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I got a simple motor from a broken domestic printer. It’s a Mitsumi m355P-9T stepping motor. Any other common stepping motor should fits. You can find one in printers, multifunction machines, copy machines, FAX, and such.

bumbabot v01

With a flexible cap of water bottle with a hole we make a connection between the motor axis and other objects.

bumbabot v01

bumbabot v01

With super glue I attached to the cap a little handcraft clay ox statue.

bumbabot v01

It’s a representation from a Brazilian folkloric character Boi Bumbá. In some traditional parties in Brazil, someone dress a structure-costume and dances in circular patterns interacting with the public.


Photos by Marcus Guimarães.

Controlling a stepper motor is not difficult.  There’s a good documentation on how to that on the Arduino Stepper Motor Tutorial. Basically it’s about sending a logical signal for each coil in a circular order (that is also called full step).

full step

Animation from

stepper motor diagram

You’ll probably also use a driver chip ULN2003A or similar to give to the motor more current than your Arduino can provide and also for protecting it from a power comming back from the motor. It’s a very easy find this tiny chip on electronics or automotive  stores or also from broken printers where you probably found your stepped motor.

Arduino Stepper Motor UNL2003A

With a simple program you can already controlling your motor.

// Simple stepped motor spin
// by Silveira Neto, 2009, under GPLv3 license
int coil1 = 8;
int coil2 = 9;
int coil3 = 10;
int coil4 = 11;
int step = 0;
int interval = 100;
void setup() {
  pinMode(coil1, OUTPUT);
  pinMode(coil2, OUTPUT);
  pinMode(coil3, OUTPUT);
  pinMode(coil4, OUTPUT);
void loop() {
  digitalWrite(coil1, step==0?HIGH:LOW);
  digitalWrite(coil2, step==1?HIGH:LOW);
  digitalWrite(coil3, step==2?HIGH:LOW);
  digitalWrite(coil4, step==3?HIGH:LOW);
  step = (step+1)%4;

Writing a little bit more generally code we can create function to step forward and step backward.

My motor needs 48 steps to run a complete turn. So 360º/48 steps give us 7,5º per step. Arduino has a simple Stepper Motor Library but it doesn’t worked with me and it’s also oriented to steps and I’d need something oriented to angles instead. So I wrote some routines to do that.

For this first version of BumbaBot I mapped angles with letters to easy the communication between the programs.

motor angle step control

Notice that it’s not the final version and there’s still some bugs!

// Stepped motor control by letters
// by Silveira Neto, 2009, under GPLv3 license
int coil1 = 8;
int coil2 = 9;
int coil3 = 10;
int coil4 = 11;
int delayTime = 50;
int steps = 48;
int step_counter = 0;
void setup(){
  pinMode(coil1, OUTPUT);
  pinMode(coil2, OUTPUT);
  pinMode(coil3, OUTPUT);
  pinMode(coil4, OUTPUT);
// tells motor to move a certain angle
void moveAngle(float angle){
  int i;
  int howmanysteps = angle/stepAngle();
    howmanysteps = - howmanysteps;
    for(i = 0;i<howmanysteps; i++){
// tells motor to move to a certain angle
void moveToAngle(float angle){
// actual stepper motor angle
float actualAngle(){
  return step_counter*stepAngle();
// angle made by each step
float stepAngle(){
  return 360.0/steps;
// backward step
void backstep(int coil){
  digitalWrite(coil1, (coil==3)?HIGH:LOW);
  digitalWrite(coil2, (coil==2)?HIGH:LOW);
  digitalWrite(coil3, (coil==1)?HIGH:LOW);
  digitalWrite(coil4, (coil==0)?HIGH:LOW);
// forward step
void step(int coil){
  digitalWrite(coil1, (coil==0)?HIGH:LOW);
  digitalWrite(coil2, (coil==1)?HIGH:LOW);
  digitalWrite(coil3, (coil==2)?HIGH:LOW);
  digitalWrite(coil4, (coil==3)?HIGH:LOW);
void loop() {
  byte val;
    val =;
    switch (val) {
      case 'A': moveToAngle(  0); break;
      case 'B': moveToAngle( 45); break;
      case 'C': moveToAngle( 90); break;
      case 'D': moveToAngle(135); break;
      case 'E': moveToAngle(180); break;
      case 'F': moveToAngle(225); break;
      case 'G': moveToAngle(270); break;
      case 'H': moveToAngle(315); break;
      case 'I': backstep(1); backstep(0); break;
      case 'J': step(0); step(1);   break;

In another post I wrote how create a Java program to talk with Arduino. We’ll use this to send messages to Arduino to it moves. 


[put final video here]

To be continued… :)

Published inenglish


  1. […] ambassador at UFC and currently Sun Tech Lead, who will use it in one of his projects, called BumbaBot. I am now working with a client only, and I’m planning to develop something cool so that I […]

  2. IvanDeft IvanDeft

    Why this scethes working right with different wires connecting to motor???

  3. IvanDeft IvanDeft

    Sorry, mistake!! ))
    You sketches working right! But standard arduino stepper library don’t work on this pin connection (where working your sketch).

  4. Neil Neil

    This is so awesome! I’ve been search for days on how to control a stepper motor. I also removed a stepper motor from my dot matrix printer.

    I’m waiting for my ULN2003 from



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