Based on a suggestion from Gordon McComb in this very newsgroup, I used a
mouse to encode movement of my robot's drive motors. I had to remote mount
the LED/phototransistor pairs (remove from the mouse board and install on a
custom PCB), and modify the encoder wheels to attach to the motors.
Then I had to write microcontroller software to implement the PS/2 mouse
communication protocol. The PS/2 hardware interface has +5V, GND, DATA, and
CLOCK signals. This is all documented on the web (use your favorite search
I read a lot about people using the encoder wheels and optoelectronics from
mice, but I thought Gordon's suggestion of using the whole thing was rather
elegant. The microcontroller in the mouse tracks movement of the encoders and
stuffs the information in to a nice little three byte packet.
It works OK. How easy was it? Well, let us just say that it would have been
easier to spend $100+ each on OTS quadrature encoders. But where is the
adventure in that?
In interesting approach would be to use an optical mouse.
Especially the newer ones with the ADNS-2610 or even better the
ADNS-2620 chips can very easy be interfaced to some u-controller.
You can even make images with then ;-)
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