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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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. 248-6759
Mfr. Part No.3682S-1-103L
BrandBourns
€32.31
Each
units
10 kΩ Digital Display - 2 Panel Mount 2W - - - - Solder Lug ±3% 3680 -
RS Stock No. 165-5998
Mfr. Part No.3683S-1-103L
BrandBourns
€44.80
Each
units
10 kΩ Digital Display - 2 Panel Mount 2W - - - - Solder Lug ±3% 3680 -
RS Stock No. 172-8078
Mfr. Part No.RK09L114001T
€1.276
Each (In a Tray of 100)
units
10 kΩ Rotary 1 - Panel Mount, Through Hole 0.05W 6 mm Linear - - Pin ±20% RK09L -
RS Stock No. 387-745
Mfr. Part No.1623757-2
€5.49
Each
units
1 kΩ Rotary 1 1 Panel Mount 0.4W 6.35 mm Linear - Carbon Solder Lug ±20% 23 50mm
RS Stock No. 135-4478
Mfr. Part No.1623757-2
€4.343
Each (In a Box of 200)
units
1 kΩ Rotary 1 1 Panel Mount 0.4W 6.35 mm Linear - Carbon Solder Lug ±20% 23 50mm
RS Stock No. 249-9266
Mfr. Part No.RK1631110TVG
€1.63
Each
units
100 kΩ Rotary 1 - Panel Mount, Through Hole 0.1W 6 mm Linear - - Pin ±20% RK163 -
RS Stock No. 173-0720
BrandRS PRO
€1.286
Each (In a Box of 50)
units
1 kΩ - 1 - Panel Mount 1W 6 mm - - Wirewound Solder ±10% P25 25mm
RS Stock No. 842-7037
BrandRS PRO
€4.54
Each
units
1 kΩ Rotary 1 1 Panel Mount 1W 6 mm Linear - Wirewound Solder ±10% P25 25mm
RS Stock No. 163-8379
Mfr. Part No.1624146-2
€2.057
Each (In a Box of 200)
units
470 kΩ Rotary 1 1 Panel Mount 0.4W 6.35 mm Linear - Carbon Solder Lug ±20% 23 50mm
RS Stock No. 387-789
Mfr. Part No.1624146-2
€3.32
Each
units
470 kΩ Rotary 1 1 Panel Mount 0.4W 6.35 mm Linear - Carbon Solder Lug ±20% 23 50mm
RS Stock No. 790-4362
Mfr. Part No.P11S1V0FLSY00102KA
BrandVishay
€11.07
Each
units
1 kΩ Rotary 1 1 Panel Mount 1W 6 mm Linear - Cermet Solder Lug ±10% P11S 25mm
RS Stock No. 486-7093
Mfr. Part No.534B1103JC8872
BrandVishay
€22.04
Each
units
10 kΩ Linear 10 - Panel Mount 2W 6 mm - - - Solder Lug ±5% 534 -
RS Stock No. 135-4432
Mfr. Part No.1623760-2
€2.524
Each (In a Box of 200)
units
10 kΩ Rotary 1 1 Panel Mount 0.4W 6.35 mm Linear - Carbon Solder Lug ±20% 23 50mm
RS Stock No. 167-8866
Mfr. Part No.P11S1V0FLSY00102KA
BrandVishay
€8.51
Each (In a Box of 60)
units
1 kΩ Rotary 1 1 Panel Mount 1W 6 mm Linear - Cermet Solder Lug ±10% P11S 25mm
RS Stock No. 168-140
Mfr. Part No.1623760-2
€4.16
Each
units
10 kΩ Rotary 1 1 Panel Mount 0.4W 6.35 mm Linear - Carbon Solder Lug ±20% 23 50mm
RS Stock No. 167-9569
Mfr. Part No.534B1103JC8872
BrandVishay
€14.571
Each (In a Box of 10)
units
10 kΩ Rotary 10 1 Panel Mount 2W 6 mm Linear - Wirewound Solder Lug ±5% 534 20.6mm
RS Stock No. 469-1313
Mfr. Part No.05.061.7100
BrandRadiohm
€2.37
Each
units
1 MΩ Rotary - 1 Panel Mount 0.4W 6 mm Linear - Carbon Solder Lug ±20% POTM -
RS Stock No. 842-7030
BrandRS PRO
€4.54
Each
units
1 kΩ Rotary 1 1 Panel Mount 1W 6.35 mm Linear - Wirewound Solder ±10% P25 25mm
RS Stock No. 173-0714
BrandRS PRO
€1.286
Each (In a Box of 50)
units
1 kΩ - 1 - Panel Mount 1W 6.35 mm - - Wirewound Solder ±10% P25 25mm
RS Stock No. 107-0785
Mfr. Part No.3590S-2-103L
BrandBourns
€11.71
Each
units
10 kΩ Rotary 10 1 Panel Mount 2W 6.35 mm Linear - Wirewound Solder Lug ±5% 3590 20.6mm
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