APT Stepper Motor Control Module
- Two 50 W 2-Phase Bi-Polar Stepper Drive Outputs
- Motor Speeds up to 3000 RPM
- 409,600 Microsteps per Revolution of Motor
- Seamless Operation with Thorlabs and 3rd Party Motors/Stages
Full Suite of
|APTTM Rack System Modules|
|2-Channel Piezo Control Module|
|2-Channel Stepper Motor Control Module|
|2-Channel NanoTrak® Auto-Alignment Module|
|USB Motion Control 19" Rack Chassis|
|All Thorlabs' Rack System Modules require the use of the APT™ MMR601 Rack System Enclosure. Independent operation of the modules outside the enclosure is not possible.|
- Two Stepper Motor Drive Channels
- High Resolution Microstepping Control (For Very Fine Positioning Applications)
- Stable and Predictable Low-Speed Operation (For Velocity Sensitive Applications)
- Supports 2-Phase Bipolar Steppers up to 48 V / 50 W Peak
- Differential Encoder Feedback (QEP Inputs) for Closed-Loop Positioning
- USB Plug and Play for Multi-Axis Expansion
- Motor Control I/O Port (Jogging, Interlocks)
- Full Software Control Suite Included
- Intuitive Software Graphical Control Panels
- Extensive ActiveX® Programming Interfaces
- Fully Software Integrated with Other APT™ Family Controllers (Integrated Systems Development)
The APT™ MST602 module is a dual-channel, high-resolution, rack-mounted stepper motor driver designed for use with the APT MMR601 Motion Control 19" Modular Rack System. It has been designed to drive 2-phase bi-polar stepper motors up to 50 W, with or without encoder feedback, and is compatible with the full range of stepper-motor-equipped nanopositioning actuators and stages offered by Thorlabs. Alternatively, it is also compatible with any generic two-phase bi-polar motor of varying powers and varying cardinal step sizes.
This stepper motor controller has been designed specifically to operate with the highly flexible APT MMR601 Motion Control 19" Modular Rack System. Up to 6 MST602 stepper modules can be fitted to a given rack system, providing a scalable motion control solution for multi-axis motion control applications. For stand-alone controller options, please see the table below.
When used with a MMR601 Rack enclosure, this unit can be used with a PC via USB connection. Multiple modules can be connected to a single PC via standard USB hub technology for multi-axis motion control applications. Coupling this with the very user friendly APT software allows the user to get up and running very quickly. For example, all relevant operating parameters are set automatically for Thorlabs' stage/actuator products. Advanced custom motion control applications and sequences are also possible using the extensive ActiveX® programming environment, which is described in more detail on the Motion Control Software and APT Tutorials tabs.
An optional 2-axis joystick console (item # MJC001) is also available for tactile, manual positioning of a stage. See the manual, found by clicking on the red Docs icon (), for more information on using the joystick console.
Cables for connecting actuators or stages to the controller are shipped with the actuators or stages, not the controller. If you need help identifying the appropriate replacement cable, please contact Tech Support.
|Other Stepper Motor Controllers|
|K-Cube Single-Channel Controller||1-, 2-, and 3-Channel Benchtop Controller||Modular 2-Channel Rack System Module|
|Motor Drive Connector (15-Pin D-Type Female) Per Channel|
|2 Phase Bipolar Motor Drive Output||Forward, Reverse Limit Switch Inputs|
|Differential Quadrature Encoder (QEP) Input||Encoder 5 V (with Ground)|
|Motor Control Connector (15-Pin D-Type Female)|
|Jog Forward/Back Input||TTL Level|
|Enable/Disable Interlock (per channel)||Connect to Return to Operate Motor|
|User 5 V (with Ground) 100 mA Max|
|User I/O Connector (26-Pin D-Type Female)|
|4 Logic Inputs||TTL Level|
|4 Logic Outputs||Open Collector|
|Trigger Input||TTL Level|
|Trigger Output||Open Collector|
|2 Analogue Inputs||Single Ended 0-10 V (12-bit)|
|2048 Microsteps per Full Step|
|For 200 Step Motor - 409,600 Microsteps/Rev|
|For 24 Step Motor - 49,152 Microsteps/Rev|
|Motor Drive Voltage||Up to 48 V|
|Motor Drive Power||Up to 50 Wpeak/25 Wave|
|Motor Speeds||Up to 3000 RPM (200 Full Step Motor)|
|Encoder Feedback Bandwidth||500 kHz|
|Housing||Single apt™ Rack System Bay|
|Dimensions (W x D x H)||190 x 270 x 50 mm (7.5" x 10.6" x 2")|
|Weight||1.5 kg (3.3 lbs)|
Compatible Motor Specifications
|Peak Powers||5 to 50 W|
|Average Power||25 W Maximum|
|Step Angle Range||20° to 1.8°|
|Coil Resistance (Nominal)||4 to 15 Ω|
|Coil Inductance (Nominal)||4 to 15 mH|
|Rated Phase Currents (Nominal)||100 mA to 1 A|
Motor I/O Controller
|1||User 5 V I/O||9||6||** Channel 2 Emergency Stop Daisy Chain Link Return||14||11||* Channel 2 Jog Backwards||9|
|2||* Channel 1 Jog Forwards||9||7||** Channel 2 Enable Return||15||12||** Channel 1 Emergency Stop Daisy Chain Link||4|
|3||* Channel 2 Jog Forwards||9||8||Not Used||-||13||** Channel 1 Enable||5|
|4||** Channel 1 Emergency Stop Daisy Chain Link Return||12||9||User 0V||-||14||** Channel 2 Emergency Stop Daisy Chain Link||6|
|5||** Channel 1 Enable Return||13||10||* Channel 1 Jog Backwards||9||15||** Channel 2 Enable||7|
User I/O Controller
|1||Digital I/P 1||19||10||Digital O/P 1||19||19||‡ Digital Ground 1 (0 V)||-|
|2||Digital I/P 2||19||11||Digital O/P 2||19||20||Ext Trigger I/P||22|
|3||Digital I/P 3||19||12||Digital O/P 3||19||21||Ext Trigger O/P||22|
|4||Digital I/P 4||19||13||Digital O/P 4||19||22||‡ Digital Ground 2 (0 V)||-|
|5||Channel 1 RS232 TX||-||14||Channel 2 RS232 TX||-||23||5 V User O/P (50 mA Max.)||-|
|6||Channel 1 RS232 RX||-||15||Channel 2 RS232 RX||-||24||Reserved for Future Use||-|
|7||Not Used||-||16||Reserved for Future Use||-||25||Reserved for Future Use||-|
|8||† Channel 2 Analog I/P (+)||17||17||† 0 V (Analog Rtn)||8||26||* ‡ Analog
Ground (0 V)
|9||† Channel 1 Analog I/P (+)||18||18||† 0 V (Analog Rtn)||9|
Drive Channel Connector
|1||Encoder A +ve||6||Not Used||11||0 V User|
|2||Encoder A -ve||7||Phase B -||12||Reserved for Future Use|
|3||Encoder B +ve||8||Phase A -||13||Reserved for Future Use|
|4||Encoder B -ve||9||CW Limit Switch||14||Phase B +|
|5||5 V User||10||CCW Limit Switch||15||Phase A +|
Mini DIN Female
|1||RX (controller intput)/RS232||4||Supply Voltage for Handset 5V|
|2||Ground||5||TX (controller output)|
Thorlabs offers two platforms to drive our wide range of motion controllers: our Kinesis® software package or the legacy APT™ (Advanced Positioning Technology) software package. Either package can be used to control devices in the Kinesis family, which covers a wide range of motion controllers ranging from small, low-powered, single-channel drivers (such as the K-Cubes™ and T-Cubes™) to high-power, multi-channel, modular 19" rack nanopositioning systems (the APT Rack System).
The Kinesis Software features .NET controls which can be used by 3rd party developers working in the latest C#, Visual Basic, LabVIEW™, or any .NET compatible languages to create custom applications. Low-level DLL libraries are included for applications not expected to use the .NET framework. A Central Sequence Manager supports integration and synchronization of all Thorlabs motion control hardware.
Kinesis GUI Screen
APT GUI Screen
Our legacy APT System Software platform offers ActiveX-based controls which can be used by 3rd party developers working on C#, Visual Basic, LabVIEW™, or any Active-X compatible languages to create custom applications and includes a simulator mode to assist in developing custom applications without requiring hardware.
By providing these common software platforms, Thorlabs has ensured that users can easily mix and match any of the Kinesis and APT controllers in a single application, while only having to learn a single set of software tools. In this way, it is perfectly feasible to combine any of the controllers from single-axis to multi-axis systems and control all from a single, PC-based unified software interface.
The software packages allow two methods of usage: graphical user interface (GUI) utilities for direct interaction with and control of the controllers 'out of the box', and a set of programming interfaces that allow custom-integrated positioning and alignment solutions to be easily programmed in the development language of choice.
A range of video tutorials is available to help explain our APT system software. These tutorials provide an overview of the software and the APT Config utility. Additionally, a tutorial video is available to explain how to select simulator mode within the software, which allows the user to experiment with the software without a controller connected. Please select the APT Tutorials tab above to view these videos.
The APT video tutorials available here fall into two main groups - one group covers using the supplied APT utilities and the second group covers programming the APT System using a selection of different programming environments.
Disclaimer: The videos below were originally produced in Adobe Flash. Following the discontinuation of Flash after 2020, these tutorials were re-recorded for future use. The Flash Player controls still appear in the bottom of each video, but they are not functional.
Every APT controller is supplied with the utilities APTUser and APTConfig. APTUser provides a quick and easy way of interacting with the APT control hardware using intuitive graphical control panels. APTConfig is an 'off-line' utility that allows various system wide settings to be made such as pre-selecting mechanical stage types and associating them with specific motion controllers.
APT User Utility
The first video below gives an overview of using the APTUser Utility. The OptoDriver single channel controller products can be operated via their front panel controls in the absence of a control PC. The stored settings relating to the operation of these front panel controls can be changed using the APTUser utility. The second video illustrates this process.
APT Config Utility
There are various APT system-wide settings that can be made using the APT Config utility, including setting up a simulated hardware configuration and associating mechanical stages with specific motor drive channels. The first video presents a brief overview of the APT Config application. More details on creating a simulated hardware configuration and making stage associations are present in the next two videos.
The APT Software System is implemented as a collection of ActiveX Controls. ActiveX Controls are language-independant software modules that provide both a graphical user interface and a programming interface. There is an ActiveX Control type for each type of hardware unit, e.g. a Motor ActiveX Control covers operation with any type of APT motor controller (DC or stepper). Many Windows software development environments and languages directly support ActiveX Controls, and, once such a Control is embedded into a custom application, all of the functionality it contains is immediately available to the application for automated operation. The videos below illustrate the basics of using the APT ActiveX Controls with LabVIEW, Visual Basic, and Visual C++. Note that many other languages support ActiveX including LabWindows CVI, C++ Builder, VB.NET, C#.NET, Office VBA, Matlab, HPVEE etc. Although these environments are not covered specifically by the tutorial videos, many of the ideas shown will still be relevant to using these other languages.
Part 1 illustrates how to get an APT ActiveX Control running within Visual Basic, and Part 2 goes on to show how to program a custom positioning sequence.
Full Active support is provided by LabVIEW and the series of tutorial videos below illustrate the basic building blocks in creating a custom APT motion control sequence. We start by showing how to call up the Thorlabs-supplied online help during software development. Part 2 illustrates how to create an APT ActiveX Control. ActiveX Controls provide both Methods (i.e. Functions) and Properties (i.e. Value Settings). Parts 3 and 4 show how to create and wire up both the methods and properties exposed by an ActiveX Control. Finally, in Part 5, we pull everything together and show a completed LabVIEW example program that demonstrates a custom move sequence.
Part 1: Accessing Online Help
Part 2: Creating an ActiveX Control
Part 3: Create an ActiveX Method
Part 4: Create an ActiveX Property
Part 5: How to Start an ActiveX Control
The following tutorial videos illustrate alternative ways of creating Method and Property nodes:
Create an ActiveX Method (Alternative)
Create an ActiveX Property (Alternative)
Part 1 illustrates how to get an APT ActiveX Control running within Visual C++, and Part 2 goes on to show how to program a custom positioning sequence.
For assistance when using MATLAB and ActiveX controls with the Thorlabs APT positioners, click here.
To further assist programmers, a guide to programming the APT software in LabVIEW is also available here.