Stepper Motors - turning them manually

I have a situation where a stepper motor is driving a belt with a small platform - it’s a camera slider.

I haven’t built in any limit switches yet and will do so.

In the meantime, is there any issue that anyone is aware of, when manually moving the motor to reposition it?
I notice that when I do, the power light comes on. This is surely the stepper motor acting as a generator.

Anyone know of any problems? I’m using the ADAFRUIT MOTOR/STEPPER/SERVO SHIELD.

Thanks in advance,

Hey Nick,

There is no risk of damaging the stepper motor from turning it by hand. You do run some risk of damaging your electronics with the voltage generated from the motor. You should disconnect it before moving it by hand just to be safe.

Most of the time, notably with hardware designed to be used with motors, it’s fine. Somewhere in the circui there will be a flyback diode that shunts reverse voltage to ground (that’s the stuff that kills microcontrollers pretty quick). This just leaves “positive” voltage flowing through the circuit when motors are manually operated, which can lightly power things as you have observed.

If you’d like to bake in some electrical safety, then you could install a flyback diode yourself.