For those unaware of what a DC stepper motor is, it boils down to an electronic motor where the rotation can be precisely controlled, i.e. you can control the rotation of the motor in fractions of a degree. For example the motors I have currently allow you to move the motor just 1/2048 of a full rotation. This enables very precise movement.
I am trying to achieve the same thing, however with a motor, that is not powered by electricity but by gasoline. This motor is connected to a large and heavy flywheel that enables more or less constant RPM once the motor has settled. Using gear reduction I can get a very constant very low RPM which works fine for precisely moving a piece of machinery, however the problem is that I cannot really engage and disengage that movement reliably.
Since the gasoline engine also powers a 500W DC generator obviously the first choice would be to just use that electricity for a stepper motor, but that would take the fun out of the project (its a fun project, nothing serious). So far my ideas were the following:
- Use strong electromagnets to simulate a controlled clutch where the energized electromagnets would engage the clutch more or less immediately and have some powerful springs to retract it once the electromagnets are no longer energized. Combined with more or less constant RPM this would make it possible to create precise movement by engaging the magnets for a defined time. Problem is that while I am able to create the clutch and circuit I don't have electromagnets that are able to push that much weight and dont overheat after a minute or two (literally).
- Use some hydraulic oil with an oil pump powered by the gasoline engine. On the surface this is perfect, however it has some issues: I would be using a geared oil pump which needs to be engaged on demand, essentially just transferring the problem downstream. Using a DC motor to control the geared oil pump seems like cheating...
So long story short, does anyone have any ideas how to replicate a DC stepper motor with a gasoline engine (assuming constant low RPM) that does not require any DC motor on its own?