Rotary Angle Encoders Go Programmable

Off-the-shelf absolute encoders or sensors provide straight-binary or grayscale-binary values, but if you need a special coding, it takes time to create and adds to an encoder's cost.

To address the demand for custom encoders, Novotechnik US offers programmable rotary encoders, a programmer, and software that lets engineers create custom output. The programming capability lets engineers create an encoder profile quickly to test in equipment before they commit to a custom design; they can also create one-off encoders for special projects.

To get engineers and product designs off to a quick start, the Novotechnik Generator software offers six default profiles that include standard linear outputs, linear outputs with an intermediate plateau, and linear outputs that look like trapezoids. By moving inflection points on these profiles in a graphical user interface (GUI), engineers customize the encoding for an application. If a nonstandard profile is needed, Novotechnik can take the specifications and program them into one of the Vert-X-MH-C2 encoders. Contelec manufactures the programmable encoders. (Contelec and Novotechnik are divisions of the Siedle Group.)

The encoders also provide two switches that can turn on or off at programmable points during shaft rotation. Users can program either a step (logic transition) or a pulse for each switch to indicate a specific position, end limits, a valid angular operating window, and so on. The GUI displays a graph of the encoding and switch function, making it easy to change them as needed. The Generator software runs under Windows 7, XP, or Vista.

When you have an encoder profile and switch settings ready to go, the Producer portion of the GUI downloads settings to an EasyAdapt module that programs an encoder. This part of the software also lets others program Vert-X-MH-C2 encoders with your profile, though they cannot modify it. Encoder output formats include 0.1-10V, 0.5-4.5V, 4-20mA, and 10-90 percent of supply voltage. The encoders offer 12- to 14-bit resolutions.

Novotechnik US offers an evaluation kit that provides a Vert-X 28 MH-C2 encoder, an EasyAdapt programmer, and software. You could purchase this package, but the company will make the kit available for a short time so engineers can evaluate it and test programmable encoders in a design or prototype. Call the company for more kit information at 1-508-485-2244 or toll-free at 1-800-667-7492. Click here to watch a short (soundless) video. You can review the software's operation manual here.

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