Rotary Encoders. Optional?

I’m looking to get a FarmBot up and running in my back yard here in London, UK. All the parts are readily accessible over here - except (as far as I can see) the US Digital rotary encoders! Completely understand the benefits of having these, but does the software in its current form support running a FarmBot without these connected? Even in the US it looks like this adds considerably to the cost…

I had a quick look in the firmware repo and it does look like there are config settings for end-stops and for enabling/disabling the encoders so I’m hoping the answer is yes, but haven’t dug any deeper. Was wondering if any other homebrew FarmBot owners are running versions without these?

I’ve installed the alpha 1.1 version and it does support nema 17 without encoders. Running a local host setup, I’ve been able to move all motors without them.

Yes, the rotary encoders are optional! Even endstops are optional, but of course without either of these you are hoping that FarmBot doesn’t get stuck on anything. If it does, it won’t know and won’t be able to tell you!


roryaronson miss saying hoping it does not break anything in the process from getting stuck as well. One of the risks of not having encoders on the long axis is one side jams and the other proceeds to start twisting gantry out of square putting pressure in lots of places. So rotary encoders are not cheep the mess not having them can cause is not cheep either. So to be safe I see a bare min of 2 encoders to make sure you are not going todo nasty things to the frame. The other encoders you could skip and only have disrupt function not damaged frame. Its the basic problem of leavers the wider the gantry the more force in by leaver action can be applied.

Ok, you’ve convinced me :slight_smile: I’ve found a (relatively) cheap option that’s easier to buy here in the UK:

The US Digital version was proving a challenge to source, and considerably more expensive. Hoping this one will do the job… Appears to be similar in spec and should fit their line of Nema 17 motors. Only potential issue is it’s a bit fatter, so might need to adapt the 3D printed cases to accommodate the additional length. If anyone knows of any other options or UK/EU sources then please chime in!


Hey dood, someone else doing a diy farmbot in the uk!! I’ve been trawling the forum for a while and very much hope that you are still active here.

I am stuck on the encoders so your post is of extreme interest. Can you give me any help at all with this. I noticed you said you found a cheaper solution than the farmbot ones? Were they a goer? How many did you use? If they work can you send me a link? If they didn’t can you tell me why not? How many bits do they output.

I understand A and B outputs but I am lost on AQ and BQ outputs which the wiring diagram for the RAMPS specifies.

Going a bit nuts here tbh so any help would be muchly appreciated.



How is your bot, Does it work? Have you harvested yet? Was it worth the investment?