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LDM-AE Direct Drive Linear Stage User's Manual

File:LDM-AE w400.jpg
LDM-AE Direct Drive Linear Stage


Zaber’s products are not intended for use in any critical medical, aviation, or military applications or situations where a product's use or failure could cause personal injury, death, or damage to property. Zaber disclaims any and all liability for injury or other damages resulting from the use of our products.


Zaber's autodetect peripheral axes are designed to be used effortlessly with Zaber's line of autodetect controllers. The LDM-AE includes onboard memory that allows Zaber's controllers to autodetect the model and set reasonable parameters. See the Protocol Manual for more information on how to modify the settings. Damage to the axis may result if the settings are not correct. To use your Zaber peripheral with a third-party controller, review the motor, sensor, and encoder specifications and pin-outs carefully. Contamination could impact the performance of the LDM-AE stage. Avoid introduction of ferro-magnetic particles to the stage, and contact with, or contamination of, the encoder scale.

Warning exclamation.png Mounting and Maintenance Hazard! For operator safety, the LDM-AE should always be un-powered during all cleaning, maintenance, and stage or load mounting operations. A powered stage could exert high forces and move at high speeds very suddenly if accidentally given a move command.

Shipping Safety

Important Precautions for Use

Warning exclamation.pngStrong magnet.jpg Strong Magnets! The LDM-AE stages contain strong magnets that could affect pacemaker function. Pacemaker users should stay at least 20 cm away from the stages. The magnets can also attract nearby magnetic objects.

Warning exclamation.png Secure Stage Mounting Required! The LDM-AE stages can shake and vibrate during operation due to high inertia. The stages must always be securely mounted to a work surface during operation. See #Physical_Installation for information on stage mounting.

Warning exclamation.png Back-driving Hazard! Linear motor stages require current to the motor coils to provide a force to maintain position and/or support a load. If power is removed the carriage may move suddenly or in an uncontrolled manner. The LDM-AE stage is not intended for load lifting operations due to the risk of uncontrolled motion if driver power is removed.

Warning exclamation.png Collision Hazard! Provide a safe distance around the stage and its load to allow for unobstructed full travel movements between travel end-stop bumpers. Ensure that a positional overshoot or unexpected motion couldn't result in a collision hazard.

Tip lightbulb symbol.png Important: The LDM-AE stage should be homed immediately upon power-up. Behavior may appear jerky during homing. Once the stage has been homed, motion will be controlled and smooth.

Tip lightbulb symbol.png Important: The LDM-AE is a servo device, meaning that its performance is dependent on proper tuning of the servo parameters for the given load. The use of incorrect servo parameters may reduce the device’s performance in operation. Incorrect tuning may also result in unstable operation, which can cause unexpected rapid motion of the device, leading to reduced device lifetime and user injury. When the operating load on the device is changed, the tuning parameters should be updated to match. For details see the servo tuning guidelines.

Lubrication and Cleaning

LDM-AE devices use cross roller bearing linear guides to support and guide the stage top of the device. These linear guides require lubrication in order to achieve the longest possible lifetime at the highest possible performance. For operation in clean environments, it is recommended to lubricate the linear guides annually or every 500km, whichever comes first. For applications in dirty environments or applications with extremely high duty cycles, more frequent inspection and lubrication is recommended. For longest lubrication intervals, we recommend lubricating guides with Kluberplex BEM 34-132 grease. All guides come pre-lubricated and are ready to go out of the box.

If LDM-AE devices are used in applications where only a small portion of the travel range is used, it is recommended to occasionally drive the stage throughout its full travel range to maintain an even lubrication film over the entire guide surface.

Noise Emissions

The A-weighted emission sound pressure level (SPL) of this device does not exceed 70 dB(A) during intended use.

Conventions used throughout this document

  • Fixed width type indicates communication to and from a device. The symbol indicates a carriage return, which can be achieved by pressing enter when using a terminal program.

Device Overview


Your LDM-AE peripheral is equipped with AutoDetect, a feature that allows a Zaber controller to automatically configure its settings for the peripheral when it is connected.

Tip lightbulb symbol.png Important: The controller should always be powered down before disconnecting or connecting your LDM-AE peripheral.

To connect the peripheral to a controller:

  1. Power off the controller.
  2. Connect the LDM-AE peripheral.
  3. Power on the controller.
  4. The controller will activate the peripheral shortly after it is powered on.


Recommended controller(s) for your LDM-AE peripheral are provided in the product specifications. Zaber's controllers and peripherals are designed for ease of use when used together. Optimal settings for each peripheral are automatically detected by Zaber's controllers when the device is connected.

For reference, the pinout for the peripheral cable connectors is shown below:

Motor and Sensor Interface


Male High Density D-sub26 Connector
Motor and Sensor Interface

Pin Description Pin Description
1 AutoDetect Clock 14 Motor Hall C
2 AutoDetect Data 15 +5V
3 N.C. 16 Ground
4 N.C. 17 N.C.
5 N.C. 18 Motor W
6 Motor Over-Temperature 19 Differential Encoder A-
7 Ground 20 Differential Encoder B-
8 Motor V 21 Differential Encoder Index-
9 Motor U 22 Motor Hall A
10 Differential Encoder A+ 23 Motor Hall B
11 Differential Encoder B+ 24 N.C.
12 Differential Encoder Index+ 25 N.C.
13 Differential Encoder Error 26 N.C.

NOTE: All hall sensor signals (for limits or motor phase) are open collector and require a pull-up on the controller.
NOTE: All single-ended encoder inputs are non-isolated 5V TTL lines.
NOTE: All differential encoder signals are non-isolated, and must be terminated on the controller with 120 Ω. For -AE peripherals, these signals are sinusoidal with 1 V peak-to-peak differential levels and with the common mode between 1.5 V and 2.5 V.

Alternate Controllers

The LDM-AE can be controlled by other linear motor controllers with appropriate encoder input. We do not recommend using your own controller unless you are familiar with wiring and tuning third-party linear motor products. Damage to the stage due to incorrect wiring is not covered by warranty.

Motors & Encoders

For motor and encoder information see the LDM-AE product page


The LDM-AE can be operated by connecting to the controller/s recommended in the product specifications. Please review the controller's user manual as well.

Physical Installation

Tip lightbulb symbol.png Tip: To obtain the best pitch, roll, yaw and runout performance, mount the stage to a known flat, stiff surface. Our tests were performed on a granite surface plate, grade A flatness.

Warning exclamation.png Stability Hazard! Ensure the stage is fastened to a secure surface before mounting a load on the carriage. Ensure loads are mounted securely to the carriage of the stage before operating.

Warning exclamation.png Mounting and Maintenance Hazard! For operator safety, the LDM-AE should always be un-powered during all cleaning, maintenance, and stage or load mounting operations. A powered stage could exert high forces and move at high speeds very suddenly if accidentally given a move command.

LDM-AE stages are designed to be secured using 4 metric or imperial socket cap screws. The following screw sizes should be used:

  • Metric: M6 screws, 25mm or longer
  • Imperial: 1/4 screws, 1" or longer

XY Assemblies

Warning exclamation.png Pinch Hazard! LDM-AE stages can create pinch hazards between the upper-axis and lower-axis stages when mounted in an XY configuration. Make sure to keep hands clear when powering up the stages.

LDM-AE stages can be mounted directly in XY configurations. LDM-AE stages feature precision machined reference features to allow for optimal orthogonality between two stages in an XY configuration.

Servo Tuning

This peripheral is a closed-loop positioning servo system. When not in force mode, it continuously monitors and corrects its position via the linear encoder. As with any servo system, the behaviour is dependent on the controller tuning. The LDM-AE, when paired with a compatible Zaber controller, such as an X-MCC series Universal Motor Controller, will be appropriately tuned out of the box with settings that are optimized for regular use under a light load. However, as with any closed-loop feedback system, the device performance is load-dependent, and conditions significantly outside of the intended operating range have the potential for reduced performance or instability. Thus, if operation with large or unconventional dynamic loads is desired, or if the application demands specific performance characteristics, it may be necessary to tune the servo parameters. This may be conveniently done by using Zaber Console’s servo tuning plugin, or via the ASCII protocol servo interface.

Tip lightbulb symbol.png Tip: Because servo devices continuously monitor and correct position, it is necessary to specify how accurate and stable the final position must be at the end of the movement. Criteria required for the controller to report IDLE status after movement are specified using the cloop.settle.tolerance and cloop.settle.period settings. For applications requiring utmost precision, you may want to specify a smaller tolerance and longer period. Note that there is a direct, inverse relationship between settling time and cloop.settle.tolerance, and the controller may never report IDLE status if the tolerance is too small.

Servo Tuning with Zaber Console

Zaber Console provides several convenient ways to tune your servo device. In Zaber Console, open the Servo Tuning tab and select your LDM-AE from the device list. For most users, the recommended way is to use the Simple tuning method. As the dynamics of most loads are dominated by their inertia (the moving mass), simply enter the total moving mass supported by the device, and the moving mass of the LDM-AE carriage. Click “Write to Device” and Zaber Console will apply the optimized servo parameters to your device. Servo tuning always represents an optimization that balances different performance tradeoffs. For example, an overly aggressive (high gain, high bandwidth) servo tuning will have very fast reaction to compensate for disturbances, good trajectory following, and a high stiffness. However, it will also overreact to sensor noise, which may result in a “hissing” sound generated by the motor. In contrast, a gentler servo tuning will do a good job of filtering out noise and thus offer smooth performance, but at the cost of a reduced ability to compensate for disturbance forces and weaker trajectory following. The optimal choice of tuning parameters will therefore vary depending on the application: An imaging application will have minimal disturbance forces and benefit from smoother tuning, while a machining application may benefit from the parameters adjusted to a higher stiffness. The Simple tuning method provides a slider that allows you to adjust the servo aggressiveness to suit your application. If you are just getting started or aren’t sure what values would work best for you, setting the slider to the middle provides a well-rounded starting point. For more advanced users, Zaber Console provides additional methods of servo tuning, which are discussed in the Servo Tuning section of the Zaber Console manual.

Warranty and Repair

For Zaber's policies on warranty and repair, please refer to the Ordering Policies.

Standard products

Standard products are any part numbers that do not contain the suffix ENG followed by a 4 digit number. Most, but not all, standard products are listed for sale on our website. All standard Zaber products are backed by a one-month satisfaction guarantee. If you are not satisfied with your purchase, we will refund your payment minus any shipping charges. Goods must be in brand new saleable condition with no marks. Zaber products are guaranteed for one year. During this period Zaber will repair any products with faults due to manufacturing defects, free of charge.

Custom products

Custom products are any part numbers containing the suffix ENG followed by a 4 digit number. Each of these products has been designed for a custom application for a particular customer. Custom products are guaranteed for one year, unless explicitly stated otherwise. During this period Zaber will repair any products with faults due to manufacturing defects, free of charge.

How to return products

Customers with devices in need of return or repair should contact Zaber to obtain an RMA form which must be filled out and sent back to us to receive an RMA number. The RMA form contains instructions for packing and returning the device. The specified RMA number must be included on the shipment to ensure timely processing.

Email Updates

If you would like to receive our periodic email newsletter including product updates and promotions, please sign up online at (news section). Newsletters typically include a promotional offer worth at least $100.

Contact Information

Contact Zaber Technologies Inc by any of the following methods:

Phone 1-604-569-3780 (direct)
1-888-276-8033 (toll free in North America)
Fax 1-604-648-8033
Mail #2 - 605 West Kent Ave. N., Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, V6P 6T7
Email Please visit our website for up to date email contact information.

The original instructions for this product are available at

Appendix A: Default Settings

Please see the Zaber Support Page for default settings for this device.