From the datasheet
Until now, the choice of an absolute encoder meant an expensive, and larger sized product. Through the use of combinatorial mathematics, the absolute code pattern of the Bourns® Absolute Contacting Encoder (ACE™) is placed on a single track for a very economical, energy efficient and compact product. Bourns® ACE™ provides an absolute digital output that will also retain its last position in the event of a power failure. An intelligent alternative to incremental encoders and potentiometers, the Bourns® ACE™ is ideally suited for many industrial, automotive, medical and consumer product applications.
In layman's terms, it's a digital control knob that has 8 data pins which will give you 128 unique results around a full circle. It is designed as a control panel knob, but can be adopted for other uses. It is, as far as I know, the smallest and cheapest gray code absolute encoder available today. The product listed here combines the sensor with a I2C backpack and library so multiple of these little wonders can be included in your next Arduino project.
The backpack includes:
The library includes- - the ability to save the logical zero position in EEPROM - read the values out as 0 -> 127, -64 -> 63 or -32768 -> +32767 (multiturn - 512 turns)
Thw following options are available:
I used these to build a head-following mechanism for my Dalek dome and eye, using hand-made pcbs.
Two were used to convert wiper motors into high powered servos
A third was used to detect the operator's head rotation in a motion control headset
To support the ACE128 I wrote an arduino library to handle the I2C communications and gray code translation. The device itself generates gray code which has to be converted to normal numbers before use, and that takes some binary math - especially if you connect the pins in a different order from the datasheet.
My hobby is progressing to manufactured PCBs and SMD soldering, so I pulled this design out and made some up.
The ACE-128 is the smallest and cheapest absolute encoder available today. It uses some really ingenious mathematics in its design. This library and package are a unique solution for easily including digital knobs into Arduino projects.
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I've been building and fixing things all my life and in my day job I build datacenter installations and watch over thousands of Linux servers. For fun I make things like old British motorcycles, Daleks and random electronics. I've invented some things along the way that I needed and weren't available (or I was too cheap to buy), and I'll be sharing some of these items in my Tindie store.