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.

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 KnobsPotentiometer 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庫存編號 163-8379
製造零件編號1624146-2
TWD127.90
個 (以毎盒:200)
單位
470 kΩ Rotary 1 1 Panel Mount 0.4W 6.35 mm Linear - Carbon Solder Lug ±20% 23 50mm
RS庫存編號 172-6430
製造零件編號RK27112MC01P
TWD745.10
Each (In a Tray of 15)
單位
50 kΩ Rotary 1 - Panel Mount, Through Hole 0.05W 6 mm Logarithmic - Carbon Pin ±20% RK27 20mm
RS庫存編號 234-6617
製造零件編號RK27112MC01P
TWD1,069.00
單位
50 kΩ Rotary 1 - Panel Mount, Through Hole 0.05W 6 mm Logarithmic - Carbon Pin ±20% RK27 20mm
RS庫存編號 790-4435
製造零件編號P16NP472MAB15
BrandVishay
TWD497.00
單位
4.7 kΩ Rotary 1 1 Panel Mount 1W 16 mm Linear - Cermet Solder Lug ±20% P16 8.8mm
RS庫存編號 167-9487
製造零件編號534B1103JL
BrandVishay
TWD860.80
個 (以毎盒:10)
單位
10 kΩ Rotary 10 1 Panel Mount 2W 6.35 mm Linear - Wirewound Solder Lug ±5% 534 20.6mm
RS庫存編號 167-8751
製造零件編號P16NP472MAB15
BrandVishay
TWD497.40
個 (以毎盒:20)
單位
4.7 kΩ Rotary 1 1 Panel Mount 1W 16 mm Linear - Cermet Solder Lug ±20% P16 8.8mm
RS庫存編號 460-7526
製造零件編號534B1103JL
BrandVishay
TWD952.00
單位
10 kΩ Rotary 10 1 Panel Mount 2W 6.35 mm Linear - Wirewound Solder Lug ±5% 534 20.6mm
RS庫存編號 167-3205
製造零件編號3683S-1-502L
BrandBourns
TWD1,233.80
個 (以毎盒:50)
單位
5 kΩ Digital Display - 2 Panel Mount 2W - - - - Solder Lug ±3% 3680 -
RS庫存編號 165-5982
製造零件編號3683S-1-502L
BrandBourns
TWD2,133.00
單位
5 kΩ Digital Display - 2 Panel Mount 2W - - - - Solder Lug ±3% 3680 -
RS庫存編號 107-0779
製造零件編號3590S-2-502L
BrandBourns
TWD562.00
單位
5 kΩ Rotary 10 1 Panel Mount 2W 6.35 mm Linear - Wirewound Solder Lug ±5% 3590 20.6mm
RS庫存編號 850-9794
製造零件編號534-1-1-103
BrandVishay
TWD512.00
單位
10 kΩ Rotary 10 1 Bushing Mount 2W 6.35 mm Linear - Wirewound Turret ±5% 534 20.6mm
RS庫存編號 626-8375
製造零件編號3590S-2-502L
BrandBourns
TWD209.00
單位
5 kΩ Linear 10 - Panel Mount 2W 6.34 mm - - - Solder Lug ±5% - -
RS庫存編號 167-3584
製造零件編號3590S-2-502L
BrandBourns
TWD392.40
Each (In a Tray of 25)
單位
5 kΩ Rotary 10 1 Panel Mount 2W 6.35 mm Linear - Wirewound Solder Lug ±5% 3590 20.6mm
RS庫存編號 692-8632
製造零件編號PDB241-GTR02-254A2
BrandBourns
TWD117.00
單位
250 kΩ Rotary 1 1 Panel Mount 0.25W 6.35 mm Audio - Carbon Solder Lug ±20% PDB241-GTR 19mm
RS庫存編號 161-6775
製造零件編號PDB241-GTR02-254A2
BrandBourns
TWD80.40
個 (以毎袋:100)
單位
250 kΩ Rotary 1 1 Panel Mount 0.25W 6.35 mm Audio - Carbon Solder Lug ±20% PDB241-GTR 19mm
RS庫存編號 135-4432
製造零件編號1623760-2
TWD121.30
個 (以毎盒:200)
單位
10 kΩ Rotary 1 1 Panel Mount 0.4W 6.35 mm Linear - Carbon Solder Lug ±20% 23 50mm
RS庫存編號 850-9779
製造零件編號533-1-1-102
BrandVishay
TWD903.00
單位
1 kΩ Rotary 3 1 Bushing Mount 1W 6.35 mm Linear - Wirewound Turret ±5% 533 22.2mm
RS庫存編號 522-0631
製造零件編號3310Y-001-104L
BrandBourns
TWD94.00
單位
100 kΩ Rotary 1 1 Panel Mount, Through Hole 0.25W 3.18 mm Linear - Conductive Plastic PC Pin ±20% 3310 12.7mm
RS庫存編號 168-140
製造零件編號1623760-2
TWD173.00
單位
10 kΩ Rotary 1 1 Panel Mount 0.4W 6.35 mm Linear - Carbon Solder Lug ±20% 23 50mm
RS庫存編號 167-3515
製造零件編號3310Y-001-104L
BrandBourns
TWD71.20
毎管:50 個
單位
100 kΩ Rotary 1 1 Panel Mount, Through Hole 0.25W 3.18 mm Linear - Conductive Plastic PC Pin ±20% 3310 12.7mm