I'm having trouble finding a specific component for a project I'm working on. What I need is a sensor that can act as a hinge (or can measure the rotation of a hinge) and tells the degree of rotation between the two planes on either side of the hinge. It needs to read from 0-100ish degrees. I've looked at various sensors with knobs, and I don't think they could solely support the weight being put on the hinge. Has anyone ever worked with a piece like this? Any tips or workarounds are greatly appreciated.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Although you're not asking anything Arduino-specific, you might also want to know about arduino.stackexchange.com \$\endgroup\$
    – JYelton
    Jun 30, 2014 at 17:18
  • \$\begingroup\$ As well as the mechanical arrangement - you might want disclose the accuracy and resolution requirements. If it's +/-1 arc second the choices will be different than if it is +/- 5 angular degrees. \$\endgroup\$ Jun 30, 2014 at 17:42
  • \$\begingroup\$ Sounds like you are looking for a potmeter. \$\endgroup\$
    – jippie
    Jun 30, 2014 at 19:14

1 Answer 1


Your answer pretty much depends on your precise mechanical arrangement. If you can work it out such that a potentiometer can be turned as your hinge opens, that might be your easiest bet. A rotary encoder, either absolute, or relative (with some mechanism to track where zero is) would be another fair option.

If there is no way to work a potentiometer or encoder in to your mechanical arrangement, then perhaps you can build some mechanical arrangement where you can measure how much string gets pulled from a string potentiometer.

It short, your options are limitless, and really come down to the mechanical situation. I think to get a meaningful answer, photos or drawings of the specific situation are necessary.

  • \$\begingroup\$ I think some kind of rotary encoder placed along the axis of rotation would be the easiest way to go about this. With the string you are going to have to come up with some (non-linear) relationship between the string length and hinge degree. Not to mention the string would get in the way - but as you said the implementation will be a function of the situation. \$\endgroup\$
    – sherrellbc
    Jun 30, 2014 at 19:05

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