Stepper motors are used in a wide variety of applications, including consumer office equipment, automotive designs, and industrial equipment. They are often controlled using special function integrated circuits (ICs) that provide limited control functionality and system performance. Other stepper motor systems are PC card-based and use a host PC to provide high performance control.

In embedded systems, it is preferable to use a small microcontroller to directly control the stepper motor. This reference design demonstrates a stepper motor system using the compact C8051F300 microcontroller, used in conjunction with a RS232 port operating at 57600 bps to demonstrate the feasibility of using serial control.