 1


1) For low performance applications, you drive a stepper motor at its rated voltage.

For high performance (higher speed) applications, you use a higher voltage with some form of current limiting. This allows the current to change faster in the inductance of the windings.

2) The simplest way is to use a high voltage drive, with series resistors. The resistors will get hot, and must be sized properly.

3) A better way is to use a current source drive. The old skool way of doing this was with linear current sources, which will get hot, and must be sized properly.

4) The best way to drive stepper motors for high performance these days is to use a buck SMPS driver set to deliver constant current output.


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