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. 167-9747
Mfr. Part No.14921F0GJSX13103KA
BrandVishay
$23.52
Each (In a Box of 60)
units
10kΩ Rotary 1 2 Panel Mount, Through Hole 1W 6.35 mm Linear - Cermet Pin ±10% 149 22.2mm
RS Stock No. 502-8536
Mfr. Part No.TW1100KA
$15.41
Each
units
10Ω Rotary 1 1 Panel Mount 1W 6.35 mm Linear - Wirewound Solder Lug ±10% TW 15mm
RS Stock No. 167-9760
Mfr. Part No.357B0502MXB054506
BrandVishay
$39.883
Each (In a Box of 50)
units
5kΩ Rotary Continuous 1 Panel Mount 1W 6.35 mm Linear - Conductive Plastic Turret ±20% 357 22.2mm
RS Stock No. 460-7431
Mfr. Part No.357B2102MAB251S22
BrandVishay
$50.28
Each
units
1kΩ Rotary 1 1 Panel Mount 1W 6.35 mm Linear - Conductive Plastic Turret ±20% 357 22.2mm
RS Stock No. 770-3074
Mfr. Part No.PDB183-GTR01-254A2
BrandBourns
$7.68
Each
units
250kΩ Rotary - 1 Panel Mount 0.1W 6 mm Audio - Carbon Solder Lug ±20% PDB183-GTR 19mm
RS Stock No. 790-4283
Mfr. Part No.PE30L0FR471KAB
BrandVishay
$29.52
Each
units
470Ω Rotary 1 1 Panel Mount 3W 6 mm Linear - Cermet Solder Lug ±10% PE30 50mm
RS Stock No. 850-9760
Mfr. Part No.357-0-0-1S22103
BrandVishay
$22.10
Each
units
10kΩ Rotary 1 1 Bushing Mount 1W 6.35 mm Linear - Conductive Plastic Solder Lug ±20% 357 22.2mm
RS Stock No. 167-9509
Mfr. Part No.157B202MX9001
BrandVishay
$50.517
Each (In a Box of 10)
units
2kΩ Rotary 1 1 Panel Mount 1W 6.35 mm Linear - Conductive Plastic Turret ±20% 157 22.2mm
RS Stock No. 460-1859
Mfr. Part No.357B0502MXB054506
BrandVishay
$39.83
Each
units
5kΩ Rotary Continuous 1 Panel Mount 1W 6.35 mm Linear - Conductive Plastic Turret ±20% 357 22.2mm
RS Stock No. 770-3056
Mfr. Part No.PDA241-HRT02-504A2
BrandBourns
$5.35
Each
units
500kΩ Rotary - 1 Panel Mount 0.25W 6.35 mm Logarithmic - Carbon Solder Lug ±15% PDA24 19mm
RS Stock No. 167-9768
Mfr. Part No.357B0202MAB251S22
BrandVishay
$23.181
Each (In a Box of 50)
units
2kΩ Rotary Continuous 1 Panel Mount 1W 22 mm Linear - Conductive Plastic Turret ±20% 357 22
RS Stock No. 249-9121
Mfr. Part No.RK097111030X
$4.40
Each
units
10kΩ Rotary 1 - Panel Mount, Through Hole 0.05W 6 mm Linear - - Pin ±20% RK097 -
RS Stock No. 263-3179
Mfr. Part No.RK11K1120ABF
$3.49
Each
units
50kΩ Rotary 1 - Panel Mount, Through Hole 0.05W 6 mm Logarithmic - - Pin ±20% RK11K -
RS Stock No. 691-7733
Mfr. Part No.PCW1J-B24-KCB103L
BrandBourns
$8.14
Each
units
10kΩ Rotary 1 1 Panel Mount 0.75W 6.35 mm Linear - Conductive Plastic PC Pin ±20% PC 19mm
RS Stock No. 172-8043
Mfr. Part No.RK12L12C0A0E
$0.891
Each (In a Tray of 80)
units
10kΩ Rotary 1 - Through Hole - 6 mm Logarithmic - - Pin ±20% RK12L -
RS Stock No. 387-723
Mfr. Part No.1624127-2
$8.37
Each
units
2.2kΩ Rotary 1 1 Panel Mount 0.4W 6.35 mm Linear - Carbon Solder Lug ±20% 23 50mm
RS Stock No. 167-4725
Mfr. Part No.6630S0D-B28-A502
BrandBourns
$30.119
Each (In a Tray of 25)
units
5kΩ Rotary Continuous 1 Panel Mount 1W 6.35 mm Linear - Conductive Plastic Solder Lug ±15% 6630 22.2mm
RS Stock No. 770-3100
Mfr. Part No.PTA6044-2015CPB103
BrandBourns
$3.00
Each
units
10kΩ Slide - 1 Through Hole 0.125W - Linear - Carbon PC Pin ±20% PTA 15mm
RS Stock No. 167-3610
Mfr. Part No.3682S-1-502L
BrandBourns
$38.027
Each (In a Box of 50)
units
5kΩ Digital Display - 2 Panel Mount 2W - - - - Solder Lug ±3% 3680 -
RS Stock No. 167-5458
Mfr. Part No.PTA6044-2015CPB103
BrandBourns
$2.10
Each (In a Tray of 100)
units
10kΩ Slide - 1 Through Hole 0.125W 4 mm Linear - Carbon PC Pin ±20% PTA 15mm
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