Motion Control and Motor Drives

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NI Motion Controllers and Drives compatibility with stepper motors



I'm trying to setup a motion control system and I'm facing some trouble. The final goal is to be able to control a couple of stepper motors.We already have a PXI System with a PXI-7354 motion controller, and a UMI-7774 connector block. What we don't have yet is the stepper drives and motors. It's likely that because of torque requirements we may need a gearbox. Here I disclose some of my doubts:


We are considering the P70360 or the P70530 drives, but I would like to know if it is possible to connect thrid party drives to the motion controllers? What requirements this drives should comply?


Similar as the first one, Is it possible to connect third party stepper motors to the NI stepper drives? What requirements this motors should comply?


Finally, Is it possible to adapt gearboxes to the NI stepper motors? If so, Which ones are recommended?


Thanks in advance,



Robst - CLD

Using LabVIEW since version 7.0

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Message 1 of 4

   Hello Robst,

Either the P70360 or the P70530 will be good drives depending on your wattage requirement. A loose rule regarding wattage is not to exceed 80% of capacity. If you think you'll exceed that, buy bigger.

Regarding third party drives, though many are compatible we cannot guarantee compatiblitty of all drives nor are we able to support them. That being said you may want to take a look at these KBs which describe some issues to be mindful of when looking at third party drives.

How Do I get the 73xx Controller and UMI-7764 to Drive a Third Party Stepper Motor?
How to Connect NI 73xx Digital Outputs to Third Party Equipment
How to connect the 73xx inhibit and command signal outputs to third party drives.

Some points to glean from the above links are what kind of current gets sinked and sourced by the drives to insure compatibility. Regarding stepper motors, again we will only be able to guarantee compatiblity and provide support for stepper motors provided by NI. That said, the majority of stepper motors I've seen are compatible with our equipment assuming the drive it's connected to is compatible. Below are some articles that may help you make a decision on what type of stepper motor you choose.

Selecting the Proper Size Stepper Motor
NI Stepper Motion System Selection Guide
How Can I Determine My Stepper Motor Wiring Without the Stepper Motor Pinout?


As for gearboxes, you will just need to make sure that the gearbox you select fits properly with the motor you are using. Often the gearboxes are standardized to NEMA sizes that correspond with the stepper motors. Kollmorgen, who manufactures the motors that we sell, also makes gearboxes. Their gearboxes would be a good place to start.


Daniel H. 

Message 2 of 4

Many third-party drivers can be connected to the NI driver board. We are using several different drivers, and they all work without problems. 


First thing to consider is the driver interface. Most drivers use STEP and DIR signals, both can be generated with the  NI boards. Some drivers need CW or CCW step signals, the NI boards can be configurated to interface with these drivers. You should also consider the hardware requirements for interfacing. Most drivers use optocouplers as input devices. As long as these devices can be driven with 5VDC max. and 24mA max. they will work with the NI boards (most optocouplers need input currents less than 10mA). You may need an external 5VDC source since the 5VDC output of the NI boards will supply 100mA max., the external supply must have common GND with the NI board GND terminal.


Also, most 2-phase stepper motors can be used with almost any of the drivers. The output current of the driver must not be higher than the current rating of the motor. Some motors have 8-wire or 6-wire connections. Check proper current rating for the connection scheme you want to use. Most drivers can be set to certain output current values, set it to a value not higher than the rating of the motor.


Stepper motor drivers and stepper motors are widely used in the industry and there are certain "standards" for the set-up of a stepper motor system. NI driver boards and drivers usually follow these industry standards and you will find a wide range of components to build a system to your requirements.  

Message 3 of 4

Thank you Daniel H and Buechsenschuetz for your help. It's really appreciated. I'll follow your suggestions to select the correct equipment for my application. If I need further assistance, I'll post here again.


Thanks again.

Robst - CLD

Using LabVIEW since version 7.0

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