I use to program in Cobol & Fortran (and some other DEC languages) for over 10 years but that was some 10 years ago. Before that I did a couple years of debugging boards for military computers.
This is great, as these can actually be used to program code for the controls, as well as C++ (which is the only thing I really have experience with), and if you choose to use C++, it will be a lot easier, having a programming background.
What I donâ€™t understand is how to get the signals in and out of a computer where the stepping motor does what the program requires and the program knows what the sensors around the motor is sensing. I figure there are some sort of pulses but what?
Using a parallel port as an example, the parallel port has the d2-d9 output data pins, which produces bit outputs. The same bits are what would be used to control an integrated circuit, this integrated circuit then runs the coils (number depends on your pole number in the motor).
SO from a conceptual point of view:
1. C++/Fortran/COBOL: initial code - human commands to computer language commands
C++ (for example) compiles and breaks down to an assembly language, a language that can be converted to bits
2. Assembly language-computer to lower level language that can be ouput through the form of bits, output is parallel port
3. HCs12 Microcontroller, or a more simple device like the ULN2003 (just one example) decodes these bits and produces the correct pulses from its outputs, has its own internal timing.
Now, you want to program the driver for the C++ (or related code), or you want to write the entire control program itself?
A program like this for example: here
I have no clue how C++ would handle calling to a driver, or what ever it does exactly.
My question is, are you wanting to write the drivers because you really have interest in wrting the drivers, or are you are just concerned with controlling the stepper? I ask becasue there are programs that are already written for this type of thing. They wouldn't be written for a specific floppy drive, but they are designed for X-pole stepper motors. You would then buy or pull a motor from the floppy, get the corresponding logic chip or microcontroller for x-amount of poles, and then program that.
My thing is, if your getting into controls, which is all robotics is, if your are basing everything your starting to learn on floppy drives to control the motors, your not really learning to control a motor, your learning to contol a floppy drive, and ITS compnants; which are then used to control the motors.
I hope what I am trying to explain is clear, if not let me know.
As far as that conceptual outline I posted above, I will post in the programing forum to make sure that is correct.
DO you see my point about controlling the floppy drive though? I hope that made sense.
IF you strictly are just wanting to write the drivers themselves, here is a link to the basics of doing that within a Linux environment. this link gives a great over-view from one end to the other