Setup a Rotary Encoder on your Ortholinear Keyboard

What is a Rotary Encoder?

A rotary encoder is a knob that converts the physical turns into a digital signal to your computer. When you install this onto your keyboard, you can map the rotational data to something like volume control, scrolling on your computer screen and more! It can be a really useful knob for more granular precision for controls that might not lend itself to a switch press.

What do you need?

After putting one together and scouring the web for some guides, I've found that there are a couple ways you can approach setting up your rotary encoder. In the section below, I've compiled recommendations on tools and parts and also some reddit threads of people that have successfully set up their own rotary encoders.

Rotary Encoder

Officially recommended on the OLKB website is the SparkFun COM-09117 Rotary Encoder. You'll be soldering this onto your keyboard and it's what you'll be turning!

If you want a nice knob over that encoder to grip onto, this knob from McMaster-Carr is one that many people use and will fit the sparkfun encoder above.


Obviously, you'll need a screwdriver to take apart your Planck or Preonic keyboard just as your put it together. If you're finding yourself doing this often, or putting together keyboards a lot, you should try upgrading to an electric screwdriver to save some time and effort. The wowstick electric screwdriver is a great looking and useful tool that many keyboard enthusiasts have invested in. It rechargeable via it's standup base, has 56 bits and aeven a LED light to help you see in tight spots.

Soldering Iron and Solder

If you don't already own a soldering iron for soldering switches before hot swap sockets, this might be a little new for you. Check out this video for a great guide on how to solder and in the context of keyboards.

If you think you'll be picking up soldering as a hobby or do more of it later for other projects, it's a good idea to invest in a quality soldering station. The Hakko FX888D-23BY Digital Soldering Station is the best bang for your buck and a the highest rated iron on the market now.

For solder, you want to have a 60/40 Leaded Solder. You can easily pick some up at your local electronics store or on a quick search on amazon. We recommend Kester Leaded Solder but any highly-rated solder on amazon will probably will just as good.

Useful Reddit Threads

Video Guide

If you work better visually, here is a great video on YouTube below on installing the rotary encoder on a OLKB Planck keyboard.