I am designing a peristaltic pump and need some advice for parts. I am using an Arduino Leonardo and also have an UNO and am planning on adding a temperature and pH sensor as well. I have two questions:

1) I am planning to use a Stepper Motor but am unsure if I should use the NEMA 17 or 23 or some other motor. I need a relatively "high" amount of torque maybe around 1 to 3 N-m.

2) Should I go with a Motor Shield or Motor Driver. I am currently looking at the Big Easy Driver or A4988 Bipolar Driver or the simple Arduino Motor Shield.

Does anyone know which of these would be best or have any suggestions? Thank you very much!

  • A lot of people like the Pololu stepper motor drivers. Especially in the DIY 3D printer scene. They are probably cheaper than an entire shield.
    – Gerben
    Commented Jun 1, 2016 at 18:01

1 Answer 1


The specifications for each stepper motor varies, with the larger models having the greater torque. With great torque comes the requirement of great power. A quick search for nema 17 stepper motors finds the torque figures on the low side of your request, while the nema 23 motors display a greater range, including your figures.

The additional power requirements may exceed the capabilities of the Arduino Motor Shield (2a per channel, 4a max), while the A4988 board specifies up to 2a per coil. Also note that to achieve the use of the higher power levels, these boards will require heat sinks.

If you expect to require the higher figure for torque, consider to research for a driver board that has a greater power limit, "just in case".

  • Rule of thumb: work out your power requirement, double it, then add a bit :) You can never have too much headroom.
    – Majenko
    Commented Jun 1, 2016 at 17:15
  • 1
    "NEMA 17" etc. only designates the mechanical mounting specification, not the strength or other electrical specifications of the motor.
    – JayEye
    Commented Jun 1, 2016 at 23:20
  • Thanks a bunch. I think I will go with a driver board like you said just to be safe.
    – tyler a
    Commented Jun 2, 2016 at 9:53

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