I'm pretty new to electronics and the Raspberry Pi. I would like make a surveillance camera from the RP for the teaching purposes, so I figured I will need the camera, and two stepper motors, to make it possible to move the camera remotely in two dimensions. I'm experienced programmer, however I lack the basic knowledge when it comes to electronics. What are important things to consider when choosing the stepper motor for a RPi project? I mean:

  1. What to look at to be sure that the RPi will handle the stepper motor (power-wise etc.)?

  2. Few example torque values that are "just enough" for the example jobs.

With the above information, it would be very easy for the beginners like me, to start working with motors and RP.

  • The Pi itself is unlikely to handle the current for the steppers on its own - the GPIO pins can handle only a small current (a few milliamps) at a voltage level of 3.3V. That's not enough for most steppers. You need some additional interface, e.g. a so-called HAT such as this. – Ghanima Aug 31 '16 at 16:06
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    If by "the camera" you mean the pi camera, stepper motors are massive overkill here. You are going to have a 1 lb. camera that is 0.99+ lbs motor. You can move the pi camera, or any normative USB camera, easily with servos, at least two of which can be operated independently directly from 40-pin models (the limiting factor being PWM channels, not power). Servos also have torque characteristics but even the smallest, cheapest ones commonly available will work for this purpose. – goldilocks Aug 31 '16 at 16:19
  • @goldilocks I guess I was thinking bigger – Ghanima Aug 31 '16 at 16:42
  • @Ghanima "I would like to make a space telescope using the Rpi and some solid rocket boosters. How many pounds of thrust will I need to maintain a stable low earth orbit?" – goldilocks Aug 31 '16 at 16:47
  • @goldilocks you should look up the spec of the James Webb Space Telescope to get a first impression. That really is awesome. It might feature two or three Pis however. – Ghanima Aug 31 '16 at 17:09

It really depends on the size of the camera you want to move. For example I've had success moving a small webcam (plugged into the Raspberry Pi's USB port, with a relatively cheap (< £10) pre-assembled pan and tilt head driven by sg90 micro servos (included).

For more of a 'CCTV style' camera, you will definitely want something beefier.

  • I'm so uneducated when it comes to electronics that I had to look up what the servos actually are. I was thinking about the pi camera, so it seems like they will be perfect. Thanks :) . I will have a lot of things to learn. – Łukasz Zaroda Aug 31 '16 at 16:42

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