Precision angle measurement for joystick applications

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Joystick applications in an industrial environment, in shipping or in vehicles for the handicapped have to cope with a series of specific underlying conditions that pose extraordinary challenges for the angle sensors used.

Precision angle measurement for joystick applicationsThe axis of rotation of the joystick is usually located near the top panel of the housing. Consequently, angle measurement requires angle sensors with features such as compact size, a specific shape factor and – particularly important – a measurement system arranged as closely as possible to the periphery.

In addition, despite their centre of rotation close to the edge, joysticks demand considerable electrical angles. At the same time, they must offer a high degree of precision and repeatability, combined with impressive linearity and life. It is not at all surprising that angle sensors are also expected to fulfil high standards in terms of sealing, robustness and safety, as well as low weight and good value for money.

With its lightweight WAL 315 potentiometer, available from Variohm UK, Contelec now supplies an innovative angle measuring device, tailored to the specific needs of joystick applications. One of the key characteristics of the affordable potentiometer is the peripherally arranged centre of rotation – just 5.5mm from the edge. Combined with the noticeably compact, slim design, this allows complete joystick systems to be kept small. The WAL 315 enables the measurement of electrical angles up to 100° with +/-1 per cent linearity.

To meet high safety requirements, a fully redundant version of the WAL 315 is available. Power supply, ground and signal output are in duplicate. The redundant outputs can be used either as two independent output signals or, alternatively, the second signal output can implement application-specific switching functions (for example to define forward or reverse).

The WAL 315 potentiometer is potted in high-grade, temperature-resistant epoxy resin, making it very rugged and able to withstand harsh environmental conditions. This is evident in the specified protection rate of IP65 and permissible temperature range of -25 to +85degC. A further impressive feature of the potentiometer is its durability, specified with a life of 4 million movements, together with its attractive value for money.

Key features

  • conductive plastic potentiometer designed for the specific needs of joystick applications
  • value for money
  • peripherally arranged centre of rotation, permitting near-wall installation of the potentiometer
  • rugged, fully potted sensor
  • high-precision angle measurement up to 100 degrees
  • completely encapsulated system with high protection rate of IP65
  • available in a fully redundant version (power supply, ground and signal output are in duplicate)
  • redundancy allows two independent output signals or application-specific switching functions
  • can be used in harsh environments (unsusceptible to dust and moisture)
  • long life (min. 4 million movements)
  • blind hollow shaft for easy installation
  • slim and compact (8 × 26 × 28mm)

For further information about the WAL 315 potentiometer, available from Variohm UK, please visit

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