View Full Version : Rotary Encoder quest

07-20-2007, 11:16 AM
Hi all

I am on a quest to find a reliable, but affordable, rotary encoder card and the actual rotary encoders themselves for the Lear 45.

I need at least 8 rotary encoders, and out of those eight:

1 needs to be a center-push
2 needs to be dual concentric if at all possible for RMU mgt.
5 can be either center-push OR just rotary.

I have considered the GoFlight RMKs, Flight Deck Technology, Phidgets and the HCB parts, but Im still not sure which is best.

However, I am thinking that the Go Flight Remote Mount Kit for the 166 is the best solution for a Dual Concentric since I only need two and they are $65.00 for the card and $30.00 ea. for the encoders. That totals $190.00 for two completely operating RMUs.

Can anyone make a suggestion for the center-push encoders that I have not listed?

Thanks for all input, I am weighing all my options still and my mind is not yet made up, so please throw your opinion my way on any aspect of this!

PS- would this work plugged straight in to a USB hub and be assignable to the MCP functions? http://www.trossenrobotics.com/store/p/3235-Phidget-Encoder.aspx

07-20-2007, 12:24 PM
The rotary to use will depend on the card that you choose. If you have a card that you can use optical encoders then you cant beat the Grayhill 61C11 model. They sell for around $20ea. The have a nice feel to them and will last alot longer than a mechanical encoder. Grayhill also sell dual encoders but they are a little more expensive, around $80. Still not much when you consider how long you want these too last.

If mechanical is all that your interface will handle then just grab some from FDS. They sell these on the hardware page. I use the FDS G1 so I use these and they are very nice for a mechanical encoder. They have a nice strong feel to them. I have used a few different types of mechanical encoders but I have found these to be one of the better ones. I believe they are made by cts.

The dual concentric from gofight is handy for the RMP but I really dont know what I think about them, Especially at $30 ea. I have used the single version of these encoders and didnt like them at all. I found them to be light to turn and also very touchy when trying to fine tune to the digits that you need. Someone who has the dual will have to chime in here with what they think as goflight has sold many of these units.

You could also do what others have done and build a dual using two single encoders.

Hope this helps


07-20-2007, 09:39 PM
I have 8 pushbutton rotary encoders from www.digikey.com (http://www.digikey.com) connected to FDT Sim-Boards and they operate the NAV, COMM & ADFs perfectly.

07-26-2007, 03:03 PM
Thanks for your replies. I cant use the FDS G1 with my current setup as I have not got the Boeing MCP software-PMRJ only.

At this point the best purchase appears to be a combination of 1 or 2 phidget encoders w/pushbuttons and the GoFlight ones for other MCP functions with GoFlight dual for the RMUs. I have another GF question that I will post in another thread, just to keep order.

05-09-2008, 11:45 AM
I checked and indeed DigiKey does have the Grayhill dual-concentric rotary encoders with pushbutton. A have a couple of follow-up questions:
1) What detents should I get for the inner and outer knobs - they have many to choose from.
2) Does DigiKey carry the knobs to fit over the shafts for these? If so, what part numbers? Specifically, the bottom knob needs to slide through the shaft so the outer knob can fit over it.
3) Has anyone had experience using the Grayhill GH65C11 Rotary interface chip? I want to create my own rotary decoder board and am looking for comments on that interface chip.

By the way, this is going to be used for a Garmin 530 Panel. I have already made one a couple of years ago, but I didn't have a separate screen for it (I just had it displayed on a monitor). Also, I had to use 2 separate rotaries and a separate pushbutton for each dual rotary. The new version will have it's own 6" screen, and will use the grayhill dual rotaries and should look and operate exactly as the real thing!

Thanks for any input!

Dave Snyder
Waukesha, WI

05-09-2008, 12:40 PM
Dave, since I was the thread starter here, I just wanted to chime in and let you know that I went the Goflight/Phidgets route as stated above and I didnt want someone else to NOT answer while waiting for a reply from myself to you.

Best of luck in your quest, do some forum Searching and you might get some of the answers you need.


05-10-2008, 08:13 AM
I bought Goflight's dual remote mount rotary encoder with their knobs mounted on their PCB about a month ago when I was building a G1000 GPS panel for my C172 cockpit. I connected it to my Hagestrom 108 board which supports 2 rotaries. Of course since this is a dual I had to use up both of my Hagestrom inputs for one dual knob but it works great. It would have been better to have a pushbutton version but I just installed a small extra button next to the knob for the cursor function on the GPS. I did look at the encoder once I got it and found that I could get them direct from Mouser. However, I think it was worth getting it from GoFlight because of the knobs to go with it. I also like to help people who support this community with their products by purchasing through them even know it is more expensive sometimes. I have two of GF's 166's, their 46, and the 8 button push button kits. Their stuff is great.

BTW - the dual rotary from them worked awesome for me with the Hagestrom board.

This is a link to the type of rotaries GF is using and they are available from Mouser.


06-05-2008, 08:44 AM
bsnyder said :I checked and indeed DigiKey does have the Grayhill dual-concentric rotary encoders with pushbutton.

Are this the one you are refering to?

I searched the Grayhill website and found the 62C1518 dual consentric rotary encoder very suitable for radio selection switches / GPS knobs. The link to the datasheet is http://lgrws01.grayhill.com/web/images/ProductImages/Opt_Encoder_62C.pdf.

Personally I like the one with the 20-24 detents per revolution.

06-05-2008, 10:40 PM
Correct - DigiKey has the encoders, but I do not know where to find the knobs for them.

Anybody find ones that work?

Dave Snyder
Waukesha, WI

06-08-2008, 03:12 PM
Did you try these guys? Their catalog is also full of interesting sketches about knobs.


06-11-2008, 10:46 AM
Looks good.

They have some concentric assemblies as well as some nice looking military knobs.

I will verify the shaft sizes to see if they will work.