Stepper motors require a motor driver, said everybody. So I started searching around for "why" information, and a recommendation.
General information was plentiful. But picking a specific driver, and configuring it, was confusing and intimidating.
Fortunately I found some help on Hackster.
But first, the general information
"Stepper motors require a stepper controller to energize the phases in a timely sequence to make the motor turn," says Adafruit.
A couple of electrical engineers also addressed the question on Quora.
"A motor driver is a little current amplifier; the function of motor drivers is to take a low-current control signal and then turn it into a higher-current signal that can drive a motor, says Future Electronics.
Now the hard part
But picking a specific driver, and configuring it, and connecting it to a stepper motor, and a Particle Photon, was confusing and intimidating.
Around this time, I began following IoT projects on Hackster. The site has a great feature that allows you to view projects by platform and categories. Some boxes I checked:
- Raspberry Pi
- Seeed Sensors
One active maker, on a few platforms, was Arduino Guy. When I pinged him, he recommended this DRV8825 Stepper Motor Driver Carrier, High Current.
It's more than a chip, I read in one of the technical descriptions, it's actually a "carrier board or breakout board for TI’s DRV8825 stepper motor driver."
So the guts of the thing is a DRV8825, made by Texas Instruments.
I decided to give it a try.