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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Digital Potentiometers

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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. 173-0775
BrandRS PRO
€67.934
Each (In a Box of 5)
units
5kΩ Linear - - Spring Return - - Linear - Conductive Plastic - ±20% WT22 -
RS Stock No. 812-881
BrandRS PRO
€40.08
Each
units
50kΩ Rotary 1 4 Panel Mount 1.5W 6.35 mm Linear - Wirewound Solder Lug ±10% CLR4000 -
RS Stock No. 842-7147
BrandRS PRO
€20.77
Each
units
1kΩ Rotary 1 1 Panel Mount 1W 3 mm Linear - Conductive Plastic Solder ±20% NPS22 12mm
RS Stock No. 173-0733
BrandRS PRO
€1.175
Each (In a Box of 50)
units
50Ω - 1 - Panel Mount 1W 6.35 mm - - Wirewound Solder ±10% P25 25mm
RS Stock No. 173-0764
BrandRS PRO
€7.33
Each (In a Box of 50)
units
5kΩ - - - - - - Linear - Conductive Plastic Solder Tab ±50% 149703 25mm
RS Stock No. 842-7100
BrandRS PRO
€16.20
Each
units
5kΩ Rotary 1 1 Panel Mount 3W 6.35 mm Linear - Wirewound Solder ±10% P40 68mm
RS Stock No. 842-7015
BrandRS PRO
€4.16
Each
units
5kΩ Rotary 1 1 Panel Mount 3W 6.35 mm Linear - Wirewound Solder ±10% P40 68mm
RS Stock No. 842-7028
BrandRS PRO
€16.20
Each
units
2kΩ Rotary 1 1 Panel Mount 3W 6.35 mm Linear - Wirewound Solder ±10% P40 68mm
RS Stock No. 173-0754
BrandRS PRO
€3.663
Each (In a Box of 50)
units
1kΩ - 1 - Panel Mount 1W 6.35 mm - - Conductive Plastic Solder ±20% NP23 20mm
RS Stock No. 173-0778
BrandRS PRO
€88.316
Each (In a Box of 5)
units
5kΩ Linear - - Spring Return - - Linear - Conductive Plastic - ±20% WT22 -
RS Stock No. 842-7074
BrandRS PRO
€4.54
Each
units
50Ω Rotary 1 1 Panel Mount 1W 6.35 mm Linear - Wirewound Solder ±10% P25 25mm
RS Stock No. 173-0781
BrandRS PRO
€103.948
Each (In a Box of 5)
units
10kΩ Linear - - Spring Return - - Linear - Conductive Plastic - ±20% WT22 -
RS Stock No. 812-803
BrandRS PRO
€40.08
Each
units
500Ω Rotary 1 - Panel Mount 1.5W 6.35 mm Linear - Wirewound Solder Lug ±10% CLR4000 -
RS Stock No. 173-0749
BrandRS PRO
€2.938
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. 173-0776
BrandRS PRO
€74.724
Each (In a Box of 5)
units
5kΩ Linear - - Spring Return - - Linear - Conductive Plastic - ±20% WT22 -
RS Stock No. 842-7006
BrandRS PRO
€16.20
Each
units
10kΩ Rotary 1 1 Panel Mount 3W 6.35 mm Linear - Wirewound Solder ±10% P40 68mm
RS Stock No. 173-0780
BrandRS PRO
€98.514
Each (In a Box of 5)
units
10kΩ Linear - - Spring Return - - Linear - Conductive Plastic - ±20% WT22 -
RS Stock No. 173-0751
BrandRS PRO
€3.35
Each (In a Box of 50)
units
5kΩ Rotary - - - 0.5W 5 mm - - Conductive Plastic Solder ±20% NP24HS -
RS Stock No. 173-0753
BrandRS PRO
€3.663
Each (In a Box of 50)
units
1kΩ - 1 - Panel Mount 1W 6.35 mm - - Conductive Plastic Solder ±20% NP23 20mm
RS Stock No. 842-7157
BrandRS PRO
€76.99
Each
units
1kΩ Rotary 1 1 Servo Mount 3W 6 mm Linear - Conductive Plastic Solder ±20% 50CP 21.5mm
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