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AN-CM-320 Potentiometer Controlled by an Encoder


Terms and Definitions

CLK Clock
DFF D Flip-Flop


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  1. GreenPAK Designer Software, Software Download and User Guide, Dialog Semiconductor
  2. AN-CM-320 Potentiometer Controlled by, GreenPAK Design File, Dialog Semiconductor
  3. GreenPAK Development Tools, GreenPAK Development Tools Webpage, Dialog Semiconductor
  4. GreenPAK Application Notes, GreenPAK Application Notes Webpage, Dialog Semiconductor

Author: Marian Hryntsiv


There are a variety of applications where a mechanical potentiometer is part of a user control interface. These mechanical potentiometers can be changed to more updated and reliable encoder controlled elements and digital rheostats, being components that change electrical parameters of the signal.

SLG47004 is a perfect solution that combines two digital rheostats and configurable logic to process the encoder information. This combination allows to implement many designs: a regulated power supply, an amplifier with a tunable gain, and others. In addition, the presence of digital logic allows determining the speed of rotation of the encoder. This approach is shown in Figure 1.

Figure 1: General Schematic of a Voltage Divider Controlled by the Encoder

System Overview

Figure 2 shows the internal design based on the SLG47004.

Figure 2: GreenPAK Designer Project

An incremental encoder generates its A and B output signals which are used to change digital rheostats resistance. Rheostats form the potentiometer and allow to implement the adjustable voltage divider to regulate an output voltage.

At any particular time, the phase difference between the A and B signals will be positive or negative depending on the encoder's direction of movement.

A speed determination function is built from Frequency Detectors, One Shots and Multiplexers.

In this application note the EC11 encoder was used. The encoder produces noisy output oscillations due to switch bounce. To eliminate that noise, 2 mS delays were used. Please note that this delay is adjusted for the EC11 encoder (according to its datasheet). For other encoders the delay value should be assessed accordingly.

Functional Block Architecture

Digital Logic Description

Determining the Encoder Direction

At first, Delay macrocells delay both edges of the encoder output signals for 2 mS. Delay macrocells work like a deglitch filter to eliminate switch bouncing. Delayed signal B appears on DLY inputs of One Shots and Frequency Detectors, and CLK input of DFF. Delayed signal A appears on D input of DFF. When the encoder disk is rotating in a clockwise direction signal A leads signal B and DFF output is High, and when the disk is rotating in a counterclockwise direction signal B leads signal A and DFF output is Low. So DFF can determine the direction of rotation. High or Low signal on Rheostat Up/Down input determines if internal counter's value increases or decreases for each pulse at CLK input.

A timing diagram for the clockwise encoder rotation is shown in Figure 3 and for the counterclockwise encoder rotation in Figure 4.

Figure 3: Timing Diagrams for Clockwise Encoder Rotation
Figure 4: Timing Diagrams for Counterclockwise Encoder Rotation

Determing the Encoder Speed

The SLG47004 has 10-bit digital rheostats, which in turn allows implementation of 1024 regulation steps. The adjustable voltage divider has 3 regulation modes. The user can change output signal with step = 1 digital code (mode 1), step = 10 digital codes (mode 2) and step = 100 digital codes (mode 3). To have 3 modes was used 2 frequency detectors. The first mode is assigned to adjust the output signal smoothly and accurately. It activates when a user adjusts a knob with a frequency less than 10 Hz. The second mode activates when the frequency is greater than 10 Hz, but less than 25 Hz. The last one works when the frequency is greater than 25 Hz.

One Shots set time intervals for the required number of pulses.

Digital multiplexers provide the passage of either one, or ten, or hundred pulses on CLK input of rheostat according to frequency detectors outputs.

Detents and Pulses per Revolution

The encoder with a different number of pulses and detents (positions) was used in this project. With 15 pulses, you have two detents per full pulse. This means that for every pulse (or cycle) in the rotary encoder there are two detents: rising edge of the pulse (one change) and falling edge of the pulse (another change). If your rotary encoder has one detent per pulse, then it has two changes for every pulse. For this type of encoder, the design remains the same, except for Frequency Detectors and One Shots settings. In their settings, Edge Select should be set "Falling" or "Rising". In encoders where the number of pulses and detents do not match, Edge Select should be set to "Both".

Potentiometer Mode

For this design we used digital rheostats in potentiometer mode. This mode allows two 2-pin rheostats to work as one 3-pin potentiometer. When this mode is active (register [917] = 1), the user changes the value of the RH0 internal counter. In this mode, the value of the RH1 counter is the inverted value of the RH0 counter. Note that the RH0_B pin and the RH1_A pin must be connected externally.

Macrocells Settings

3-bit LUT1 and 3-bit LUT3 settings: Standard Gate - Multiplexer.

Table 1: 2-bit LUTs Settings
Table 2: DFF Settings
Initial Polarity
Q Output Polarity
Inverted (nQ)
Table 3: PINs Settings
PINs 6, 7, 8, 9
PINs 15, 16
I/O Selection
Analog Input/Output
Digital Input
Input Mode
Analog Input/Output
Digital In with Schmitt Trigger
Output Mode
Analog Input/Output
Pull Up
Resistor Value
10 kΩ
Table 4: OSC Settings
Control Pin Mode
Power Down
OSC Power Mode
Auto Power On
Clock Selector
OSC1 Frequency
2.048 MHz
'CLK' Pre-divider
OUT0 Second Divider
OUT1 Second Divider
Figure 5: Digital Rheostats Settings
Figure 6: Delays Settings
Figure 7: One Shots Settings when the Number of Pulses and Detents Do Not Match
Figure 8: One Shots Settings when the Number of Pulses and Detents Match
Figure 9: Frequency Detectors Settings when the Number of Pulses and Detents Do Not Match
Figure 10: Frequency Detectors Settings when the Number of Pulses and Detents Match


The SLG47004 has two digital rheostats which allow implementing a myriad of useful applications. A case in point is using digital rheostats to replace an analog potentiometer with the help of a modern encoder. This application note illustrates how to use the SLG47004 to implement the adjustable voltage divider which is a versatile solution and can be applied to an adjustable power supply, amplifier's gain control, and others. This solution is cost-effective and with low energy consumption.