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Measurements Using Quadrature Encoders

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    Last Modified: February 26, 2018

    The counters can perform measurements of quadrature encoders that use X1, X2, or X4 encoding. A quadrature encoder can have up to three channels—channels A, B, and Z.
    • X1 Encoding—When channel A leads channel B in a quadrature cycle, the counter increments. When channel B leads channel A in a quadrature cycle, the counter decrements. The amount of increments and decrements per cycle depends on the type of encoding—X1, X2, or X4.

      The following figure shows a quadrature cycle and the resulting increments and decrements for X1 encoding. When channel A leads channel B, the increment occurs on the rising edge of channel A. When channel B leads channel A, the decrement occurs on the falling edge of channel A.

      Figure 1. X1 Encoding
    • X2 Encoding—The same behavior holds for X2 encoding except the counter increments or decrements on each edge of channel A, depending on which channel leads the other. Each cycle results in two increments or decrements, as shown in the following figure.

      Figure 2. X2 Encoding
    • X4 Encoding—Similarly, the counter increments or decrements on each edge of channels A and B for X4 encoding. Whether the counter increments or decrements depends on which channel leads the other. Each cycle results in four increments or decrements, as shown in the following figure.

      Figure 3. X4 Encoding

    Channel Z Behavior

    Some quadrature encoders have a third channel, channel Z, which is also referred to as the index channel. A high level on channel Z causes the counter to be reloaded with a specified value in a specified phase of the quadrature cycle. You can program this reload to occur in any one of the four phases in a quadrature cycle.

    Channel Z behavior—when it goes high and how long it stays high—differs with quadrature encoder designs. You must refer to the documentation for your quadrature encoder to obtain timing of channel Z with respect to channels A and B. You must then ensure that channel Z is high during at least a portion of the phase you specify for reload. For instance, in the image below, channel Z is never high when channel A is high and channel B is low. Thus, the reload must occur in some other phase.

    In the following figure, the reload phase is when both channel A and channel B are low. The reload occurs when this phase is true and channel Z is high. Incrementing and decrementing takes priority over reloading. Thus, when the channel B goes low to enter the reload phase, the increment occurs first. The reload occurs within one maximum timebase period after the reload phase becomes true. After the reload occurs, the counter continues to count as before. The figure below illustrates channel Z reload with X4 decoding.

    Figure 4. Channel Z Reload with X4 Decoding

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