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. 831-8790
Mfr. Part No.53C3250K
BrandHoneywell
kr 119,24
Each
Units
250 kΩ Rotary - 1 Panel Mount 2W 6.35 mm Linear - Conductive Plastic Solder Lug ±10% 53C 22.2mm
RS Stock No. 831-6675
Mfr. Part No.53C120K
BrandHoneywell
kr 131,40
Each
Units
20 kΩ Rotary - 1 Panel Mount 2W 6.35 mm Linear - Conductive Plastic Solder Lug ±10% 53C 19.1mm
RS Stock No. 831-0497
Mfr. Part No.380C3500
BrandHoneywell
kr 167,70
Each
Units
500 Ω Rotary - 1 Panel Mount 2W 6.35 mm Linear - Conductive Plastic Solder Lug ±10% 380 22.2mm
RS Stock No. 854-1669
Mfr. Part No.53C33500
BrandHoneywell
kr 116,85
Each
Units
3.5 kΩ Rotary 1 1 Surface Mount 2W 6.35 mm Linear - Conductive Plastic Solder Lug ±10% 53C 22.2mm
RS Stock No. 831-0336
Mfr. Part No.308N10K
BrandHoneywell
kr 184,84
Each
Units
10 kΩ Rotary - 1 - 0.5W 3.18 mm Linear - Conductive Plastic Solder Hook ±10% 308 19.1mm
RS Stock No. 831-8731
Mfr. Part No.53C21K
BrandHoneywell
kr 63,59
Each
Units
1 kΩ Rotary - 1 Panel Mount 2W 6.35 mm Linear - Conductive Plastic Solder Lug ±10% 53C 15.9mm
RS Stock No. 831-0507
Mfr. Part No.380C35000
BrandHoneywell
kr 162,81
Each
Units
5 kΩ Rotary - 1 Panel Mount 2W 6.35 mm Linear - Conductive Plastic Solder Lug ±10% 380 22.2mm
RS Stock No. 831-8807
Mfr. Part No.53C350
BrandHoneywell
kr 120,04
Each
Units
50 Ω Rotary - 1 Panel Mount 2W 6.35 mm Linear - Conductive Plastic Solder Lug ±10% 53C 22.2mm
RS Stock No. 831-0695
Mfr. Part No.73JA2K
BrandHoneywell
kr 228,81
Each
Units
2 kΩ Rotary 10 1 Panel Mount 2W 6.35 mm Linear - Wirewound Solder Lug ±5% 73 -
RS Stock No. 831-6681
Mfr. Part No.53C1250K
BrandHoneywell
kr 178,06
Each
Units
250 kΩ Rotary - 1 Panel Mount 2W 6.35 mm Linear - Conductive Plastic Solder Lug ±10% 53C 19.1mm
RS Stock No. 831-6704
Mfr. Part No.73JA5K
BrandHoneywell
kr 460,61
Each
Units
5 kΩ Rotary 10 1 Panel Mount 2W 6.35 mm Linear - Wirewound Solder Lug ±5% 73 20.6mm
RS Stock No. 831-0447
Mfr. Part No.380C12500
BrandHoneywell
kr 184,15
Each
Units
2.5 kΩ Rotary - 1 Panel Mount 2W 6.35 mm Linear - Conductive Plastic Solder Lug ±10% 380 50.8mm
RS Stock No. 831-8772
Mfr. Part No.53C31K
BrandHoneywell
kr 116,85
Each
Units
1 kΩ Rotary - 1 Panel Mount 2W 6.35 mm Linear - Conductive Plastic Solder Lug ±10% 53C 22.2mm
RS Stock No. 831-6687
Mfr. Part No.53C12500
BrandHoneywell
kr 131,40
Each
Units
2.5 kΩ Rotary - 1 Panel Mount 2W 6.35 mm Linear - Conductive Plastic Solder Lug ±10% 53C 19.1mm
RS Stock No. 831-8762
Mfr. Part No.53C310K
BrandHoneywell
kr 118,94
Each
Units
10 kΩ Rotary - 1 Panel Mount 2W 6.35 mm Linear - Conductive Plastic Solder Lug ±10% 53C 22.2mm
RS Stock No. 831-6669
Mfr. Part No.53C110K
BrandHoneywell
kr 129,51
Each
Units
10 kΩ Rotary - 1 Panel Mount 2W 6.35 mm Linear - Conductive Plastic Solder Lug ±10% 53C 19.1mm
RS Stock No. 831-6791
Mfr. Part No.JA1N056S252UA
BrandHoneywell
kr 763,30
Each
Units
2.5 kΩ Rotary 1 1 Panel Mount 2W 6.35 mm Linear - Carbon Solder ±10% J 22.2mm
RS Stock No. 831-0431
Mfr. Part No.380C110K
BrandHoneywell
kr 183,65
Each
Units
10 kΩ Rotary - 1 Panel Mount 2W 6.35 mm Linear - Conductive Plastic Solder Lug - 380 50.8mm
RS Stock No. 831-0605
Mfr. Part No.392JA10K
BrandHoneywell
kr 142,37
Each
Units
10 kΩ Rotary - 1 Panel Mount 0.5W 3.18 mm Linear - Conductive Plastic PC ±10% 392 22.2mm
RS Stock No. 831-6785
Mfr. Part No.JA1N056S202UA
BrandHoneywell
kr 491,72
Each
Units
2 kΩ Rotary 1 1 Panel Mount 2W 6.35 mm Linear - Carbon Solder ±10% J 22.2mm