Stepper Motor Torque - 3 Tips to Increase it (2022) (2023)

If you are new to stepper motors read our complete How-To-Guide.

If you want to learn how to make a simple robot, chances are high that you will need to employ the use of motors. There are several different types of motors, but this article will focus on the question“what is a stepper motor”. Choosing the correct type of motor is critical to the success of yourrobotics project.

If you have heard of a servo motor before, the main difference between aservo vs stepperis that positionin a servo is controlled usingprecise control signals with a 3-phase inverter.On the other hand, position in a stepper motor is controlled using the motor geometry andthe position of the coils of its poles.

As a result, a stepper motor typically has a higher pole count.This higher pole count in the stepper allows for more precise motion control as well as higher torque at low speeds.The types of stepping algorithms you choose are also important to getting more torque out of your stepper motor. By using them effectively, you can turn a small unipolar stepper motor into a powerful high-torque stepper motor.

By the end of this article, you will be able to understandone-phaseandtwo-phase steppingas well as drive control signals and truth tables for stepper motors.

Stepper Motor Torque - 3 Tips to Increase it (2022) (2)

In this guide, you will learn about:

    1. One-phase Full Stepping
    2. Two-Phase Full Stepping
    3. Drive Control Signals for Stepper Motors
      • Signal Diagrams
      • Truth Tables

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1. One-Phase Full Stepping

Before we start using our unipolar stepper motor, we need to cover an important concept so that we can effectively implement it in a project: the stepping algorithms.These algorithms determine how and when each of the electromagnets in a stepper motor will turn on and off in order to allow rotation.

Full steppingis the simplest and most common method of controlling stepper motors.

If you’re wondering,“what is an electromagnet”and“how is an electromagnet used in stepper motors”, the image below will help you understand the basic layout of a stepper motor and therefore the answer to these questions.

The object in the middle, with the North and South poles, is a permanent magnet. It is typically referred to as the rotor of the machine, and it will rotate as the various electromagnets in the four objects outside of the rotor, collectively called the stator, become active. These four objects are coils that form the electromagnets in the stator. You can see the electrical wiring wrapped around these coils.

As electricity flows through these wires, the electromagnet is able to rotate the permanent magnet towards it.

We’ve covered this example in a previous post but we’ll cover it again in more detail here. Let’s first start with the image below which we will call Step 1.

For Step 1, let’s focus on Electromagnet A. We can put current through it to activate this electromagnet. We can see that the North pole of the rotor magnet is attracted to Electromagnet A so that the North pole is pointing upwards towards it. Remember that for magnetic poles, opposites attract so Electromagnet A is actually acting as a South pole magnet.

Stepper Motor Torque - 3 Tips to Increase it (2022) (5)

In Step 2, we deactivate Electromagnet A and turn on Electromagnet B. The permanent magnet turns 90 degrees clockwise to the next position so that the North pole is pointing to Electromagnet B.

Stepper Motor Torque - 3 Tips to Increase it (2022) (6)

Similarly with Step 3, we turn off the Electromagnet B, turn on the Electromagnet C so that the permanent magnet moves clockwise to this new position.

Stepper Motor Torque - 3 Tips to Increase it (2022) (7)

Lastly, in Step 4, we turn off Electromagnet C, turn on Electromagnet D, and the permanent magnet moves from the previous position to the new position.Once you get to Step 4, you repeat this process over again, and that’s how a rotor spins.

Stepper Motor Torque - 3 Tips to Increase it (2022) (8)
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2. Two-Phase Full Stepping

One-phase full stepping is a fantastic method for most projects involving a stepper motor.However, sometimes we want to lift a heavier load using the same stepper motor.

We can usetwo-phase stepping to increase the torqueof the motor simply by changing how the electromagnets turn on and off.

Here, we have an example of two-phase full stepping.The two-phase stepping algorithm is very similar to the one-phase stepping but instead of one-phase ON at each step, two phases are ON. You can see this in the image below.Both electromagnets A and B are powered, and the rotor is rotated towards the middle of them.

Stepper Motor Torque - 3 Tips to Increase it (2022) (10)

In two-phase stepping, the step sizes are still the same. The permanent magnet moves 90 degrees from one step to the next.You can see the process for full rotation in the 4 images below.

Stepper Motor Torque - 3 Tips to Increase it (2022) (11)

Two-phase full stepping provides roughly 30-40% more torque than one-phase full stepping.

The extra amount of torque can be beneficial to lifting slightly heavier loads with the same stepper motor. That means that we can try two-phase full stepping before buying a bigger or more expensive motor. However, two-phase full stepping has one major disadvantage. It is significantly less efficient than single-phase full stepping. That is because in two-phase, we’re using twice the number of coils at a time, so twice as much electrical power is used.

We use twice the input power to gain roughly 30% additional torque at the output.

If your project requires simple, power-efficient movement, one-phase stepping is recommended. On the other hand, if high torque is needed and electrical power is not a concern, two-phase stepping can be used.

3. Drive Control Signals for Stepper Motors

Signal Diagrams

A basic stepper motor in our example has four coils and four wires to control each coil. The stepper motor wires are typically color-coded to tell youtowhich coil they are connected.Using thesecontrol wires, we can switch the coils on and off for a set amount of time to move the rotor one step.Depending on how we turn the coils on or off, we can change how the stepper motor turns its rotor.For example, in one-phase stepping, the signals will look like this:

Stepper Motor Torque - 3 Tips to Increase it (2022) (13)

The vertical dashed lines mark the intervals for each unique step of operation.

  • In Step 1, a HIGH signal is sent to Phase A so that it’s activated. Phases B, C, and D are sent a LOW signal and are not activated.
  • In Step 2, Phase A is set to LOW and Phase B is set to HIGH. The remaining phases stay LOW.
  • In Step 3, the same thing happens. Phase B is set to LOW and Phase C is set HIGH.
  • In Step 4, Phase C is set LOW and Phase D is set HIGH. We then go back to Step 1 to continue the cycle.
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Truth Tables

Let’s put this information into a table so that it is in a written format which will also help us with the next step of stepper control (programming).Use this Truth Table Generator to create your own truth table. A typical truth table format is shown in the image below.


Step 1

Step 2

Step 3

Step 4

Using the signal diagram, we can actually construct a truth table. In our truth table, we will write “1” if the signal is HIGH for that phase and “0” if the signal is LOW.


Step 1


Step 2

Step 3

Step 4

For example in step 1, Phase A is on, and then Phases B, C, and D are off so we will write “1” for Phase A and “0” for the other phases.Fill out the table until all four phases have been completed and we are back at the first step. For one-phase full stepping, the truth table should look like this:


Step 1


Step 2


Step 3


Step 4



You have now learned the essentials of how to effectively operate a stepper motor and how to achieve greater torque and efficiency to suit the needs of your robotics projects.

Knowledge of how a stepper motor works from drive control signals will give you a strong understanding of when it is appropriate to use a stepper motor instead of another type of motor in your projects. When you later decide to use a stepper motor for your project, knowing the differences between one-phase and two-phase full stepping modes is critical so that you can apply the best and most efficient mode for your needs.

If you need precise position control but want to maximize power efficiency, you can use one-phase full stepping.

Think of an application like an analog clock, where the stepper motor would move the hands in a precise fashion.

If you need precise position control, but also desire more torque, you can leverage the two-phase full stepping mode of operation.

For example, you may want more torque for an application like a robotic arm.

How Does a Stepper Motor Work? Beginners Guide (2022)

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2 thoughts on “Stepper Motor Torque – 3 Tips to Increase it (2022)”

  1. Stepper Motor Torque - 3 Tips to Increase it (2022) (22)

    July 29, 2022 at 5:49 pm

    Very good articⅼe. I am going through a few of
    these issues as wеⅼl..


    1. Stepper Motor Torque - 3 Tips to Increase it (2022) (23)

      Gentiam Electronics

      July 30, 2022 at 2:02 am

      We’re glad you liked it! We have other blogs and articles about stepper motors too in our Learning Hub:
      -Gentiam Electronics



Leave a Comment


How do you get more torque on a stepper motor? ›

Assuming that the permanent magnet stays the same, torque is proportional to the number of winding turns on the stator pole multiplied by the input current. To increase the torque of a motor, either the winding turns or the input current will need to increase.

What are the 3 main components to have as a stepper? ›

The stepper motor consists primarily of two parts: a stator and rotor. The rotor is made up of three components: rotor 1, rotor 2 and a permanent magnet.

What is the maximum torque of a stepper motor? ›

High Torque Stepper Motors range from 0.01 to 50Nm by JVL.

Does increasing voltage stepper motor increase torque? ›

By increasing the bus voltage the driver runs on, the speed and torque and power output of the motor all increase. Because of these benefits, stepper motors are operated with bipolar 'chopper' drives at voltages many times their nameplate voltages.

What is the best way to increase torque? ›

An effective modification that will increase torque significantly is to install a turbo or supercharger. Forced induction forces air into your engine, increasing the power the engine provides. Depending on the torque curve you prefer, a turbocharger will need time to spool before it provides torque benefits.

How can torque be increased? ›

Torque can be increased in two ways: 1) by increasing the moment arm or 2) increasing the perpendicular force applied to the moment arm. The opposite is true for decreasing torque. If an object is at rest the torques on the object are balanced (they cancel out) and sum of those torques is zero.

How do you control a stepper motor? ›

To obtain high torque at high speeds requires a large drive voltage with a low resistance and low inductance. With an L/R drive it is possible to control a low voltage resistive motor with a higher voltage drive simply by adding an external resistor in series with each winding.

How can we control the speed of a stepper motor? ›

The equation above shows that the speed of stepper motors can be controlled by varying the input pulses. A higher input pulse rate (or higher pulse frequency) causes the speed of the motor to increase proportionally.

Is higher torque holding better? ›

The momentum of the moving rotor is countered by the detent torque, along with friction in the rotating components. Therefore, a higher detent torque will help the motor stop more quickly. Detent torque typically ranges from 5 to 20 percent of the motor's holding torque.

Which motor torque is high? ›

A high torque motor is toroid shaped, like a donut, and thus has a large diameter and short axis. These motors can directly drive the application without additional mechanics, like worm wheels, belts or pulleys.

What is full load torque? ›

Full load torque: the torque necessary to produce the rated horsepower at full load speed. In lb at 1 ft radius, it is equal to the horsepower x 5,250 divided by the full load speed.

How do you increase the torque of a 3 phase motor? ›

Adding External Resistance to the Rotor Circuit

This method of improving starting torque is applicable for Wound Rotor type induction motor only. It is possible to increase the starting torque of the motor by adding an external resistance to the rotor resistance via slip rings as in Figure 5.

Does increasing torque increase speed? ›

The torque and speed relationship is inversely proportional since the rated output power of a motor is a fixed value. As output speed increases, the available output torque decreases proportionately. As the output torque increases, the output speed decreases proportionately.

Why does torque increase when RPM increases? ›

According to Newton's second law, the summation of torque=Moment of inertia * Angular Speed (RPM). As the moment of inertia is constant, the torque is proportional to the angular speed. Therefore, If the the RPM increases, the torque increases.

How do you increase torque at low rpm? ›

How to Increase Low End Torque?
  1. Change the flowing exhausts and intake systems. Replace these components with a new one if you find any damage. ...
  2. Install some high-quality spark plugs. ...
  3. Replace the ignition lead with a better one. ...
  4. Retune the air/fuel ratio (AFR) and the ignition timing maps.
23 Apr 2018

How do you increase torque without increasing horsepower? ›

The most simple means of increasing torque is to run an open exhaust and intake and tune properly.

Why is higher torque better? ›

A high torque enables efficient and energy-saving driving. A high engine power enables a car to accelerate quickly and reach a high top speed.

What are the 3 factors of torque? ›

Examples: Page 5 Torque is Determined by Three Factors: The magnitude of the applied force. The direction of the applied force. The location of the applied force.

Does torque increase with voltage? ›

Torque comes from more power. Power is directly related to amps and volts.. as a result, increasing voltage increases torque. It also increases top speed because the motors have a rpm/volt rating.

What does torque depend on? ›

The magnitude of torque of a rigid body depends on three quantities: the force applied, the lever arm vector connecting the point about which the torque is being measured to the point of force application, and the angle between the force and lever arm vectors.

Is a step motor AC or DC? ›

Stepper motors are DC motors that move in discrete steps. They have multiple coils that are organized in groups called "phases". By energizing each phase in sequence, the motor will rotate, one step at a time. With a computer controlled stepping you can achieve very precise positioning and/or speed control.

Which stepper motor is best? ›

The two most commonly used types of stepper motors are the permanent magnet and the hybrid types. Generally speaking, the hybrid stepper motor may be the better choice along with reducing cost, as it offers better performance with respect to step resolution, torque and speed.

Why stepper motors are used? ›

Essentially, stepper motors offer excellent speed control, precise positioning, and repeatability of movement. Additionally, stepper motors are highly reliable since there are no contact brushes in the motor. This minimizes mechanical failure and maximizes the operation lifespan of the motor.

How do you increase the accuracy of a stepper motor? ›

With a standard, non-cumulative, accuracy of ±5 percent, the first and most logical way to increase accuracy is to microstep the motor. Micro stepping is a method of controlling stepper motors that achieves not only a higher resolution but smoother motion at low speeds, which can be a big benefit in some applications.

Where is a stepper motor used? ›

Commercially, stepper motors are used in floppy disk drives, flatbed scanners, computer printers, plotters, slot machines, image scanners, compact disc drives, intelligent lighting, camera lenses, CNC machines, and 3D printers.

What is stepper motor speed? ›

If you want to know about stepper motor max speed, you should know that the maximum speed that's typical of a stepper motor is 1000rpms while the max speed of gearmotors comes in at 400-550 RPM.

What makes a stepper motor faster? ›

You can get the stepper motor to a much higher speed if you gradually increase your speed over time rather than trying to start at the maximum speed from rest. Decrease the external load on the stepper. The more torque your stepper motor needs to deliver, the lower it's maximum step speed will be.

How do you reduce torque in a stepper motor? ›

  1. use less current; torque is proportional to the current through the coils. ...
  2. Microstepping modulates the torque available and is highly non-linear. ...
  3. A decent stepper driver has a current limit pot, so you can choose to limit acceleration to avoid step skipping then reduce the current limit just above this threshold.
26 Jun 2018

How can I make my stepper move faster? ›

Providing higher voltage will allow you to have better torque/acceleration capabilities. Providing higher voltage is required to achieve maximum performance, but it's only appropriate if you have current-mode drivers, otherwise it will just cook the motor.

What happen if torque high? ›

Having high torque force as the engine rotation (RPM) increases makes transporting heavy loads far easier and more efficient. Easier for driving up steep inclines - Having extra torque is also what creates enough power to get a vehicle going from, particularly when moving up steep inclines.

At what point torque is maximum? ›

Note that the torque is maximum when the angle is 90 degrees. A practical way to calculate the magnitude of the torque is to first determine the lever arm and then multiply it times the applied force. The lever arm is the perpendicular distance from the axis of rotation to the line of action of the force.

Does distance increase torque? ›

Torque increases as distance away from the fulcrum a perpendicular force is applied. It also increased when the force itself increases. So perpendicular force and distance directly relate to torque.

What is a good motor torque? ›

Engines in mainstream cars and trucks typically generate 100 to 400 lb. -ft of torque. That torque is created by the pistons within an engine as they reciprocate up and down on the engine's crankshaft, causing it to rotate (or twist), continuously.

Which 3 phase motor has high torque? ›

Design D motors exhibit very high starting torque, very high slip of 5 to 13 percent, and low starting current. These motors are excellent in applications such as oil field pumping jacks and punch presses with large flywheels.

What is torque formula in motor? ›

To calculate load torque, multiply the force (F) by the distance away from the rotational axis, which is the radius of the pulley (r). If the mass of the load (blue box) is 20 Newtons, and the radius of the pulley is 5 cm away, then the required torque for the application is 20 N x 0.05 m = 1 Nm.

How is motor torque calculated? ›

  1. Torque ( = 63,025 x Power (HP) / Speed (RPM)
  2. Power (HP) = Torque ( x Speed (RPM) / 63,025.
  3. Torque (N.m) = 9.5488 x Power (kW) / Speed (RPM)
  4. Power (kW) = Torque (N.m) x Speed (RPM) / 9.5488.

What is high and low torque? ›

As previously mentioned, torque tells you how an engine feels when you accelerate. Cars with high torque engines tend to accelerate slower off the mark but quicker from low revs in a high gear. Conversely, cars with low torque engines tend to accelerate quicker off the mark but slower from low revs in a high gear.

What are 4 ways to increase the strength of an electric motor? ›

increasing the size of the current; using a stronger magnet; increasing the number of turns of wire in the coil; reducing friction between the coil and the axel it rotates on.

How can the power factor of a 3-phase motor be improved? ›

There are three main ways to improve power factor: Capacitor Banks. Synchronous Condensers. Phase Advancers.

Which is better torque at low RPM or torque at high RPM? ›

Running at lower RPMs equates to higher torque and thus lower horsepower, while making higher RPM power outputs less torque and higher top horsepower.

What causes low torque? ›

usually, they have an optimum point in the middle. after that point, in a constant load which means that fuel quantity and air remain constant, an increase in speed of piston doesn't let fuel burn completely (decrease of time). so it causes a decrease in torque.

What increases torque turbine? ›

3 clearly shows the relationship between wind speed and torque [2]. Torque increases with increasing wind force - while rotational speed remains unchanged. The result: Additional mechanical power is generated. However, this also means that the generator can produce more electrical power.

Can torque be increased by a machine? ›

Similarly, the torque produced by a motor can be increased or decreased through the use of gearing. An increase in torque comes with a proportional decrease in rotational speed. The meshing of two gear teeth can be viewed as equivalent to the interaction of a pair of levers as shown in Figure 5.

How do you increase low end torque? ›

How to Increase Low End Torque?
  1. Change the flowing exhausts and intake systems. Replace these components with a new one if you find any damage. ...
  2. Install some high-quality spark plugs. ...
  3. Replace the ignition lead with a better one. ...
  4. Retune the air/fuel ratio (AFR) and the ignition timing maps.
23 Apr 2018

Which device is used to increase the torque? ›

A mechanical gearbox is a device used to increase the output torque or to change the speed of a motor.

How does size affect torque? ›

The higher the wheel size the higher the torque. The higher the rpm the lower the torque.

Does torque increase max speed? ›

Torque can help a vehicle accelerate to a higher speed quickly, whereas horsepower can help a vehicle improve its top speed.

Why is more torque better? ›

Having high torque force as the engine rotation (RPM) increases makes transporting heavy loads far easier and more efficient. Easier for driving up steep inclines - Having extra torque is also what creates enough power to get a vehicle going from, particularly when moving up steep inclines.

What happens if torque is more? ›

The more torque an engine produces, the greater its ability to perform work. The measurement is the same as work, but slightly different. Since torque is a vector (acting in a certain direction), it's quantified by the units pound-feet and newton-meters.

What happens when torque is high? ›

An engine's power is the product of force and the speed with which this force acts. Engine power and torque are both indicators that depend on the engine speed. A high torque enables efficient and energy-saving driving. A high engine power enables a car to accelerate quickly and reach a high top speed.


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