Brushed DC motors rotate continuously when DC voltage is applied to their terminals. The stepper motor is known by its property to convert a train of input pulses (typically square wave pulses) into a precisely defined increment in the shaft position. Each pulse moves the shaft through a fixed angle. Stepper motors effectively have multiple "toothed" electromagnets arranged around a central gear-shaped piece of iron. The electromagnets are energized by an external driver circuit or a micro controller. To make the motor shaft turn, first, one electromagnet is given power, which magnetically attracts the gear teeth. When the gear teeth are aligned to the first electromagnet, they are slightly offset from the next electromagnet.
The circular arrangement of electromagnets is divided into groups, each group called a phase, and there is an equal number of electromagnets per group. The number of groups is chosen by the designer of the stepper motor. The electromagnets of each group are interleaved with the electromagnets of other groups to form a uniform pattern of arrangement. For example, if the stepper motor has two groups identified as A or B, and ten electromagnets in total, then the grouping pattern would be ABABABABAB.
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