What encoders do people like?

What encoders do people like and why? The team I’m mentoring, 7530, got some Talon SRXs from first choice and will be looking to do some motion magic stuff along with PID controlling some of the manipulators for the first time.

The “right” answer can vary depending on the application, but my “default” answer for 2020 is now:

Dirt simple to mount.

Absolute and quadrature outputs

Nearly every feature I could ask for.

Not perfect for every application, but pretty good for the vast majority of FRC related ones. If you’re looking to standardize on one of them, this is a good answer.

Disclaimer: Not gotten through an actual season with these yet. Ask me again in 4 months.


I’m not mechanically inclined enough to have an opinion on what is right or wrong for an application. However, the right choice is the one that works for you. On our drivetrain we use Grayhill 61Rs, but if you’re using Talons then you should look into CTRE’s magnetic encoder to see if it gets the job done. If you’re just getting into it, and need something that is probably easily supported by documentation CTRE’s option may be your best bet.

If you go with the 61R, you can checkout our github from the past few seasons to see how we use the Grayhills directly connected to the Talons for our work.


Depending on whether we are pairing it to a Talon SRX or SPARK MAX, the answer for us is the REV or CTRE encoders. We have to overcome a lot of apathy to wire sensors.

I like the CUI AMT10 series of modular encoders. Can be found on FIRST choice and digikey

How has that worked for you? We had previously gone with 63Rs because they are rated for 5000 RPM while the 61Rs are only rated for 300 RPM.

The critical thing is that they’re easy to mount robustly on your mechanism, including if you have to disassemble/reassemble that mechanism quickly. If you’re using a smart motor controller for that system, easy compatibility with that controller is a not-too-distant second.

[I’m assuming you’ve already eliminated showstoppers like required voltage, max speed, and adequate resolution for your task.]

I’ve heard nothing but good things about the AMT-103Vs, which have the benefit of being available in FIRST Choice and also being dirt cheap.

Professionally I’ve used US Digital brand with great success for years. I don’t recommend the Grayhill encoder available from Digi-Key. You can damage them by plugging the connector in backward and they are susceptible to static discharges. USD parts are a bit more expensive but well protected.

Both are plug and play with the respective motor controller?

if you are using talon srx, use the encoders ctre makes, like the mag encoders

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Correct (REV to REV, CTRE to CTRE).

I should have looked up the part datasheet before I posted…we actually are using 63R as well. We are not limited to only 300rpm. Oops.

How hard is it integrate these with a talon or spark? Are these still plug and play or are they more complicated to set up?

Is something like these normally only used on the drive train or do you guys use these for other situations as well?

If you’re using CIMs (or anything with a CIM-like front), the CIMcoder from Andymark works pretty well, too–but you have to be really careful if you have to swap motors.

That said, we’re using the Falcon 500’s integrated encoders and the REV Through Bore this year.

We use them on our drivetrain gearboxes only. I can ask our mechanical mentor what we use on the other mechanisms (like arms, climbers, etc).

We have falcons coming for our drive train so we will be using the integrated ones there. For the manipulators we will end up using mini cims or 775 pros unless we end up purchasing something else.

Very easy; they’re ordinary quadratre encoders. You may need a breakout board to connect them, but they’re cheap.