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Stepper Motor Control through Parallel Port

, 16 Jul 2004
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Motion control of the most widely used Stepper Motor through PC's Parallel Port.

Sample Image - stepper_motor1.jpg



The article is on stepper motor, reaching ports, and controlling it. The article allows you to control speed, direction, and step size of a stepper motor. If you are interested in robotics, motion control, or just want to learn about this widely used motor in almost every electronic gadget like floppy drives, printer, scanner, robots, every device; then you should try building this versatile stepper motor control.

This article also provides precious information about the basics of stepper motors, as there is not much literature spread out about it. It will help you go grasp the understanding, and control the MASTER MOTOR. You will also learn how to interact between PC and external devices, (PC interface through parallel port).


Mmm.... For the circuit part, I hope you know the basics of digital electronics, so that at least the names of components look familiar to you. Not much advanced knowledge is required. As far as Parallel Port and programming is concerned, it will be better if you get a look on the article "I/O Ports Uncensored - 1 - Controlling LEDs (Light Emitting Diodes) with Parallel Port ---- By Levent S". And you should know either Visual Basic or C. I have chosen VB to program, as I think it is the most widely used and easy to understand language.

So to sum up, you should have background of:

  1. Either Visual Basic or C.
  2. Read about accessing parallel port, given in the article "I/O Ports Uncensored - 1 - Controlling LEDs (Light Emitting Diodes) with Parallel Port ---- By Levent S" published in this site itself.
  3. A little understanding of electronics.

Using the code

Well, I have chosen to program in Microsoft Excel VB editor and not using form, as in Excel, you can make dynamics changes, edit the code, and simply run it. No need to compile it by yourself again and again and build the exe file. Microsoft Excel VB editor is very easy to edit and understand, even easier than VB itself!!. You can reach VB editor from Excel by going to Tools Menu -> Macros -> VB editor.

Reaching VB editor in Excel

Before downloading the demo project and source code, I would suggest you to download my documentation Word file which is zipped, and read the file. It's a documentation of the whole project in Word format. I have explained everything there in a very systematic manner, as dumping all the circuits here will make it look like a monster.

The Important points to understand

If you want to send some signals to the parallel port, you can easily do it. The trick lies in the macros of Excel. Yes, just record a new macro, stop it, and edit it in VB. Delete the inside of macro and type the following following code:

out 888, 255

This command requires inpout32.dll in your system32 directory which is in C:\Windows generally, as explained in the I/O Ports Uncensored - 1 - Controlling LEDs (Light Emitting Diodes) with Parallel Port ---- By Levent S" article. And you have to import the DLL file into your program. The 888 is the parallel port address in decimal number, and 255 is also a decimal number, binary equivalent of which is 11111111. That is, all the 8 data ports will become logic high. Hence by varying the number, you can regulate which number is to be kept high.

Points of Interest

Performing this project is not merely understanding the controls but it is to achieve something that is real, physical, and emotional. When I first glow an LED from Parallel Port, it was an amazing experience of giving the power to control anything through PC. So, I moved on a bit... to the stepper motor where you have external power supply to run the device. The inside feeling cannot be expressed, as after this, your imagination can make you a millionaire. It can be used in many applications like building a car robot, you can fit a web cam, or digital camera to precisely control the rotation and position of it. You can build a robotic arm by using various stepper motors, You can do a thousand things it is up to your imagination...

The work on this project was started in 4 June 2004 and completed on 8 July 2004. I made it in Indian Institute of Information Technology, Allahabad (IIITA) India, Robotics Lab during 1st year holidays. I am especially indebted to Dr. G.C.Nandi sir who took great pains in going through the problems that came in between, materials availability, and providing me right direction, and he made valuable suggestions. And I like to thank Sir Ram Kishore who taught me the basics and helped in circuit enhancements.

Final Note

English is not my first language, so please excuse any mistakes. This is my first article for CodeProject, so any suggestions and/or feedback will be appreciated. Thanks for reading till here.

Sample screenshot


This article has no explicit license attached to it but may contain usage terms in the article text or the download files themselves. If in doubt please contact the author via the discussion board below.

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Comments and Discussions

QuestionParallel Port Problem Need Urgent Help PinmemberSaddam Khan20-Sep-11 18:30 
Questionconvert parallel cable to usb for stepper motor control PinmemberTizyTwo15-Jul-11 17:06 
NewsStepper Motors PinmemberJohnstepper31-Mar-11 7:37 
Generalpls send me code in c or assemply and tell me how we can use this Pinmemberm_ejaz8-Oct-10 21:09 
Generalrequest for guidance PinmembergloriaR1-Oct-10 10:08 
GeneralStepper motor PinmemberDanish.ssuet8-Apr-10 9:40 
GeneralRe: Stepper motor Pinmembersyed hussain nasir rizvi26-Jun-10 11:37 
Generalconveyer system Pingroupkarimah24-Dec-09 16:33 
GeneralStepper Motor control with USB Pinmemberrajaofap11-Dec-09 21:35 
Generalproject Pinmemberprabodh kumar6-Nov-09 18:00 
GeneralClueless about the stepper motor thing Pinmembervince creed10-Jul-09 18:10 
Questionproblem regarding number of loops Pinmemberrocketbar9-Jun-09 19:08 
AnswerRe: problem regarding number of loops PinmemberMember 5918597-Jul-09 16:43 
Generalproblem with stepper motor rotation Pinmembervaibs4u28-Apr-09 5:14 
AnswerRe: problem with stepper motor rotation PinmemberCrioa19-May-09 11:29 
Generalstepper motor control using 8051 microcontroller Pinmembermohamed laving15-Apr-09 11:39 
GeneralMultiple High torque stepper motor controller! PinmemberElshine18-Mar-09 3:02 
AnswerRe: Multiple High torque stepper motor controller! PinmemberMember 5918597-Jul-09 16:50 
Generalsteper motor design Pinmemberorked mohamed29-Jan-09 11:29 
Generalsequences to the parallel port Pinmemberrazan oglah26-Dec-08 2:28 
GeneralRotate Stepper motor Pinmembermanjusl18-Dec-08 7:56 
Generalurgent need Pinmembernikhil jais3-Dec-08 9:58 
GeneralVista Pinmemberbossier173-Oct-08 8:15 
GeneralHigh Ampere rating Pinmemberpratik222226-May-08 21:47 
GeneralCODE PinmemberALAN CARDOSO2-May-08 8:15 
GeneralHi !!!! PinmemberEleazar16-Jan-08 19:04 
Generalstepper control operation Pinsussfrancis haba27-Dec-07 11:17 
General[Message Removed] Pinmemberimmetoz4-Oct-08 16:09 
Generalmultiple stepper motor control Pinmembercokyblaster2-Nov-07 16:37 
Generalstepper motor Pinmemberbottgadget28-Sep-07 20:15 
General4 wire stepper motor Pinmemberpaulravi6-Sep-07 7:48 
GeneralRe: 4 wire stepper motor Pinmembermitchandre7-Sep-07 7:29 
GeneralUSB 2 LPT Pinmemberzafor1-Aug-07 4:35 
QuestionInterface Card PinmemberMember #393152120-Mar-07 17:41 
AnswerRe: Interface Card Pinmemberchaz_s11-Apr-07 3:51 
QuestionFrom where the motor and the board ? Pinmemberabu_sager1-Dec-06 6:27 
Questionstepper motor control by parallel port Pinmemberfuad200619-Sep-06 4:52 
QuestionRe: stepper motor control by parallel port Pinmemberspringupman21-Sep-06 18:46 
QuestionFacing problem in parallel port programing in windows XP Pinmemberanubhav aggarwal2-Sep-06 5:39 
AnswerRe: Facing problem in parallel port programing in windows XP Pinmemberbhaskar_gupta2-Sep-06 10:09 
GeneralStepper motor control Pinmemberdemisphinx25-Aug-06 9:56 
QuestionPort control question. PinmemberDan Boyt24-Aug-06 16:47 
AnswerRe: Port control question. Pinmemberbhaskar_gupta25-Aug-06 0:33 
QuestionRe: Port control question. Pinmembershanyx3-May-08 10:06 
Generalstepper motor Pinmembersssaaaadddd30-Jul-06 5:40 
GeneralStepper Motor Circuit Pinmembersephirothzero8525-Mar-06 21:02 
Generalautomated car Pinmemberiyesh20-Mar-06 3:47 
QuestionTwo Steppers at Once? PinmemberRigidkitchen7-Nov-05 7:06 
Generalserial port PinmemberJohanBrother26-Oct-05 11:34 
Generalbipolar 4 wire PinmemberTomuk513-May-05 5:27 

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