Trimmer Resistors

What are trimmer potentiometers?

Trimmer potentiometers, sometimes referred to as trim pots or trimmer resistors are a type of adjustable potentiometer (variable resistor). They are used to calibrate and fine-tune circuits. Trimmer potentiometers are typically constructed from cermet or have a carbon composition. They can be mounted directly onto PCBs (printed circuit boards).

Trimmer potentiometers are not adjusted very frequently. You can think of them as a ’set and forget’ component. Trim pots let you set (or trim) the resistance to obtain a very precise current, output voltage or gain. Once the value has been set, it is unlikely that you’ll need to adjust the trimmer again unless you need to recalibrate the circuit.

Can I replace a normal potentiometer with a trimmer potentiometer?

Yes, you can. However, trimmer potentiometers are typically more expensive than standard potentiometers with a fixed resistance rating. It is also worth bearing in mind the difference in lifespan too. Many potentiometers have a lifespan that allows for hundreds of thousands of cycles. Trimmer potentiometers typically have a lifespan of a few hundred cycles (at best). Trim pots also tend to take up more space on a PCB than a standard potentiometer.

Do I need a single turn or multiturn trim pot?

This completely depends on the intended application of the trim pot. Multiturn trimmer pots tend to have a higher resolution than single turn models. A single turn trimmer potentiometer is ideal for applications where a resolution of one turn is enough.

Adjustment types

Trimmer potentiometers are normally adjusted by hand (you can turn the adjustment knob with your fingers), with a screwdriver or with a specialised adjustment tool designed for use with a particular model or series.

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Description Price Maximum Resistance Mounting Type Number of Turns Orientation Power Rating Series Termination Style Length Tolerance Depth Temperature Coefficient Height Dimensions Maximum Voltage Rating
RS Stock No. 619-7784
Mfr. Part No.SV01A103AEA01R00
10kΩ Surface Mount 1 Top Adjust - SV01 Gull Wing 11mm ±30% - ±500ppm/°C - - -
RS Stock No. 166-9612
Mfr. Part No.SV01A103AEA01R00
Each (On a Reel of 1000)
10kΩ Surface Mount - Top Adjust - SV01 Gull Wing 11mm ±30% - ±500ppm/°C - - -
RS Stock No. 788-4293
Mfr. Part No.PVZ3K102E01R00
1kΩ Surface Mount 1 Top Adjust 0.1W PVZ3 Gull Wing 3.1mm ±30% - ±500ppm/°C - - -
RS Stock No. 788-4307
Mfr. Part No.PV12P204A01B00
200kΩ Through Hole 4 Top Adjust 0.5W PV12 Solder Pin - ±10% - ±100ppm/°C - - -