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I need to sense the torque of a stepper motor at any given time. I'm planning to tension a wire by using a stepper motor, and in order to keep the wire at a fixed tension I would need to know the tension at any given time. Based on this I can turn the stepper motor to achieve the desired torque.

If this is not possible, appreciate some alternatives on how I can achieve this. I've looked into strain sensors as well, but not sure if this works.

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  • $\begingroup$ Is the wire particularly thick? Can you out a DMS on it? $\endgroup$ – morbo Dec 30 '19 at 17:22
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Sensing the torque in a stepper motor is not a straightforward task. A method named Field Oriented Control is used to control the torque in a Stepper motor and several companies supply stepper motors with integrated controllers as Schneider and Nanotec. You can also look at mechaduino where they are also implementing a torque control on stepper motors, which they also try to align the energize of the coils to the rotor orientation. An external torque sensor I believe would be more expensive.

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One could brainstorm alternatives to measuring the motor torque electrically.

  • Measure the tension force directly. Put a load cell arrangement at the fixed (non-motor) end of the wire.
  • Route the wire (or a flexible leader) over an idler pulley. Wire tension tries to pull the pulley off its attachment. Put a load cell there.
  • Measure the motor torque mechanically. Tension in the wire is trying to wrench the motor off its mounting. Put a load cell there.
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