Pepperl+Fuchs Blog

Not Sure Which Rotary Encoder to Use?

Posted by Valeria Morales on Fri, Oct 09, 2015

Magnetic encoders vs. optical encoders

What kind of technology does a rotary encoder use?  Your options include magnetoresistance, Hall-effect, Nonius, inductive, or optical for single-turn technology.

Magnetic rotary encoders vs. optical encoders

The optical encoder uses a light source and photo detector array.  The light is blocked by the dark marks on the code disk, while light passes through the clear spots.  

Magnetic encoder technology is a fully compatible alternative, and a reliable high-quality solution for all standard applications. While high-performance applications may still require an optical solution because of the accuracy requirements, magnetic encoders are a very good choice for most applications. 

So, which is better or more effective? What are the advantages of each kind?

Magnetic encoders

  • A great choice for applications that require accuracy and durability
  • Noncontact sensing technology for high reliability
  • Very high precision from 1˚ to 0.1˚
  • Robust design for applications in harsh environments
  • Long service life and reduced service times
  • Compact design

Magnetic rotary encoders

Optical encoders

  • Ideal for applications with stringent requirements for accuracy and dynamic machine operations
  • Highest accuracies up to 0.01˚
Optical rotary encoders

There you have it. High precision magnetic encoders have 1° to 0.1° of accuracy.  Optical encoders have an accuracy of <0.01°. They’re both great products, so it all depends on what you are planning to use them for.


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Topics: Rotary Encoders

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