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 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 172-7549
製造零件編號RK09K1130081
TWD19.10
個 (以毎盒:1000)
單位
10 kΩ Rotary 1 - Through Hole 0.05W 6 mm Linear - - Pin ±20% RK09K -
RS庫存編號 173-574
製造零件編號157S502MB9002
BrandVishay
TWD3,239.00
單位
5 kΩ Rotary 1 1 Servo Mount 1W 3.18 mm Linear - Conductive Plastic Turret ±20% 157 22.2mm
RS庫存編號 486-7093
製造零件編號534B1103JC8872
BrandVishay
TWD1,034.00
單位
10 kΩ Rotary 10 1 Panel Mount 2W 6 mm Linear - Wirewound Solder Lug ±5% 534 20.6mm
RS庫存編號 162-2384
製造零件編號157B103MX9001
BrandVishay
TWD852.60
個 (以毎盒:10)
單位
10 kΩ Rotary 1 1 Panel Mount 1W 6.35 mm Linear - Conductive Plastic Turret ±20% 157 22.2mm
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
RS庫存編號 167-9569
製造零件編號534B1103JC8872
BrandVishay
TWD439.90
個 (以毎盒:10)
單位
10 kΩ Rotary 10 1 Panel Mount 2W 6 mm Linear - Wirewound Solder Lug ±5% 534 20.6mm
RS庫存編號 162-883
製造零件編號404802692030
TWD1,067.00
單位
470 kΩ Rotary 1 1 Panel Mount 2W 6.35 mm Linear - Cermet Pin ±10% M 25mm
RS庫存編號 827-5016
製造零件編號3590S-4-102L
BrandBourns
TWD624.00
單位
1 kΩ Rotary 10 1 Bushing Mount 2W 6.35 mm Linear - Wirewound Solder Lug ±5% 3590 20.6mm
RS庫存編號 167-0102
製造零件編號3590S-4-102L
BrandBourns
TWD514.80
Each (In a Tray of 25)
單位
1 kΩ Rotary 10 1 Bushing Mount 2W 6.35 mm Linear - Wirewound Solder Lug ±5% 3590 20.6mm
RS庫存編號 692-8478
製造零件編號3547S-1AA-103A
BrandBourns
TWD707.00
單位
10 kΩ Rotary 3 1 Panel Mount 1W 6.35 mm Linear - Wirewound Solder Lug ±3% 3547 20.6mm
RS庫存編號 173-760
製造零件編號157B103MX9001
BrandVishay
TWD1,030.00
單位
10 kΩ Rotary 1 1 Panel Mount 1W 6.35 mm Linear - Conductive Plastic Turret ±20% 157 22.2mm
RS庫存編號 167-9482
製造零件編號157S502MB9002
BrandVishay
TWD2,232.90
個 (以毎盒:10)
單位
5 kΩ Rotary 1 1 Servo Mount 1W 3.18 mm Linear - Conductive Plastic Turret ±20% 157 22.2mm
RS庫存編號 789-9374
製造零件編號3541H-1-502L
BrandBourns
TWD1,781.00
單位
5 kΩ Rotary - 1 Panel Mount 2W 6.35 mm Linear - Wirewound Solder Lug ±10% 3541 20.6mm
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 167-4523
製造零件編號3547S-1AA-103A
BrandBourns
TWD707.20
Each (In a Tray of 5)
單位
10 kΩ Rotary 3 1 Panel Mount 1W 6.35 mm Linear - Wirewound Solder Lug ±3% 3547 20.6mm
RS庫存編號 170-5314
BrandRS PRO
TWD1,548.10
個 (以毎盒:100)
單位
1 kΩ Linear 1 4 Panel Mount 1.5W 6.35 mm Linear - - Solder Lug ±10% CLR4000 -
RS庫存編號 729-3688
製造零件編號RK12L12C0A0E
TWD36.00
單位
10 kΩ Rotary 1 2 Through Hole - 6 mm Logarithmic - - Pin ±20% RK12L 25mm
RS庫存編號 172-6335
製造零件編號RK09L1140A5P
TWD40.40
Each (In a Tray of 100)
單位
50 kΩ Rotary 1 - Panel Mount, Through Hole 0.05W 6 mm Linear - - Pin ±20% RK09L -
RS庫存編號 161-6895
製造零件編號91A1D-C24-A15L
BrandBourns
TWD178.30
Each (In a Tray of 45)
單位
10 kΩ Rotary 1 1 Panel Mount 2W 6.35 mm Linear - Cermet PC Pin ±10% 91 19mm