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Netzer DS-16 Released as Smallest Absolute Encoder Ever


Netzer Precision Motion Sensors has extended its DS family of absolute rotary encoders to now include the DS-16, a through-hollow absolute encoder with a diameter of only 16mm. Building upon a decade of success for the DS-25, the DS-16 is a novel solution for robotics, defense and medical devices, whose engineers who were previously limited to potentiometers and incremental encoders when such a small sensor was required.

In addition to being compact, the DS-16 offers unrivaled performance. With 16 bits resolution, accuracy of 0.035⁰ and a mass of less than 4 grams, potentiometers, Hall-Effect sensors and incremental encoders can’t come close. Furthermore, the digital output can be had as an SSI or BiSS-C output and the numerous wiring/connector options exist, offering fast and seamless integration.

Like other members of the DS series, the DS-16’s fundamental capacitive sensing technology provides many advantages. Essentially immune to EMI, it can be located adjacent to drives and other components. Its ‘holistic’ rotor provides tolerance to misalignment and gives a position output based on the overall field, not just one individual line as in the case of an optical encoder. The lightweight, non-contact rotor is extremely tolerant to high levels of shock and vibration.

All Netzer encoders can be quickly installed and calibrated using Netzer’s Electric Encoder Explorer software. Available for free on the Netzer website (, the easy to use Graphical User Interface provides confirmation of proper gapping and alignment. Additional features such as zero-set and inverse counting direction can be controlled as well.

Currently found in land, air and marine applications, DS series encoders can also be found in space. With sensors modified for use in Lower Earth Orbit and Geostationary Earth Orbit, Netzer offers a wide variety of options including low gas emitting PCBs, radiation protection and thermal and vacuum testing.

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