Month: January 2019

Encoder Measuring Wheels

Throughout my career, people have asked which type of measuring wheel is the best for use with a rotary encoder. The short answer is, whichever one gives you the best result on your specific application. Obviously, the real answer is a bit more complicated.

There are four main types of encoder wheel:

  • Rubber or Rubber-coated
  • Magnetic
  • Phenolic
  • Knurled Steel or Aluminum
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Quadrature

Quadrature allows a length control system to count four counts for one pulse from a bi-directional (two-channel) encoder.

A two-channel encoder is capable of reporting direction as well as movement.  Typically, there is an A channel and a B channel.  As the shaft of the encoder turns, pulses from both channels are being sent to the length control system.  The two channels are always offset by 90 degrees, so one channel will always lead the other channel depending on direction.

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