Potentiometers

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.

Looking for peripherals for your potentiometer?

Potentiometer KnobsPotentiometer 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 Element Material Termination Style Tolerance Series Shaft Length
RS庫存編號 294-3690
製造零件編號157S103MX
BrandVishay
HK$483.62
單位
10 kΩ Rotary 1 1 Servo Mount 1W 3.18 mm Linear - Conductive Plastic Turret ±20% 157 11.1mm
RS庫存編號 484-8610
製造零件編號14910F0GJSX10254KA
BrandVishay
HK$133.61
單位
250 kΩ Rotary 1 1 Panel Mount, Through Hole 1W 6.35 mm Linear - Cermet Pin ±10% 149 22.2mm
RS庫存編號 168-0031
製造零件編號P13SMNFGS103MA
BrandVishay
HK$585.90
個 (以毎盒:10)
單位
10 kΩ Rotary 1 1 Panel Mount 1.5W 6 mm Linear - Cermet - ±20% P13SM 16mm
RS庫存編號 168-320
製造零件編號27ESB103MMF50N
HK$62.57
單位
10 kΩ Rotary 1 2 Panel Mount 0.2W 6.35 mm Logarithmic - Carbon Solder Lug ±20% 27 50mm
RS庫存編號 460-7582
製造零件編號534B1502JLB
BrandVishay
HK$201.00
單位
5 kΩ Rotary 10 1 Panel Mount 2W 6.35 mm Linear - Wirewound Solder Lug ±5% 534 20.6mm
RS庫存編號 484-9225
製造零件編號14921F0GJSX13103KA
BrandVishay
HK$280.63
單位
10 kΩ Rotary 1 2 Panel Mount, Through Hole 1W 6.35 mm Linear - Cermet Pin ±10% 149 22.2mm
RS庫存編號 790-4350
製造零件編號P11S1V0FLSY00104KA
BrandVishay
HK$128.63
單位
100 kΩ Rotary 1 1 Panel Mount 1W 6 mm Linear - Cermet Solder Lug ±10% P11S 25mm
RS庫存編號 162-2384
製造零件編號157B103MX9001
BrandVishay
HK$234.064
個 (以毎盒:10)
單位
10 kΩ Rotary 1 1 Panel Mount 1W 6.35 mm Linear - Conductive Plastic Turret ±20% 157 22.2mm
RS庫存編號 162-861
製造零件編號404802692031
HK$253.13
單位
100 kΩ Rotary 1 1 Panel Mount 2W 6.35 mm Linear - Cermet Pin ±10% M 25.4mm
RS庫存編號 236-9604
製造零件編號RK27112A00CF
HK$317.59
單位
50 kΩ Rotary 1 - Panel Mount, Through Hole 0.05W 6 mm Logarithmic - - Pin ±20% RK27 -
RS庫存編號 167-9576
製造零件編號534B1104JC8872
BrandVishay
HK$257.628
個 (以毎盒:10)
單位
100 kΩ Rotary 10 1 Panel Mount 2W 6 mm Linear - Wirewound Solder Lug ±5% 534 20.6mm
RS庫存編號 827-5035
製造零件編號PTD901-2015K-B103
BrandBourns
HK$16.46
單位
10 kΩ Rotary - 1 - 0.05W 6 mm Linear - Carbon PC Pin ±25% PTD90 15mm
RS庫存編號 173-0745
BrandRS PRO
HK$26.893
個 (以毎盒:50)
單位
25 kΩ - 1 - Panel Mount 1W 6 mm - - Wirewound Solder ±10% P25 25mm
RS庫存編號 387-846
製造零件編號1624202-2
HK$75.56
單位
10 kΩ Rotary 1 1 Panel Mount 0.4W 6.35 mm Linear - Carbon Solder Lug ±20% 23 50mm
RS庫存編號 167-4721
製造零件編號6539S-1-502
BrandBourns
HK$280.15
Each (In a Tray of 25)
單位
5 kΩ Rotary 1 1 Panel Mount 1W 3.18 mm Linear - Conductive Plastic Solder Turret ±15% 6539 12.7mm
RS庫存編號 763-7179
製造零件編號Y005610K0000K0L
HK$242.57
單位
10 kΩ - 26 - Through Hole 0.75W 2.79 mm - - - Solder Pin ±10% 1280G -
RS庫存編號 135-4480
製造零件編號1624202-2
HK$53.193
個 (以毎盒:100)
單位
10 kΩ Rotary 1 1 Panel Mount 0.4W 6.35 mm Linear - Carbon Solder Lug ±20% 23 50mm
RS庫存編號 172-7667
製造零件編號RK09712200MC
HK$19.856
Each (In a Tray of 120)
單位
10 kΩ Rotary 1 - Panel Mount, Through Hole 0.05W 6 mm Logarithmic - - Pin ±20% RK097 -
RS庫存編號 263-3078
製造零件編號RK09K1130BCN
HK$16.95
單位
50 kΩ Rotary 1 - Panel Mount, Through Hole 0.05W 6 mm Logarithmic - - Pin ±20% RK09K -
RS庫存編號 249-9294
製造零件編號RK1631210AY7
HK$60.43
單位
10 kΩ Rotary 1 - Panel Mount, Through Hole 0.1W 6 mm Linear - - Pin ±20% RK163 -