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. 850-9794
Mfr. Part No.534-1-1-103
BrandVishay
kr 124,82
Each
Units
10 kΩ Rotary 10 1 Bushing Mount 2W 6.35 mm Linear - Wirewound Turret ±5% 534 20.6mm
RS Stock No. 167-3604
Mfr. Part No.93R1A-R22-A15L
BrandBourns
kr 39,375
Each (In a Tray of 45)
Units
10 kΩ Rotary 1 1 Panel Mount, Through Hole 2W 6 mm Linear - Cermet PC Pin ±10% 93 22mm
RS Stock No. 745-6784
Mfr. Part No.23ESB222MMF50NF
kr 58,82
Each
Units
2.2 kΩ Rotary 1 1 Panel Mount 0.2W 6.35 mm Logarithmic - Carbon Solder Lug ±20% 23 50mm
RS Stock No. 125-4404
Mfr. Part No.XB4BD912R4K7
kr 606,28
Each
Units
4.7 kΩ Rotary - 1 Panel Mount 1W 6 mm Linear - Cermet Faston, Plug In Connector, Screw ±10% XB4 30.2mm
RS Stock No. 790-4173
Mfr. Part No.P16NM222MAB15
BrandVishay
kr 202,49
Each
Units
2.2 kΩ Rotary 1 1 Panel Mount 1W 16 mm Linear - Cermet Solder Lug ±20% P16 9.4mm
RS Stock No. 263-3258
Mfr. Part No.RK27112A00A6
kr 250,75
Each
Units
20 kΩ Rotary 1 - Panel Mount, Through Hole 0.05W 6 mm Logarithmic - - Pin ±20% RK27 -
RS Stock No. 161-6923
Mfr. Part No.3549S-1AA-202A
BrandBourns
kr 155,752
Each (In a Tray of 5)
Units
2 kΩ Rotary 10 1 Panel Mount 2W 6.35 mm Linear - Wirewound Solder Lug ±3% 3549 20.6mm
RS Stock No. 790-4410
Mfr. Part No.P16NP102MAB15
BrandVishay
kr 132,00
Each
Units
1 kΩ Rotary 1 1 Panel Mount 1W 16 mm Linear - Cermet Solder Lug ±20% P16 8.8mm
RS Stock No. 167-8736
Mfr. Part No.P16NM222MAB15
BrandVishay
kr 109,062
Each (In a Box of 20)
Units
2.2 kΩ Rotary 1 1 Panel Mount 1W 16 mm Linear - Cermet Solder Lug ±20% P16 9.4mm
RS Stock No. 167-8743
Mfr. Part No.P16NP102MAB15
BrandVishay
kr 99,69
Each (In a Box of 20)
Units
1 kΩ Rotary 1 1 Panel Mount 1W 16 mm Linear - Cermet Solder Lug ±20% P16 8.8mm
RS Stock No. 692-8522
Mfr. Part No.3549S-1AA-202A
BrandBourns
kr 163,51
Each
Units
2 kΩ Rotary 10 1 Panel Mount 2W 6.35 mm Linear - Wirewound Solder Lug ±3% 3549 20.6mm
RS Stock No. 172-8149
Mfr. Part No.RK27112A00A6
kr 102,689
Each (In a Box of 500)
Units
20 kΩ Rotary 1 - Panel Mount, Through Hole 0.05W 6 mm Logarithmic - - Pin ±20% RK27 -
RS Stock No. 164-2649
Mfr. Part No.6639S-1-102
BrandBourns
kr 150,15
Each
Units
1 kΩ Rotary Continuous 1 Panel Mount 1W 6.35 mm Linear - Conductive Plastic Solder Turret ±15% 6639 22.2mm
RS Stock No. 522-5305
Mfr. Part No.93R1A-R22-A15L
BrandBourns
kr 50,25
Each
Units
10 kΩ Rotary 1 1 Panel Mount, Through Hole 2W 6 mm Linear - Cermet PC Pin ±10% 93 22mm
RS Stock No. 107-0785
Mfr. Part No.3590S-2-103L
BrandBourns
kr 116,75
Each
Units
10 kΩ Rotary 10 1 Panel Mount 2W 6.35 mm Linear - Wirewound Solder Lug ±5% 3590 20.6mm
RS Stock No. 164-3561
Mfr. Part No.23ESB222MMF50NF
kr 34,229
Each (In a Box of 200)
Units
2.2 kΩ Rotary 1 1 Panel Mount 0.2W 6.35 mm Logarithmic - Carbon Solder Lug ±20% 23 50mm
RS Stock No. 167-3590
Mfr. Part No.6639S-1-102
BrandBourns
kr 127,604
Each (In a Tray of 25)
Units
1 kΩ Rotary Continuous 1 Panel Mount 1W 6.35 mm Linear - Conductive Plastic Solder Turret ±15% 6639 22.2mm
RS Stock No. 168-140
Mfr. Part No.1623760-2
kr 41,87
Each
Units
10 kΩ Rotary 1 1 Panel Mount 0.4W 6.35 mm Linear - Carbon Solder Lug ±20% 23 50mm
RS Stock No. 263-3270
Mfr. Part No.RSA0N11S9002
kr 59,12
Each
Units
10 kΩ Slide 1 - Through Hole 0.5W - Linear - - Pin ±20% RSA0N -
RS Stock No. 756-0164
Mfr. Part No.3852A-282-252AL
BrandBourns
kr 101,49
Each
Units
2.5 kΩ Rotary 1 1 Panel Mount 2W 6.35 mm Linear - Cermet Solder Lug ±10% 3852 22.2mm
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