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i have a 6 pin optical slot sensor/optical encoder, which does not have a part # on it. I need a way to determine what each pin is. I will award the answer to the first answer that accurately explains the process of determining the function of each pin. thanks!

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    \$\begingroup\$ The process of determining the function of each pin is to obtain and study the datasheet for the device you wish to use. \$\endgroup\$ – Peter Bennett Jan 4 '18 at 2:23
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I am assuming you have no markings to be able to obtain a spec-sheet for the device. If you do this is a non-starter.

If not, you need to look at it mechanically first.

One side will likely be an LED the other with have either two photo-diodes or photo-transistors.

Once you identify the LED side you can attach the other side pins through a resistor in combinations and polarities or all pairs to a low voltage supply and see what happens when you turn the LED on and off.

Chart out that information and you should be able to identify the "truth-table" of the device.

If you can't identify the LED, repeat the last step for all pins. That is apply low power through 2 (say 5ma), measure the others, reverse, try the next two.. etc.

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    \$\begingroup\$ @parzival then go with the latter part. There are a lot of permutations but patience will prevail. \$\endgroup\$ – Trevor_G Jan 4 '18 at 2:38
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    \$\begingroup\$ @parzival yes 1.5-2V would be typical, but I'd limit to 5mA. That should be plenty to notice a change elsewhere with like a 10K series on the test side. \$\endgroup\$ – Trevor_G Jan 4 '18 at 2:40
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    \$\begingroup\$ @parzival yes they will. The numbers you get should tell you which is which. \$\endgroup\$ – Trevor_G Jan 4 '18 at 2:41
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    \$\begingroup\$ @parzival note detector side may be separate diodes or +- supply and two outputs. Or the whole thing could be smart.. then it gets harder to understand,. \$\endgroup\$ – Trevor_G Jan 4 '18 at 2:42
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    \$\begingroup\$ @parzival 10K will be fine, with like 5V supply. \$\endgroup\$ – Trevor_G Jan 4 '18 at 2:43

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