Product Intro - MACH Engineering Touchless Encoder

Hey Teams!

We hope the first week of the FIRST Steamworks season is going well for everybody! As you start designing your 2017 robots, we hope you keep in mind a new product offering from MACH Engineering: the Touchless Encoder.

The MACH Touchless Encoder is a simple, inexpensive alternative to other types of encoders. This device is intended for simple speed control or object detection where hundreds of counts per revolution are not required. It also provides more robust and flexible mounting options to fit existing mechanisms with little to no modification. Alignment is much less critical than with other types of encoders using shaft-mounted disks. The Touchless Encoder requires no modification of the rotating object to be measured other than adding a contrasting mark (can be as simple as silver paint or black electrical tape). The compact encoder board then simply needs to be mounted perpendicular to the object being measured at a distance of 0.5 – 1.5in. It will then reliably provide one pulse per revolution from 0 to over 30,000rpm. With its 3-pin connector, it easily integrates with FRC hardware.

We have successfully used the MACH Touchless Encoder as a speed encoder for shooter wheels, a limit switch for linear actuators, and a presence detector for game pieces. Some additional applications are detailed in the documentation and I’m sure the great minds of FIRST will come up with even more!

The MACH Touchless Encoder is now available from AndyMark for $22.50. If you have any questions, feel free to post or PM here or email

User guide is available here:

Thanks and good luck!

MACH Engineering LLC

Is it possible for one to sense the direction of a wheel with this encoder? Also I noticed two components on the end, are they both IR/LED sensors or is one an LED and one an IR sensor?

We bought one of these for object detection within our robot. Hope it works out well. Out of curiousity would this work well through 1/8" lexan, or would that cause issues.

Hey guys! Sorry for the late response.

There is one emitter and one receiver on the end of the TLENs, so they cannot be used to detect direction of rotation. You could use two devices to make your own quadrature encoder, though.

We have tested detection through various materials and the results are mixed. We definitely recommend cutting a hole. However, it may be possible to detect through the polycarbonate if the TLEN is spaced back far enough so that it doesn’t just detect the polycarbonate itself.

Thanks for the questions and good luck, guys! Please post here or email if you need any further assistance