I hope this question is specific enough. Basically I want to know if it matters a great deal what kind of Motor Driver IC(s) or pre-assembled kits you use to drive a Unipolar Stepper Motor.

For example: Can the following Driver be used to control this Stepper Motor?

Driver: https://www.sparkfun.com/products/9670

Motor: http://www.jaycar.com.au/productView.asp?ID=YM2754


  • You can abuse a L298 (like the one you link) to drive unipolar motors, but it's not the ideal tool for it. Really, you just need power transistors. Or get a bipolar motor. Mar 27, 2014 at 3:29
  • 1
    Even if in this forum people may know and help, maybe you should try also in a more specific one, e.g.: electronics.stackexchange.com as this question is in fact not related at all with arduino
    – drodri
    Mar 27, 2014 at 8:44
  • We already have a 12VDC Unipolar Stepper Motor as mentioned in the Question. This is specifically about Arduino-like boards and Stepper motor drivers. Mar 27, 2014 at 21:17

1 Answer 1


It does matter. There are pros and cons to each different driver setup.

If you wire the motor as a bipolar, which I'm not sure that you can, you can use the driver that you linked, but it is not very good for driving stepper motors. https://www.sparkfun.com/products/11876 is a better driver for steppers for half the price. (still have to wire it bipolar)

If you need to stick with unipolar wiring, PCBheaven.com shows an example using a CD4017, MOSFETs, and diodes to run a unipolar motor. It will only turn one direction. Instead you could use a micro-controller, such as an Arduino, in place of the CD4017 along with logic-level MOSFETs to go both directions.

A tutorial on the Arduino site uses a ULN2003A, which is not powerful enough to drive your motor to its full potential (does it need to turn, or turn well?) and doesn't have the diodes (important to protect your IC!), but the Arduino sketches would still work using the schematic from PCBheaven.

A couple of complete driver boards:



  • If you could add links to suitable pre-built Unipolar drivers that can be purchased I'll accept this. Finding any has proven difficult at best -- most are bipolar or micro-stepping drivers :/ Apr 1, 2014 at 2:36
  • I have edited my answer. The first stepper I bought was a really cheap unipolar. I learned many things by goofing around with it! Then, when I was ready, I found a good bipolar driver/motor combination that is much more fun to play with. :)
    – JerryJJ
    Apr 1, 2014 at 5:34
  • A minor correction: The ULN2003A has the diodes built in.
    – Tut
    Apr 1, 2014 at 11:02

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