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This research aims to test the limits of control effectiveness for an active magnetic bearing (AMB) system subjected to external acceleration disturbances. An adaptive output backstepping controller is designed to compute nonlinear control currents of the magnetic bearing by accepting that the rotor and AMB parameters are unknown. The control currents of the electromagnets of the active magnetic bearing is switched according to the rotor position. The adaptive backstepping controller is experimentally verified in an AMB test system with vibrating base and the results are compared with proportional integrative derivative (PID) control results for the maximum amplitude of applicable disturbance.