Tech Briefs Magazine - August 2021 - 15

conductor
pairs in the cable
B, with a
90° phase difference,
enabling the controller
to determine the direction
of rotation. Some also output a Z signal
once every rotation at a defined
rotation angle. This provides a precise
reference point.
The connection between an incremental
encoder and its controller must
be point-to-point, with a dedicated cable
connecting each encoder to its controller.
Communications is usually based
on a differential signal transmitted over
twisted pair wiring, with the number of
Tech Briefs, August 2021
Cov
depending on the num -
ber of signals (A, B, and Z).
The output drivers in the encoders
must be compatible with the interface
on the controller - Push-Pull (HTL) or
RS-422 (TTL) output drivers are commonly
used. These standards specify signal
voltage.
Absolute Position Sensors
The remainder of this article will focus
on absolute position sensors such as
encoders and inclinometers. These de -
vices report a measured position at a specific
instant in time, either as a volt -
age/current level (analog encoders) or by
transmitting a digital word or " telegram "
(digital encoders). These devices are ideal
for position control applications.
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ToC
Analog sensors have a long history,
with earlier control systems using potentiometers
(variable resistors). More
recently, digital sensors with built-in
D/A converters have been introduced.
These are available with either voltage
(e.g., 0-5 V) or current (e.g., 0-20 mA)
outputs. They feature programmable
D/A converters so that a predetermined
range of mechanical motion (anything
from a fraction of a turn to multiple revolutions)
can be set to span the full system's
electrical output range (e.g., 0-5 V,
0-20 mA). This improves accuracy and
resolution over the most significant
range of motion. Analog sensors require
point-to-point connections, often with
relatively large-gauge wire to limit electrical
resistance.
Absolute encoders with bit parallel
interfaces report measurements as a digital
word, with a separate conductor for
15
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Tech Briefs Magazine - August 2021

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Tech Briefs Magazine - August 2021

Tech Briefs Magazine - August 2021 - Intro
Tech Briefs Magazine - August 2021 - Sponsor
Tech Briefs Magazine - August 2021 - Cov1
Tech Briefs Magazine - August 2021 - Cov2
Tech Briefs Magazine - August 2021 - 1
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Tech Briefs Magazine - August 2021 - Cov3
Tech Briefs Magazine - August 2021 - Cov4
Tech Briefs Magazine - August 2021 - MD-Cov1
Tech Briefs Magazine - August 2021 - MD-Cov2
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