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 167-3589
製造零件編號3590S-2-104L
BrandBourns
HK$129.832
Each (In a Tray of 25)
單位
100 kΩ Rotary 10 1 Panel Mount 2W 6.35 mm Linear - Wirewound Solder Lug ±5% 3590 20.6mm
RS庫存編號 167-3615
製造零件編號53RAA-R25-A13L
BrandBourns
HK$65.718
Each (In a Tray of 45)
單位
5 kΩ Rotary 1 1 Panel Mount 1W 6 mm Linear - Cermet Solder Lug ±10% 53 25mm
RS庫存編號 249-9418
製造零件編號RS6011Y1401A
HK$23.10
單位
50 kΩ Slide 1 - Through Hole 0.2W - Linear - - Pin ±20% RS60 -
RS庫存編號 424-9928
製造零件編號AD3 10kOHM
BrandDold
HK$602.48
單位
10 kΩ Rotary - 1 Panel Mount - - - - - Screw - MK 7850N -
RS庫存編號 167-9346
製造零件編號860B1202
BrandVishay
HK$1,206.96
個 (以毎盒:10)
單位
2 kΩ Rotary 10 1 Panel Mount 8W 6.35 mm Linear - Wirewound Solder Lug ±1% 860 20.6mm
RS庫存編號 173-0733
BrandRS PRO
HK$21.779
個 (以毎盒:50)
單位
50 Ω - 1 - Panel Mount 1W 6.35 mm - - Wirewound Solder ±10% P25 25mm
RS庫存編號 842-7074
BrandRS PRO
HK$49.42
單位
50 Ω Rotary 1 1 Panel Mount 1W 6.35 mm Linear - Wirewound Solder ±10% P25 25mm
RS庫存編號 168-0003
製造零件編號981HE0B4WA8H01
BrandVishay
HK$572.277
個 (以毎盒:10)
單位
- Rotary - - Panel Mount - 6.35 mm - - - - - 981 HE -
RS庫存編號 294-3741
製造零件編號860B1202
BrandVishay
HK$1,289.38
單位
2 kΩ Rotary 10 1 Panel Mount 8W 6.35 mm Linear - Wirewound Solder Lug ±1% 860 20.6mm
RS庫存編號 729-3492
製造零件編號RK09712200MC
HK$26.11
單位
10 kΩ Rotary 1 2 Through Hole 0.05W 6 mm - - - Pin ±20% RK097 15mm
RS庫存編號 263-3270
製造零件編號RSA0N11S9002
HK$106.43
單位
10 kΩ Slide 1 - Through Hole 0.5W - Linear - - Pin ±20% RSA0N -
RS庫存編號 486-7172
製造零件編號534B1104JC8872
BrandVishay
HK$295.13
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 167-3515
製造零件編號3310Y-001-104L
BrandBourns
HK$19.153
毎管:50 個
單位
100 kΩ Rotary 1 1 Panel Mount, Through Hole 0.25W 3.18 mm Linear - Conductive Plastic PC Pin ±20% 3310 12.7mm
RS庫存編號 522-3012
製造零件編號3540S-1-501L
BrandBourns
HK$259.44
單位
500 Ω Rotary 10 1 Panel Mount 2W 6.35 mm Linear - Wirewound Solder Lug ±5% 3540 20.6mm
RS庫存編號 522-0631
製造零件編號3310Y-001-104L
BrandBourns
HK$29.15
單位
100 kΩ Rotary 1 1 Panel Mount, Through Hole 0.25W 3.18 mm Linear - Conductive Plastic PC Pin ±20% 3310 12.7mm
RS庫存編號 294-3735
製造零件編號860B1102
BrandVishay
HK$1,364.96
單位
1 kΩ Rotary 10 1 Panel Mount 8W 6.35 mm Linear - Wirewound Solder Lug ±1% 860 20.6mm
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 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 167-3611
製造零件編號3682S-1-103L
BrandBourns
HK$231.518
個 (以毎盒:50)
單位
10 kΩ Digital Display - 2 Panel Mount 2W - - - - Solder Lug ±3% 3680 -
RS庫存編號 161-6890
製造零件編號3541H-1-502L
BrandBourns
HK$372.152
Each (In a Tray of 25)
單位
5 kΩ Rotary - 1 Panel Mount 2W 6.35 mm Linear - Wirewound Solder Lug ±10% 3541 20.6mm