Apr 3, 2018

Difference Between Absolute and Incremental Encoder

Many new Automation Engineers are in confusion that what is the difference between Absolute and Incremental Encoder while they work on Encoder. And every Automation Engineer has its own View in defining absolute encoder and incremental encoder. First of all, we should know what is an Encoder, What are types of Encoder, what does Encoder do, How to program an absolute encoder or incremental rncoder in a PLC. Now lets, start with knowing what is an Encoder. Subscribe to Automation-Talk by Email.


Omron Encoder


In simple form, Encoder is a device which converts motion into a sequence of digital pulses. The encoder has mainly two configurations i.e. Linear and Rotary. Now Rotary encoder can also be divided into Absolute and Incremental (relative) Encoders.

Absolute Encoder are encoder where a digital word resembles to each rotational position of Shaft.

Incremental Encoder are encoder which produces digital pulses as the shaft rotates, and allow the measurement of relative position of the shaft.


Recommended Article: PLC Programming For Counting Encoder Pulses


What is the Difference Between Absolute and Incremental Encoder


Every people has its own view on Encoders. So here are some differences between Absolute Encoder and Incremental Encoder from the different view of people. Some Engineers simply distinguish Absolute encoder as Parallel and Incremental Encoder as a series Encoder.

Absolute Encoder is a holding encoder i.e. it knows its position even after power failure whereas Incremental encoder cannot retain its position after the power failure and we always need a home position for Incremental Encoder.

Incremental Encoder gives a pulse train indicating units of movement and direction whereas An absolute gives a binary bit signal scaled in bits of resolution for one encoder shaft turn.

Also, Incremental encoder tells how fast it is reaching the position whereas Absolute tell the position where it is.

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