Difference Between Similar Terms and Objects

Difference Between Coarse and Fine Adjustment

Coarse vs Fine Adjustment

Just about any device can be adjusted to suite the preference of the user. In most devices, there is only one adjustment knob for each controllable element. But in certain cases, there are two adjustment knobs; labeled as coarse and fine adjustments. The main difference between the two is in how large is the increment in each step. With coarse, a small movement results in a large jump, while the opposite is true in fine.

Another difference between coarse and fine adjustment is the range that they have. The coarse adjustment covers the entire range from minimum to maximum. In contrast, the fine adjustment only covers a fraction of the entire range. The bare minimum range for the fine adjustment is the discrete step increment of the coarse adjustment, in order to cover the entire range. It can also be larger, depending on the designer of the device.

To clearly illustrate how coarse and fine adjustments work together, picture an adjustment that has a range of 0 to 100. For coarse, each step increments by 10 and 1 for fine. If you only have a coarse adjustment, it will be quick and easy to go from minimum to maximum but you cannot achieve an exact value like 15 and you have to settle for either 10 or 20. If you only have fine, you can select any value but you have a lot of steps to take in order to go from minimum to maximum. If you have both coarse and fine adjustment, you get the pros of both.

Using both coarse and fine adjustments affords the user increased control. You have the increased resolution provided by the fine adjustment, as well as the ease of larger increments provided by the coarse adjustment. Having both coarse and fine adjustments is not very common; and the devices that do so, have them for a reason. These devices need to be fine-tuned in order to produce the desired output.


1.Coarse adjustment has steps in large increments while fine adjustment has steps in much smaller increments
2.Coarse adjustment covers the entire range while fine adjustment only covers a fraction of the entire range

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