Configure a single encoder

A single encoder sends a signal from the rotating encoder over a single wire to one pin on the board. The direction of spin is dictated by the motor that has this encoder’s name in its encoder attribute field.

Navigate to the Config tab of your robot’s page in the Viam app. Click on the Components subtab and click Create component. Select the encoder type, then select the single model. Enter a name for your encoder and click Create.

Configuration of a single encoder in the Viam app config builder.

Fill in and edit the attributes as applicable.

  "name": "<your-encoder-name>",
  "type": "encoder",
  "model": "single",
  "attributes": {
    "board": "<your-board-name>",
    "pins": {
      "i": "<your-pin-number-on-board>"

The following attributes are available for single encoders:

boardstringRequiredThe name of the board to which the encoder is wired.
pinsobjectRequiredA struct holding the name of the pin wired to the encoder:
  • i: Pin number of the pin to which the encoder is wired.

Viam also supports a model of encoder called "incremental" which uses two pins.

Test the encoder

Once your encoder is configured and connected, go to the Control tab and click on the encoder’s drop-down panel. The ticks count is displayed. Try moving the encoder (for example, by turning a motor it is attached to) and check whether the count increases as expected.

Encoder control panel.

If the encoder does not appear on the Control tab, or if you notice unexpected behavior, check your robot’s Logs tab for errors, and review the configuration.

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