Resolving a Synchro Shaft Angle Using Modern Hardware

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2023-01-24 14:30:10

This project uses modern data acquisition hardware to track the shaft angle of a synchro transmitter as the shaft is turned through various angles. How difficult could it be to get the absolute angle of a position sensor from the 1980’s that was originally developed during the WWII era into a modern computer? Turns out, it’s more difficult than it seems, and for most hobbyist applications, more difficult than it’s worth. Read on to find out more.

A variety of rotation / angle sensing devices. From left to right: a mechanical encoder, a potentiometer, an optical encoder, a synchro transmitter, a differential resolver, and an optical encoder mounted to the rear of a stepper motor.

The synchro, like a potentiometer or encoder, is a device for converting a mechanical rotational position into an electrical signal representing that position or a change in that position.

Potentiometers are inexpensive and easy to interface to micros with ADCs. Encoders range from inexpensive, crude mechanical incremental encoders to expensive, precision optical absolute encoders. Encoders have digital outputs and are easy to interface to micros too.

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