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RPi – A4988 stepper motor driver

The A4988 is a stepper motor driver board that has on a A4988_chip that enables control of stepper motors through arduino type programming firmware and software.
The A4988 is an utterly tested and proven solution to drive stepper motors in RepRap 3D printers, and this fact should not be overlooked. As long as the following three conditions are met, these Made in China Allegro A4988 stepper driver boards seem to be bullet-proof workhorses:

  1. The stepper driver boards should not be inserted backwards in their respective slots on the controller board.
  2. The stepper cables should not be disconnected from the boards while powered on.
  3. Proper airflow (i.e. active cooling or in other words, a fan) should be provided.

The alternative DRV8825 board, with increased 1/32 step mode is slightly more expensive.

Both the the A4988 and DRV8825 boards are interchangeable (note how you put them in), and should work the same on any 3D printer or similar system.

The following table compares Made in China A4988 Stepper driver boards vs DRV8825 ones, for RepRap use:

A4988 DRV8825
Availability very widely available widely available
Approx. price $6.80 / 5 pieces $10 / 5 pieces
Max. theoretical current 2A 2.5A
Max. microsteps 16 32
PCB color Green / Red Purple
Stepper current adjust. trimpot Yes, near Dir pin Yes, near En pin
Typical Rs value 0.05 Ohm or
0.1 Ohm or
0.2 Ohm
0.1 Ohm
Vref formula (*) I_TripMax= Vref/(8*Rs) I_TripMax= Vref/(5*Rs)
Thermal Overload Protection (**) Yes Yes
PCB layers 2 4
Small heatsink included (***) Almost always Sometimes not
Active cooling required? Recommended Recommended
IC packaging 5x5mm 28-lead QFN 9.7×6.4mm 28HTSSOP




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