I just got my production boards for my Pololu compatible relay driver. This is a little plug in module that can be used to drive off board relays. It uses the signals that are normally used for step and direction to control two relays with the voltage that is normally used to power motors.
Pololu stepper drivers are great little items. They are inexpensive and very easy to use. You only need a step and direction signal to control them. If you use them in sockets, as I show here, they are portable between projects and experiments. If you accidentally smoke one, you only need to replace the single driver.
There are a lot of carrier boards for these. There are Arduino shields and many other applications. Often, it would be nice to be able to drive a larger external load like a spindle or blower. You can then use the existing step and direction signals to drive the relays. It uses the voltage normally used to drive the motors for the coil voltage. The only wiring required is two wires to the relay.
I chose to put the relays off board because the real estate was pretty limited and I wanted to provide the voltage isolation for AC powered devices. I am also a big fan of DIN rail mounted relays. They are very reliable and inexpensive. They are easy to swap around and have some nice features. The relays shown have a LED indicator and also a manually test button that moves the contacts. The relays shown are about $10 each, including the DIN rail sockets.
I got the boards from Gold Phoenix in 2 sheets of 50. They were not cut out, only V scored. Fortunately I have access to a depanelizer at work and was able to easily separate them. I probably could have snapped them apart too. The depanelizer looks similar to this one. Two slowly spinning sharp disks chop them apart.
The boards have all the components required to drive the relay including a supression diode. I am using a pretty hefty transistor here, but you could substitute a smaller one.