Generate Power with a Stepper Motor

Are you looking to generate power at decent levels, but not sure what type of application to use?
An electric stepper motor may be the solution you are looking for.

Stepper motors can generate power from a tenth of a watt up to several watts. The following article shows how a 4-phase unipolar stepper motor is capable of creating a ½ watt of power.

The first thing to consider is the price of stepper motors. They are very cheap, just around $10 or so, plus they can be found in many old machines. However, since they are priced so well it’s not really worth taking the time to salvage one from an old computer. In addition, some of the motors you will find in these old machines may not run up to the same standards as a new motor.

Remember stepper motors generate power at low RPMs, which makes generating power an option. At just a few hundred RPMs usable power can be produced. Like wind turbines and other low RPM power sources this means the stepper motor can be driven directly from the source without having to use gearing.

generate power with a stepper motor

Reaching an efficiency level above 35% is possible. This all depends on how the motor is loaded, and a number above 35% isn’t bad considering the price of the motor.

Since gears and belts are not being used to produce the power less friction is being used. This means less power is being lost and parts are less likely to break down. Since stepper motors are brushless, the only wearing parts are the shaft against the bearings.

Another reason why a stepper motor is very popular is its torque qualities.

Torque will hold the motor in exact rotational steps, even when there is no power being supplied to the motor. A high drive torque will overcome the torque resisting rotation, and will cause inefficient operation at low power levels.

This is a brief introduction on how a stepper motor can create power for different applications. More in depth articles are available throughout the web and more will be added to the site in the future. To learn more about stepper motors and how they can be used, visit the rest of the blog.


George Leger has a Masters in Electrical Engineering from Stanford University, worked in private industry pioneering surface-mount technology and in government research labs for twenty years, published several papers on surface-mount technology, co-authored papers published in national symposiums on accelerator technology, was past president of SMTA and an adjunct professor at the community college level, holds a patent, and is a certified microchip design partner, serving as a consultant to many companies developing electronic circuits.

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