Using a stepper motor to control the sail?

Hi there everyone.

My name is Huldar, I’m super new to this (have never built something like this before) but I want to make a sailboat and I was thinking of using a stepper motor mounted with a gear to the mast to be sure that the motor could supply the needed torque for when the boat experiences strong winds. Now I just realised that ardupilot does not support stepper motors, only servos. Could somebody help me out with figuring out how to tackle this problem?

These are my ideas so far:

  • Use a servo instead of a stepper motor (not sure about this as they are generally not as strong right?)
  • Program support for stepper motors (I know how to program but I have no experience with ardurover and don’t know where I would start, I feel like I would need to have the hardware before I could start working on the software. I did find this issue though: Tracker: Stepper support · Issue #13767 · ArduPilot/ardupilot (
  • Use the winch method used in the videos in the docs ( Modes — Rover documentation ( but I have no clue about how I would waterproof the main sheet and I’m not a huge fan of this method.

Any feedback or ideas is appreciated.

 - Huldar

Hi. we have used special stepper motor controllers to use a stepper motor and a belt drive with 1:4 reduction for our rudder (we use a nema 23 motor). Pololu makes/sells them
you have to use them in the “RC” configuration.

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