Analog-to-digital converter

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An analog-to-digital converter (abbreviated ADC, A/D or A to D) is a device that converts a continuous quantity to a discrete digital number. The reverse operation is performed by a digital-to-analog converter (DAC).

Typically, an ADC is an electronic device that converts an input analog voltage (or current) to a digital number proportional to the magnitude of the voltage or current. However, some non-electronic or only partially electronic devices, such as rotary encoders, can also be considered ADCs.

The digital output may use different coding schemes. Typically the digital output will be a two's complement binary number that is proportional to the input, but there are other possibilities. An encoder, for example, might output a Gray code.

An ADC might be used to make an isolated measurement. ADCs are also used to quantize time-varying signals by turning them into a sequence of digital samples. The result is quantized in both time and value.

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