HEDL Encoder to RJ45 Adapter Board

I connect to a lot of encoders in various projects, and usually, I will try to hook them up to a RJ45 connector, as described here:

Optical Table CNC Lathe - Glass Linear Scales

because it allows me to take advantage of the economies of scale of modern network cables. However, sometimes the cables on the encoder make it difficult or impossible to use a RJ45 connector on them. Also, one encoder that has been extremely common in the items I have obtained is the HEDL line of encoders, which come with a 10 pin IDC connector.

So I decided to make a small adapter board with the following goals:

- 10 IDC HEDL connector to RJ45 connector adapter, with the pinout used here.

- Easy ability to cut and reroute traces to make it easy to use on other 10 pin IDC encoders.

- Footprint for straight 10 pin headers, to be able to use non-IDC hardware such as the CUI encoders.

- Mounting holes.

I made this in KiCAD, and then sent it on to OSHPark. This uses all standard connectors, except the RJ45 connector for which no accepted standard footprint seems to exist. It is a Wurth 615008140621

Schematic and board files available below, but I shared this on OSHPark as well:


It has been working great:

The network cable here is a "SAMZHE CAT6A Ultrafine Ethernet Patch Cable" from Amazon. These are very supple and stranded, which is good for connecting moving parts.