DIY: Measuring Wheel/Surveyor’s Wheel Using Arduino & Rotary Encoder

DIY: Measuring Wheel/Surveyor’s Wheel Using Arduino & Rotary Encoder

A surveyor’s wheel may also be known by other names like: clickwheel, hodometer, waywiser, trundle wheel, measuring wheel or a perambulator. All these devices serve a single purpose, which is, measuring distance.

DIY Measuring Wheel Surveyor’s Wheel Using Arduino & Rotary Encoder

The origin of surveyor’s Wheel is from an odometer. Odometer simply counts the number of rotations of the wheel. The distance travelled by the wheel is directly proportional to the radius of wheel.

In the digital Surveyor’s Wheel a rotary encoder is attached to the wheel. This rotary encoder precisely counts the number of rotations. It also counts the rotation angle, and hence the digital system is much more precise then mechanical system.

An Arduino Nano is used as the controlling unit. It reads the pulses coming from the rotary encoder and calculates the traveled distance and prints on LCD (Liquid Crystal Display).


When the Rotary encoder rotates, it sends the pulses to Arduino. Output pins of the rotary encoder are connected to pin D2 and pin D3 of Arduino. Arduino identifies the rotation and direction (clockwise or anticlockwise) of the wheel. Arduino counts the pulses and converts them in distance by using some basic mathematical operations, called calibration. Now calculated distance is shown on the LCD.

Rotary encoder

In the rotary encoder spaced conductors are placed on a disc and connected to common pin. Encoder have two output pins (OUT1 and OUT2), When encoder rotates, output pins gives ZERO and ONE. The pattern of ZERO and ONE in OUT1 and OUT2 helps in determination of direction and rotation.


Arduino is the brain of the whole project which counts the rotation. Arduino converts the rotation into distance using calibration and displays the information on LCD.


LCD (Liquid Crystal Display) is the output device; it shows the measured distance in Centimeter.

In this project, we are using 16×2 LCD (16 Columns and 2 Rows). The LCD has 16 pins, some pins are power pins, and 6 pins are connected to Arduino and two pins are used for backlight. A preset is also connected to 3rd pin of LCD which is used for contrast control of the LCD.

DIY Measuring Wheel Surveyor’s Wheel Using Arduino & Rotary Encoder schematics


In the circuit Arduino, LCD and Rotary Encoder are the main components. Rotary encoder has three pins. One pin is connected to GND and two pins are connected to D2 and D3 pins of Arduino. LCD is connected to Arduino through pins D0 to D5. Vin pin of Arduino is powered by a 9-volt battery through a switch.

Read more: DIY: Measuring Wheel/Surveyor’s Wheel Using Arduino & Rotary Encoder

About The Author

Ibrar Ayyub

I am an experienced technical writer with a Master's degree in computer science from BZU Multan University. I have written for various industries, mainly home automation, and engineering. I have a clear and simple writing style and am skilled in using infographics and diagrams. I am a great researcher and is able to present information in a well-organized and logical manner.

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