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Mechanical rotary encoders, also called shaft encoders, are electro-mechanical devices that convert the angular motions (movement around fixed points) of rotary shafts into either analogue or digital signals.
What are mechanical rotary encoders used for?
Applications that require precision shaft rotation (movement around a specific point) make use of mechanical rotary encoders.
These include industrial control machinery in factories, rotating radar platforms in satellite structures or computer input devices like trackballs and mice.
Types of mechanical rotary encoders
have tracking functions to determine specific shaft positioning points in industrial equipment like CNC machines, lathes and bore machines.
maintain positioning data even when power is cut from the system. When the system is switched on again it begins operating from the point where it stopped previously.
Incremental (relative) encoders:
record deviations in shaft position points over certain time frames. With each new time frame after power is cut and switched on again the encoder starts recording from a predetermined reference and measures the distance between the previous point and the current point.
An optical rotary encoder is an angular position sensor. It converts an angular displacement directly into a digital form. There are usually three components in an optical rotary encoder: a light source (an LED), a sensor and a moveable disk.How an optical rotary encoder worksOptical rotary encoders have a shaft mechanically coupled to an input driver. This driver rotates a disc fixed onto it which is marked with a succession of opaque and clear segments.Light from infrared emitting diodes reaches the infrared receivers through the transparent slits of the rotating disc, creating an analogue signal....
The signal is then amplified electronically and converted into digital form. This is then transmitted to the data processor. Uses for optical rotary encodersOptical rotary encoders make precise digital signals. This makes them a good option where image resolution matters, and explains their use in applications as varied as office equipment (in computer mice and photo copiers) and medical devices.