Mechanical Rotary Encoders

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

Absolute 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.

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Description Price Pulses Per Revolution Shaft Style Shaft Diameter Encoder Reading Encoder Signal Mounting Type Shaft Length Index Output Maximum Operating Speed Mounting Hole Diameter Current Rating
RS Stock No. 185-4446
Mfr. Part No.482020514001
HK$32.83
Each (In a Pack of 2)
units
20 - 6 mm Incremental - Through Hole 20mm - - - 10mA
RS Stock No. 185-4391
Mfr. Part No.482016514001
HK$32.83
Each (In a Pack of 2)
units
15 - 6 mm Incremental - Through Hole 20mm - - - 10mA
RS Stock No. 185-4075
Mfr. Part No.482009514001
HK$22.652
Each (In a Tray of 1000)
units
8 - 6 mm Incremental - Through Hole 20mm - - - 10mA
RS Stock No. 185-4337
Mfr. Part No.482009514001
HK$31.26
Each (In a Pack of 2)
units
8 - 6 mm Incremental - Through Hole 20mm - - - 10mA