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I'm looking at this inclinometer and in the features it says "12 bit resolution." I'm looking for a resolution of up to a 1/10th of a degree but don't understand what the 12 bit resolution means.

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With 12-bit resolution, $2^{12}= 4096$ different numbers can be represented, this means that the measuring range of a given sensor gets split into 4096 pieces.

As an example, if your sensor can measure from 0V to 409.6V (just for nicer math), then with 12-bit resolution, you can resolve the measured value in increments of 0.1V.

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  • $\begingroup$ As Mohanachz has noted, he's dealing with 0.1 degrees, which would require 3600 "pieces" for which 4096 will cover. The math gets long, stretched out decimal points, but if rounding is acceptable, he's good to go! Unfortunately, the specifications don't match. The device lists 0.2° at 25°C and 0.6° over the entire operating range of temperature. Marketing? $\endgroup$ – fred_dot_u Jun 21 '18 at 14:39
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    $\begingroup$ Resolution and accuracy are two different things. Resolution refers to the increment in which the readings are available, i.e. in this case 360°/4096 = 0.09° approx., and accuracy refers to whether the readings are accurate compared to the true value that is being measured. For example, you might be measuring an angle of 10°, and the sensor might report anything between 9.8° and 10.2°. $\endgroup$ – am304 Jun 21 '18 at 16:17
  • $\begingroup$ @am304 you're right, thank you for the suggestion, I'll edit it. I considered it while writing, but thought it would still get the point across what 12 bit resolution means $\endgroup$ – OpticalResonator Jun 21 '18 at 16:25
  • $\begingroup$ You have 12 bit correct but an inclinometer does not measure voltage. $\endgroup$ – paparazzo Jun 22 '18 at 16:50
  • $\begingroup$ @paparazzo I used it as example for 12-bit resolution, not referring to OP‘s specific sensor $\endgroup$ – OpticalResonator Jun 22 '18 at 16:51
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In computers a lot of stuff is measured in bits. A bit is binary base 2. $2^{12}= 4096$

That unit measures +- 90 for a total of 180 for a resolution of about 1/23 of a degree.

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