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if the circumference of the wheel means that each step takes 2 cm movements then it will appear as a sudden start/stop sequence meaning that skidding could be a problem.
I've never seen "dB" quoted for an motor or gearhead (and not because I wasn't looking!).
If I need to quote an number I'd say 30-35 dB at 1m (guesstimating numbers based on http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sound_pressure_level#Examples_of_sound_pressure_and_sound_pressure_levels)
The only "silent" motor that mighty google finds is not for sale (I've googled for "silent gearhead motor"). Googling for "silent gearhead motor -maxon" as to avoid pages related to the phantom gearhead motor from Maxon only finds junk.
I guess I need to rephrase my question: I want an relatively silent motor. I don't want to hear the motor if it's running two meters away from me. Have any of you ever played with such an motor, or is that alot to ask?
So stepper motors are acceptable solutions for "drive motors"? Aren't the wheels going to skid because of the stop/start/stop/start way of moving? If this is not an issue then an 1.8 degree stepper seems really nice - if skid is not a big problem it doesn't need an encoder!
If you use stepper motors, you wont need a gear set therefore removing most of the noise, and provided youre not moving superfast it should just give off a soft hum not audible 2 metres away.