Stepper motors are DC motors characterised by their use of multiple electromagnetic coils to rotate a shaft in precisely defined increments. The use of sequences of multiple coils (called phases) allows for very precise control over rotational speed and positioning of rotary mechanisms.
A Bipolar Stepper Motor utilises a single electromagnetic coil per phase. The use of a single, larger coil allows for a larger magnetic force to be exerted, and for greater torque to be achieved during operation.
A Unipolar Stepper Motor uses the same single coil as a Bipolar Stepper Motor, but features a center tap which splits the coil in two, allowing for more precise rotational control, but limiting the magnetic force which can be employed in each phase. A Unipolar Motor can be converted to a Bipolar Motor, but a Bipolar Motor generally cannot be converted to Bipolar.
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