An encoder is a device, circuit, transducer, software program, algorithm or person that converts information from one format or code to another, for the purposes of standardization, speed, secrecy, security or compressions.
Absolute encoders are position feedback devices that report absolute positional information. An absolute encoder generates a unique code for each position. Absolute encoders do not lose position when power is removed. Since each position is unique, true position verification is available as soon as power is up. It is not necessary to initialize the system by returning to home base.
Incremental encoders work by providing a certain amount of pulses in the encoder's rotation to give distance and speed feedback for motor applications.
The incremental encoder provides specific pulses for the encoder rotation, and these pulses may be in one or two lines of pulses. These lines are typically designated as "A" and "B" channels, and the offset phasing of the channels, which is also known as the quadrature, helps determine rotation. The signals are created by a sensory array inside a printed circuit board, and the rest of the incremental encoder includes a spindle assembly and cover.
Incremental encoders are useful for light-duty, heavy-duty and industrial applications.