The Bureau of Mines has developed a passive encoder for range knobs, a device that automates the task of obtaining the range settings from devices or instruments to be input to microcomputers. It is easily constructed and installed and will not disrupt the device to which it is being attached. It consists of a custom knob and a small printed circuit board that has light-emitting diodes and magnetic reed switches attached. A ribbon cable connects it to a microcomputer. This encoder eliminates one source of human error in an automated process.