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. 173-0749
BrandRS PRO
$9.67
Each (In a Box of 50)
units
50kΩ Rotary 1 - Panel Mount 3W 6.35 mm Linear - Wirewound Solder ±10% P40 68mm
RS Stock No. 173-0759
BrandRS PRO
$13.345
Each (In a Box of 50)
units
5kΩ - 1 - Panel Mount 1W 6.35 mm - - Wirewound Solder ±20% P25 22mm
RS Stock No. 842-7015
BrandRS PRO
$27.03
Each
units
5kΩ Rotary 1 1 Panel Mount 3W 6.35 mm Linear - Wirewound Solder ±10% P40 68mm
RS Stock No. 842-7100
BrandRS PRO
$33.64
Each
units
5kΩ Rotary 1 1 Panel Mount 3W 6.35 mm Linear - Wirewound Solder ±10% P40 68mm
RS Stock No. 173-0765
BrandRS PRO
$30.80
Each (In a Box of 50)
units
10kΩ - - - - - - Linear - Conductive Plastic Solder Tab ±50% 149703 25mm
RS Stock No. 173-0740
BrandRS PRO
$5.319
Each (In a Box of 50)
units
5kΩ - 1 - Panel Mount 3W 6.35 mm - - Wirewound Solder ±10% P40 68mm
RS Stock No. 173-0778
BrandRS PRO
$288.862
Each (In a Box of 5)
units
5kΩ Linear - - Spring Return - - Linear - Conductive Plastic - ±20% WT22 -
RS Stock No. 173-0737
BrandRS PRO
$5.319
Each (In a Box of 50)
units
10kΩ - 1 - Panel Mount 3W 6.35 mm - - Wirewound Solder ±10% P40 68mm
RS Stock No. 173-0723
BrandRS PRO
$3.868
Each (In a Box of 50)
units
250Ω - 1 - Panel Mount 1W 6.35 mm - - Wirewound Solder ±10% P25 25mm
RS Stock No. 842-7028
BrandRS PRO
$29.11
Each
units
2kΩ Rotary 1 1 Panel Mount 3W 6.35 mm Linear - Wirewound Solder ±10% P40 68mm
RS Stock No. 842-7056
BrandRS PRO
$8.65
Each
units
10Ω Rotary 1 1 Panel Mount 1W 6 mm Linear - Wirewound Solder ±10% P25 25mm
RS Stock No. 173-0756
BrandRS PRO
$13.296
Each (In a Box of 50)
units
1kΩ - 1 - Bushing Mount 1W 6.35 mm - - Conductive Plastic Solder ±20% NP22 25mm
RS Stock No. 173-0736
BrandRS PRO
$4.787
Each (In a Box of 50)
units
2kΩ - 1 - Panel Mount 3W 6.35 mm - - Wirewound Solder ±10% P40 68mm
RS Stock No. 173-0762
BrandRS PRO
$27.609
Each (In a Box of 50)
units
5kΩ - - - - - - Linear - Conductive Plastic Solder Tab ±50% 149703 25mm
RS Stock No. 170-5317
BrandRS PRO
$76.173
Each (In a Box of 100)
units
2.5kΩ Linear 1 4 Panel Mount 1.5W 6.35 mm Linear - - Solder Lug ±10% CLR4000 -
RS Stock No. 173-0757
BrandRS PRO
$13.345
Each (In a Box of 50)
units
1kΩ - 1 - Panel Mount 1W 6.35 mm - - Wirewound Solder ±10% P25 25mm
RS Stock No. 842-7210
BrandRS PRO
$33.91
Each
units
5kΩ Linear - 1 - - - Linear - Conductive Plastic Solder Tab ±50% 149703 25mm
RS Stock No. 812-831
BrandRS PRO
$102.23
Each
units
2.5kΩ Rotary 1 4 Panel Mount 1.5W 6.35 mm Linear - Wirewound Solder Lug ±10% CLR4000 -
RS Stock No. 842-7103
BrandRS PRO
$15.96
Each
units
1kΩ Rotary 1 1 Panel Mount 1W 6.35 mm Linear - Wirewound Solder ±10% P25 25mm
RS Stock No. 173-0753
BrandRS PRO
$12.088
Each (In a Box of 50)
units
1kΩ - 1 - Panel Mount 1W 6.35 mm - - Conductive Plastic Solder ±20% NP23 20mm
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