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I am working on an autonomous robot using two 4-pin stepper motors, HC-SR04 ultrasonic sensor, 2 L298N motor drivers (one for each motor), and an Arduino Uno. My problem is that when I use the stepper motors with the Stepper library, only one motor works at a time. My solution was to control the one step at a time in a short period of time, which worked, however, this introduces a new problem. The ultrasonic sensor requires a delay to work, but this makes the movement of the robot quite slow and jittery as it works only by one step at a time. When I remove the delay from the ultrasonic sensor, it starts returning the correct value, but then also returning 0 right after each correct value. My solution was to ignore the returned 0, but this is not ideal.

How can I use two stepper motors at the same time and use an Ultrasonic sensor?

Here is my code:

#include <Stepper.h>
#include <Ultrasonic.h>

/*
 * Pass as a parameter the trigger and echo pin, respectively,
 * or only the signal pin (for sensors 3 pins), like:
 * Ultrasonic ultrasonic(13);
 */
 Ultrasonic ultrasonic(13, 12);
 int distance;

 int driveSpeed = 100;
 int stepsPerRevolution = 200;
 int leftMotorStep = 0;
 int rightMotorStep = 0;

 // Time interval between steps for both motors
 const int stepInterval = 10;  // Adjust as needed

 // Last step time for each motor
 unsigned long leftMotorLastStepTime = 0;
 unsigned long rightMotorLastStepTime = 0;

 Stepper rightMotor(stepsPerRevolution, 8, 9, 10, 11);
 Stepper leftMotor(stepsPerRevolution, 4, 5, 6, 7);

 void setup() {
   Serial.begin(9600);
   rightMotor.setSpeed(driveSpeed);
   leftMotor.setSpeed(driveSpeed);
 }
 void loop() {
   distance = ultrasonic.read();

   Serial.print("Distance in CM: ");
   Serial.println(distance);
   delay(250); //This delay makes the motors behave strangely

   if (distance < 15) {
     Serial.println("AVOIDING OBSTACLE!");
     // Perform obstacle avoidance behavior
     avoidObstacle();
   } else if (distance < 30) {
     Serial.println("APPROACHING OBSTACLE!");
     // Perform slow approach behavior
     slowApproach();
   } else {
     Serial.println("DRIVING!");
     // Perform normal driving behavior
     drive();
   }
 }

 void avoidObstacle() {
   // Stop the robot
   halt();

   // Rotate the robot to avoid the obstacle
   leftM();

   // Delay to allow the rotation to complete
   delay(1000);
 }

 void slowApproach() {
   // Slow down the motors
   int slowSpeed = 50;
   rightMotor.setSpeed(slowSpeed);
   leftMotor.setSpeed(slowSpeed);

   // Move the robot forward slowly
   forwardM();

   // Delay to allow the slow approach
   delay(1000);
 }

 void drive() {
   // Set the motors back to the normal speed
   rightMotor.setSpeed(driveSpeed);
   leftMotor.setSpeed(driveSpeed);

   // Move the robot forward
   forwardM();
 }

 void forwardM() {
   rightMotor.step(1);
   leftMotor.step(1);
 }
 void leftM() {
   rightMotor.step(1);
   leftMotor.step(-1);
 }
 void rightM() {
   rightMotor.step(-1);
   leftMotor.step(1);
 }
 void reverseM() {
   rightMotor.step(-1);
   leftMotor.step(-1);
 }
 void halt() {
   rightMotor.step(0);
   leftMotor.step(0);
 }
5
  • 1
    first, stop using delay()
    – jsotola
    May 29, 2023 at 15:21
  • When I don't use delay(), the Ultrasonic sensor returns 0 after every value (as mentioned int the post).
    – Renier Jr.
    May 29, 2023 at 18:44
  • 2
    stop using the delay() function to introduce a delay ... see the blinkWithoutDelay example sketch in the Arduino IDE
    – jsotola
    May 29, 2023 at 20:08
  • Thank you, this definitely helps!
    – Renier Jr.
    May 29, 2023 at 21:19
  • may be of interest ... wokwi.com/projects/327381547863769683
    – jsotola
    May 30, 2023 at 1:01

1 Answer 1

2

Try this code.

Here is a simulation. https://wokwi.com/projects/366108641014000641

Click on the sensor to set the distance in the simulation

NOTE: centimeters is cm, not CM.

Not tested on hardware.



// https://arduino.stackexchange.com/questions/93302/how-to-drive-two-stepper-motors-and-use-an-ultrasonic-sensor-together

#include <Stepper.h>
#include <Ultrasonic.h>

/*
 * Pass as a parameter the trigger and echo pin, respectively,
 * or only the signal pin (for sensors 3 pins), like:
 * Ultrasonic ultrasonic(13);
 */
 
 Ultrasonic ultrasonic(13, 12);
 
 int distance;

 int slowSpeed          =  100;
 int driveSpeed         = 1000;
 int stepsPerRevolution =  100;
 int leftMotorStep      =    0;                         // current step speed and direction
 int rightMotorStep     =    0;

 int stepSpeed          =   10;                         // this is the motor speed

 const int stepInterval =    1;                         // Time interval between steps for both motors

 unsigned long leftMotorLastStepTime  = 0;              // Last step time for each motor
 unsigned long rightMotorLastStepTime = 0;

 Stepper rightMotor(stepsPerRevolution, 8, 9, 10, 11);
 Stepper leftMotor (stepsPerRevolution, 4, 5,  6,  7);


 void setup() {
   Serial.begin(9600);
   rightMotor.setSpeed(1);
   leftMotor. setSpeed(1);
 }


 void loop() {

  distance = ultrasonic.read();

  Serial.print("Distance in cm: ");
  Serial.print(distance);  Serial.print("\t");

  switch (distance) {                              // used switch/case for cleaner looking code
    case 0 ... 14:
      Serial.println("avoid");
      avoidObstacle();                             // Perform obstacle avoidance behavior
      break;

    case 15 ... 29:
      Serial.println("approach");
      slowApproach();                              // Perform slow approach behavior
      break;

    default:
      Serial.println("drive");
      drive();                                     // Perform normal driving behavior
      break;
  }

  rightMotor.step(rightMotorStep);                 // this actually moves the motors
  leftMotor .step(leftMotorStep);
}

 void avoidObstacle() {
   halt();                                          // Stop the robot
   leftM();                                         // Rotate the robot to avoid the obstacle
 }

 void slowApproach() {
   rightMotor.setSpeed(slowSpeed);                  // Slow down the motors
   leftMotor. setSpeed(slowSpeed);
   forwardM();                                      // Move the robot forward slowly
 }

 void drive() {
   rightMotor.setSpeed(driveSpeed);                 // Set the motors back to the normal speed
   leftMotor. setSpeed(driveSpeed);
   forwardM();                                      // Move the robot forward
 }

 void forwardM() {
   rightMotorStep =  stepSpeed;                     // select direction of step only
   leftMotorStep  =  stepSpeed;                     // do not move motor
 }                                                  // actual stepping is done at end of loop()
 void leftM() {
   rightMotorStep =  stepSpeed;
   leftMotorStep  = -stepSpeed;
 }
 void rightM() {
   rightMotorStep = -stepSpeed;
   leftMotorStep  =  stepSpeed;
 }
 void reverseM() {
   rightMotorStep = -stepSpeed;
   leftMotorStep  = -stepSpeed;
 }
 void halt() {
   rightMotorStep =  0;
   leftMotorStep  =  0;
 }

1
  • Thank you, this is really helpful!
    – Renier Jr.
    Jun 2, 2023 at 20:01

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