How to Replace an Incremental Rotary Encoder Sensor

What You'll Need
Replacement Encoder
Replacement Kit

A rotary encoder is used to determine velocity, track motion and determine position. For volume control, a rotary encoder is used by home and car stereos. There are 2 outputs in an incremental rotary encoder that can be optical or mechanical. The optical output has 2 tracks which are gray coded and the mechanical output has 2 contacts which are activated by cams on a rotating shaft. Most car stereos and home stereos use mechanical type for their volume.

Some of these encoders have a battery backed up memory to help store information for an even more accurate count. An incremental encoder is extremely accurate and has up to ten thousand counts per revolution. It is used the most because it is inexpensive and only requires two sensors. Replacing the incremental rotary encoder sensor is a simple task, but you have to make sure the equipment is aligned appropriately. You can damage the sensor system if the installation is not done accurately. To replace an incremental rotary encoder, you will need the items listed below.

Step 1 – Get Replacement Encoder Sensor and Kit If Needed

The replacement encoder will need to be one that is compatible with your system. There are after market encoders that you can purchase or repair centers where you can send yours in to get repaired (if it is able to be fixed). To get the current one fixed will mean no rewiring when it is time for you to replace it.

Step 2 – Using a Replacement Kit

A replacement kit may or may not be necessary. If you need to use a replacement kit, you can request one when you order the new sensor. The only time you will need a new kit when you replace the incremental rotary encoder system is if your existing connector cables are damaged.

Step 3 – Taking Off the Old Encoder Sensor

Remove the existing incremental rotary encoder sensor and disconnect the cables that connect it to the controller panel.

Step 4 – Replacing the Old Encoder Sensor

Use the old connector (or the replacement kit) and connect the new encoder sensor to the control panel.

Step 5 – Test the New Encoder Sensor

A test run can be done to see if the sensor is performing correctly. If it is not operating, a wiring adjustment may have to be made. If the replacement installation did not turn out right, you may need to consult with a more qualified technician. In the "on" position, the sensors should be able to count the number of signals and respond to the motion through the transmitter/receiver. The tachometer will show the results of the incremental rotary encoder sensor. Each pulse that is generated through this sensor is counted and stored in a counter. If you are not able to see these results as your stereo is in the "on" position, you will need to consult with a professional.