BS1010 Dual Axis Stepper Motor Controller

RS232 version of the BS1010
Assembled version of BS1010, USB version on the left, RS232 version on the right  

Click here to view current product prices for the USB version of the BS1010.

Click here to view current product prices for the RS232 version of the BS1010.

The BS1010 series of boards  are complete Unipolar/Bipolar dual stepper motor controller systems which can be controlled from a computer using a USB connection.  They include the capability of driving one or two stepper motors, each of which being either unipolar (4-pole) or bipolar (2 pole).  They incorporate a daisy-chain TTL-Serial communications port (for support of multiple boards off of one USB or RS232 connection), additional reprogrammable I/O ports (3 of which include analog input capability), as well as user-flash capability.

These units are a good choice for those designing products using linear actuators, especially since the microstepping features will reduce noise levels and can increase positional accuracy by a large amount. 

The products include ESD protection on most of the TTL I/O lines.  The USB versions come in two primary configurations: one which isolates the USB system from the rest of the board (the 'AR-BS1010ISO' series), the other which adds the capability of having the logic portion of the board being powered off of the USB system (the 'AR-BS1010U5V' series).

  • The ESD protection is active once the board has been connected to a properly grounded power system: it operates by redirecting ESD events to the GND power connector on the board, thus the actual protection is only as good as the capabilities of your power supply to absorb the spike.  It protects most of the signals on the board "LIM", "SLEW" and "IO" lines (only the 'RST' input line remains unprotected by this feature).
  • The USB isolation allows the ground of the computer to be different from the ground used to power the board.  The prior approach permitted a "ground loop" to be possible (wherein current could flow through the USB ground) if the computer and board were not connected to the same ground.
  • The U5V option permits the logic portion of the board (NOT the motors) to be powered off of the USB system, which can simplify the wiring in some cases.

The boards are specified as allowing up to 1 amp per winding (if properly cooled), with 6.5 to 15 volt motors supported when in single power supply mode.  They also support a dual power supply feature, wherein the motors use a separate supply from the logic circuits; in this mode, up to a 34 volt power supply may be used for the motors.  You will want to review the calculating motor current faq in order to determine the current requirements for your motor.

Double Current Mode:  The GenStepper firmware for this product line also allows you to run one motor (instead of two) at double the rated current  of the board!  For example, if you purchase a BS1010 board, which can handle at most two 1-Amp motors (assuming that you cool the board adequately), then that board can now be configured by you to handle one 2-amp motor instead.  Please review the motor connections faq for more information.

The new version of the GenStepper firmware on this product line (version 5.0 and later) is backwards compatible with the GenStepper firmware available on our earlier products.  However, it adds many new capabilities.  Many of the I/O lines may now be reprogrammed for other uses.  For example, both NXT and RDY are fully under your control as generic TTL I/O lines, and may actually be reprogrammed for use as analog inputs!  When either (or both) is set up as analog, they may optionally be configured to control the rate for one or both motors, based on the voltage presented to the input. 

Flash Memory Support: User-accessible flash memory is now available: once you define the operation of your controller to be the way that you want (I/O port assignments, default ramp and run rates, whether the unit is operating in double current mode and so on), you may instruct the controller to memorize the settings.  They will be automatically reselected on the next power cycle or reset of the board.  Similarly, there are 64 bytes of generic user-writable flash memory (100,000 write cycles), to be used in any way that your application deems as being appropriate.

User updateable firmware: The BS1010 series of products supports user updates to the firmware.  This means that any firmware that is generally available for that product line may be downloaded and burned to the board by you -- you normally will not need to send boards back to the factory for a firmware update or change.

NC Firmware support: The BS1010 series of products also supports our NC style of firmware.  This firmware provides for vector-oriented control of your motors, include such features as chained vector motion and arc generation.  The detailed manual for this firmware is available here.

Step-and-direction pulse generation: As of January 20, 2017, we also have (BETA CODE) step-and-direction variants of the GenStepperSD2D and dsPicNCRouter2DSD firmwares.  These varients change the use of the motor driver output signals to instead be used to control external step-and-direction driver boards.

Key Benefits

The BS1010 has the following key capabilities when using the enhanced GenStepper firmware:

  • USB communications with a host computer may be used to control the board.
  • Alternatively, TTL-Serial communications may be used to control the board using some external microprocessor, such as a Parallax Basic Stamp TM.
  • Up to two stepper motors may be independently controlled at one time.
  • Daisy-chained communications is supported via an extra pair of TTL I/O ports, allowing for more motors to be operated off of one USB connection.  If the extra TTL-Serial lines are not needed, then those two lines become available as general user-programmable TTL I/O ports.
  • Each motor may be either 4-pole Unipolar or 2-pole Bipolar.
  • Each motor may draw up to 1.0 amps per winding.  Note if more than 0.6 amp motors are used, then the board requires external fan-based cooling (10 CFM is a reasonable amount); otherwise the board can overheat and fail if the motors are left enabled for long periods of time.
  • If only a single motor is connected to the board, the GenStepper firmware supports configuration of the board and wiring of the motor for double current mode.  This allows you to handle a single motor with up to 2  amps/winding. Again, use of a cooling fan is usually required when operating in double current mode.
  • Limit switches may be used to automatically request motion stop of either motor in either direction.
  • Rates of 1 to 57,600 microsteps per second are normally supported.
  • 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 to 1/64 of a 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.
  • 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.
  • Four modes of stepping the motor are supported:
    • Half steps (alternates 1 winding and two windings enabled at a time),
    • Full power full steps (2 windings enabled at a time)
    • Half power full steps (1 winding enabled at a time)
    • Near-constant-current microsteps (each from 1/64 to 1 full step)
  • 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 stepping through a standard set of rates via grounding another input.
  • Complete control of the motors, including total monitoring of current conditions, is available through the 2400 to 57,600 baud serial connection (by default, this is shipped configured for 9600 baud; other rates may be selected at any time through use of the 'b' command).
  • An additional mode is available which allows an external computer to directly generate step sequences on the motor control lines. Up to 57,600 microsteps per second may be requested.
  • The system can be configured to operate in 1/2 power mode, wherein it reduces the power to all windings by 1/2 for all actions.  This can be used to "overvoltage" a motor, in order to generate more torque.
  • Runs off of a single user-provided 6.5 to 15 volt DC power supply.   May also be configured using a split supply, wherein the motor runs off of a 5 to 34 volt DC power supply, while the logic circuit runs off of a 6.5 to 15 volt supply.  Optionally, as part of the 'split supply' configuration, the USB system can provide the power to the logic portion of the board, while your own external supply is used to drive the motor(s).

Click Here for the full PDF manual for the BS1010 with the GenStepper firmware.

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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