Dec 14, 2010

Difference Between Absolute and Incremental Encoder

Many New Automation Engineer 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 a Encoder, What are types of Encoder , what does Encoder do, How to Program a Absolute Encoder or incremental Encoder in PLC. Now lets start from knowing what is a Encoder. Subscribe to Automation-Talk by Email.

Omron Encoder
What is Encoder ?
In simple form Encoder is a device which convert motion into sequence of digital pulses. Encoder has mainly two configuration i.e. Linear and Rotary. Now Rotary encoder can also be divided into Absolute and Incremental (relative) Encoder's.

Absolute Encoder are encoder where a digital word resemble 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 shaft.

What is the Difference Between Absolute and Incremental Encoder
Every people has it's own view on Encoder's. So here are some Differences between Absolute Encoder and Incremental Encoder from 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 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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