Can you drive a stepper motor without L293D.

Don't awnser without giving explanations or saying it will be cheaper to buy the L293D.


  • yes, you can ... there are other stepper drivers available
    – jsotola
    Jun 6, 2019 at 16:15
  • Any (dual-) H-bridge will do. You can build your own H-bridge out of transistors. You could even use two relays. Or get some proper stepper drivers, as the L293D isn't really great for that purpose.
    – Gerben
    Jun 6, 2019 at 18:01

1 Answer 1


Depending on the type of stepper motor the answer can be "Yes" or "No".

There are two types of stepper motor: Unipolar and Bipolar. Bipolar motors typically have 4 wires and require a H-bridge to drive them.

The L239D is a popular (and cheap), though inefficient, H-bridge that is commonly used. But it is possible to build your own H-bridge from discrete components. There are a lot of caveats and pitfalls when building your own H-bridge though, so people generally don't unless they have a specific requirement that isn't addressed by an integrated one. There are plenty of schematics and descriptions of operation online if you want to learn more about H-bridges.

There are also dedicated bipolar stepper drivers which are easier to work with: you just set the direction and give it a pulse to step in that direction. Much easier to program with, but can be more expensive. However these do tend to be more modern MOSFET based components which are far more efficient and dissipate less heat (or can handle more powerful motors in a similar size package).

Unipolar stepper motors, on the other hand, have more wires (typically 6) and are much simpler to drive. All you need for these is a transistor per coil (typically 4 coils connected as pairs) and you just need to activate them in the right sequence.

The ULN2003 is a popular integrated chip for driving unipolar stepper motors. It's just a bunch of transistors in a single package that is easier to wire up than discrete transistors, though there is no reason why you couldn't do it just with 4 discrete transistors. It's just simpler and tidier to use a single chip.

There are plenty of demonstrations and tutorials online describing driving a unipolar stepper motor with the ULN2003.

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