Potentiometers

What is a potentiometer?


A potentiometer is a variable resistor. Potentiometers enable you to regulate and change the current flowing through a circuit. Potentiometers can also be called pots or potmeters.


Potentiometers have two terminals that are fixed to a resistive element (the track). The resistive element is typically wirewound or made from carbon, cermet or conductive plastic. The third terminal is connected to the wiper, which is a sliding contact. As the wiper moves along the track, the resistance changes and the current flowing through the circuit changes.


Types of potentiometer


  • Rotary potentiometers are easily controlled by turning a spindle or a knob. Rotary potentiometers can be single turn or multiturn.

  • Slide potentiometers are also known as slider potentiometers or fader potentiometers. To use a slide potentiometer, it’s simply a case of sliding a fader along a straight track to change the resistance.

  • Trimmer potentiometers, sometimes called trimpots, are used to calibrate and fine-tune circuits and can be mounted straight onto a PCB (printed circuit board). Trimmer potentiometers are easy to adjust with a screwdriver.

  • String potentiometers (or string pots) take movement and transform it into an electrical signal.

  • Membrane potentiometers are completely flat. Membrane potentiometers change their resistance when pressure is applied to the membrane.

Do I need a potentiometer with a linear or logarithmic taper?


The taper you need for your potentiometer depends on the intended application.


For potentiometers with a linear taper, the resistance between one end of the track and the wiper varies at a constant rate. If you turn the potentiometer halfway or slide the fader halfway along the track, the resistance will be half of the total resistance. Linear taper potentiometers are typically used in applications such as light dimmer switches.


For logarithmic taper potentiometers, the resistance does not vary at a constant rate. The level of resistance moves exponentially up or down. A potentiometer that has been turned or moved halfway along its track, will not produce resistance that is half the total resistance. Logarithmic potentiometers are commonly used for audio applications.


What is the difference between a potentiometer and a rheostat?


The key difference is the number of terminals that each device has. Potentiometers have three terminals while rheostats only have two terminals.


Need ’Digital Potentiometers’?


Digital Potentiometers

Looking for peripherals for your potentiometer?


Potentiometer Knobs


Potentiometer Accessories


Potentiometer Mounting Nuts


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Description Price Maximum Resistance Potentiometer Type Number of Turns Number of Gangs Mounting Type Power Rating Shaft Diameter Electrical Taper Mounting Hole Diameter Automotive Standard Element Material Termination Style Tolerance Series
RS庫存編號 708-1501
製造零件編號MP1-L-1000-203-5%-RH
HK$425.00
單位
20 kΩ Linear 1 - Through Hole 0.5W - - - - - Crimpflex Female Receptacle ±20% MP1
RS庫存編號 708-1292
製造零件編號SP-L-0050-103-3%-RH
HK$87.00
單位
10 kΩ Linear 1 - Through Hole 0.5W - - - - - Crimpflex Female Receptacle ±20% SP
RS庫存編號 708-1554
製造零件編號TSP-L-0025-103-1%-RH
HK$92.50
單位
10 kΩ Linear 1 - Through Hole 0.5W - - - - - Crimpflex Female Receptacle ±20% TSP
RS庫存編號 708-1466
製造零件編號HP-R-0046-353-103-3%-RH
HK$153.00
單位
10 kΩ Linear 1 - Through Hole 1W 25.4 mm - - - - Crimpflex Female Receptacle ±20% HP
RS庫存編號 708-1441
製造零件編號HP-L-0400-203-1%-RH
HK$225.00
單位
20 kΩ Linear 1 - Through Hole 0.5W - - - - - Crimpflex Female Receptacle ±20% HP
RS庫存編號 708-1378
製造零件編號HP-L-0012-103-3%-RH
HK$74.00
單位
10 kΩ Linear 1 - Through Hole 0.5W - - - - - Crimpflex Female Receptacle ±20% HP
RS庫存編號 708-1558
製造零件編號TSP-L-0050-103-1%-RH
HK$117.00
單位
10 kΩ Linear 1 - Through Hole 0.5W - - - - - Crimpflex Female Receptacle ±20% TSP
RS庫存編號 708-1283
製造零件編號SP-L-0025-103-3%-RH
HK$67.00
單位
10 kΩ Linear 1 - Through Hole 0.5W - - - - - Crimpflex Female Receptacle ±20% SP