Potentiometers

What is a potentiometer?



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 Knobs

Potentiometer Accessories

Potentiometer Mounting Nuts

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Viewing 1881 - 1888 of 1888 products
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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. 692-8478
Mfr. Part No.3547S-1AA-103A
BrandBourns
$34.68
Each
units
10kΩ Rotary 3 1 Panel Mount 1W 6.35 mm Linear - Wirewound Solder Lug ±3% 3547 20.6mm
RS Stock No. 168-0025
Mfr. Part No.P11P1F0GGSY00502KA
BrandVishay
$18.24
Each (In a Box of 30)
units
5kΩ Rotary 1 1 Panel Mount 1W 6.35 mm Linear - Cermet Solder Lug ±10% P11P 15.9mm
RS Stock No. 182-5650
Mfr. Part No.M-22E10 5K
$30.89
Each
units
5kΩ Rotary 10 1 - 2W 6 mm Linear - Wirewound Solder ±5% M 15mm
RS Stock No. 410-328
Mfr. Part No.249BBHS0XB25104KA
BrandVishay
$15.38
Each
units
100kΩ Rotary 1 1 Panel Mount, Through Hole 1W 3.18 mm Linear - Cermet Pin ±10% 249 19.1mm
RS Stock No. 167-0102
Mfr. Part No.3590S-4-102L
BrandBourns
$25.65
Each (In a Tray of 25)
units
1kΩ Rotary 10 1 Bushing Mount 2W 6.35 mm Linear - Wirewound Solder Lug ±5% 3590 20.6mm
RS Stock No. 167-8864
Mfr. Part No.P16NM102MAB15
BrandVishay
$39.881
Each (In a Box of 20)
units
1kΩ Rotary - 1 Panel Mount 1W 16 mm Linear - Cermet Solder Lug ±20% P16 9.4mm
RS Stock No. 410-261
Mfr. Part No.249BBHS0XB25102KA
BrandVishay
$15.38
Each
units
1kΩ Rotary 1 1 Panel Mount, Through Hole 1W 3.18 mm Linear - Cermet Pin ±10% 249 19.1mm
RS Stock No. 181-4453
Mfr. Part No.3590S-4-103L
BrandBourns
$30.72
Each
units
10kΩ Linear 10 1 Panel Mount 2W - Linear - Wirewound Solder ±5% 3590S 20.63mm
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