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.

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.


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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 Stock No. 172-6361
Mfr. Part No.RK1631110TWA
$2.777
Each (In a Box of 2400)
units
10kΩ Rotary 1 - Panel Mount, Through Hole 0.1W 6 mm Linear - - Pin ±10% RK163 -
RS Stock No. 249-9238
Mfr. Part No.RK1631110TWA
$6.44
Each
units
10kΩ Rotary 1 - Panel Mount, Through Hole 0.1W 6 mm Linear - - Pin ±10% RK163 -
RS Stock No. 249-9402
Mfr. Part No.RS451111401D
$4.92
Each
units
50kΩ Slide 1 - Through Hole 0.25W - Linear - - Pin ±20% RS45 -
RS Stock No. 172-7650
Mfr. Part No.RS451111401D
$2.705
Each (In a Tray of 260)
units
50kΩ Slide 1 - Through Hole 0.25W - Linear - - Pin ±20% RS45 -
RS Stock No. 172-6412
Mfr. Part No.RS60N1219005
$11.733
Each (In a Tray of 30)
units
10kΩ Slide 1 - Solder Lug 0.2W - Logarithmic - - Pin ±20% RS60N -
RS Stock No. 249-9339
Mfr. Part No.RS60N1219005
$9.15
Each
units
10kΩ Slide 1 - Solder Lug 0.2W - Logarithmic - - Pin ±20% RS60N -
RS Stock No. 234-6617
Mfr. Part No.RK27112MC01P
$46.20
Each
units
50kΩ Rotary 1 - Panel Mount, Through Hole 0.05W 6 mm Logarithmic - Carbon Pin ±20% RK27 20mm
RS Stock No. 172-6430
Mfr. Part No.RK27112MC01P
$42.293
Each (In a Tray of 15)
units
50kΩ Rotary 1 - Panel Mount, Through Hole 0.05W 6 mm Logarithmic - Carbon Pin ±20% RK27 20mm
RS Stock No. 172-6396
Mfr. Part No.RSA0N11S9002
$7.578
Each (In a Tray of 40)
units
10kΩ Slide 1 - Through Hole 0.5W - Linear - - Pin ±20% RSA0N -
RS Stock No. 263-3270
Mfr. Part No.RSA0N11S9002
$11.12
Each
units
10kΩ Slide 1 - Through Hole 0.5W - Linear - - Pin ±20% RSA0N -
RS Stock No. 172-7722
Mfr. Part No.RK27112A00A5
$22.82
Each (In a Box of 500)
units
10kΩ Rotary 1 - Panel Mount, Through Hole 0.05W 6 mm Logarithmic - - Pin ±20% RK27 -
RS Stock No. 219-9130
Mfr. Part No.RK27112A00A5
$37.96
Each
units
10kΩ Rotary 1 - Panel Mount, Through Hole 0.05W 6 mm Logarithmic - - Pin ±20% RK27 -
RS Stock No. 172-7698
Mfr. Part No.RSA0N1119006
$10.719
Each (In a Tray of 20)
units
10kΩ Slide - - Solder Lug 0.25W 18.5 mm Logarithmic - Carbon Pin ±20% RS60N -
RS Stock No. 249-9345
Mfr. Part No.RSA0N1119006
$9.49
Each
units
10kΩ Slide - - Solder Lug 0.25W - Logarithmic - Carbon Pin ±20% RS60N -
RS Stock No. 154-8178
Mfr. Part No.RK11K1140A3L
$1.342
Each (In a Bag of 5)
units
- Rotary 1 1 Through Hole 0.05W 6 mm Linear - - Solder ±20% RK11K 27.5mm
RS Stock No. 263-3191
Mfr. Part No.RK11K1140A3L
$1.41
Each
units
10kΩ Rotary 1 1 Through Hole 0.05W 6 mm Linear - Carbon Pin ±20% RK11K 27.5mm
RS Stock No. 249-9418
Mfr. Part No.RS6011Y1401A
$6.38
Each
units
50kΩ Slide 1 - Through Hole 0.2W - Linear - - Pin ±20% RS60 -
RS Stock No. 172-8114
Mfr. Part No.RS6011Y1401A
$4.994
Each (In a Tray of 90)
units
50kΩ Slide 1 - Through Hole 0.2W - Linear - - Pin ±20% RS60 -
RS Stock No. 234-6566
Mfr. Part No.RS60N111100B
$15.15
Each
units
10kΩ Slide - - Through Hole 0.5W - Linear - - Pin ±20% RS60N -
RS Stock No. 249-9294
Mfr. Part No.RK1631210AY7
$8.56
Each
units
10kΩ Rotary 1 - Panel Mount, Through Hole 0.1W 6 mm Linear - - Pin ±20% RK163 -