BC4E20 Current Regulating Four Motor Controller

Click here to view current product prices for the BC4E20 series of boards.

The BC4E20  controller board is a complete Bipolar four-axis stepper motor controller system with USB communications, implemented on a small 3.70 inch wide by 2.25 inch tall board (as shown here).  It includes the capability of driving up to four bipolar stepper motors at high speeds 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 base product can operate bipolar motors from about 0.15 to 2.0 amps/winding; however, you must order the correct configuration for your motor current needs.  It is available in one of three ranges:

Option  Motor Current Range (approximate) 
-0312 20 to 312 mA/winding
-0700 150 to 700 mA/winding
-2000E 150 to 2000 mA (2.0A)/winding (extra cost option)

This board is currently configured with the BC4E20PotRouter  firmware. The firmware is user updatable, so you may upgrade the firmware yourself as new capabilities become available.

We also support the NC environment using the BC4E20NCRouter firmware.  This allows for vector-oriented NC control of your system in a fairly easy-to-use environment.  Please click here for more information on this offering.

The BC4E20PotRouter key capabilities may be summarized as follows:

  • Up to four stepper motors may be independently controlled at one time.
  • 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 40,960 microsteps per second are 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 1/16 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 motor may have its own microstep size.
  • 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 7.5 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 POT) are multi-purpose: they can be reconfigured by you as analog inputs, digital inputs, digital outputs, as well as providing some special purpose functionality (potentiometer-based rate control, ready-output status).
  • The 8 slew inputs may be logically disconnected from their slew feature, and thus become available as generic TTL

Click Here for the full PDF manual for the BC4E20 series of products with the BC4E20PotRouter 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.

We accept American Express, MasterCard, Visa and Discover for orders from the USA.  For international orders, we require wire transfers.

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...