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 504-2734
製造零件編號P9A2R100FISX1103ML
BrandVishay
TWD729.00
單位
10 kΩ Rotary 1 2 Panel Mount, Through Hole 0.025W 6 mm Logarithmic - Conductive Plastic Pin ±20% P9A 20mm
RS庫存編號 851-7367
製造零件編號84A1A-B28-J13L
BrandBourns
TWD866.50
/個 (每包:270個)
單位
5 kΩ Rotary 10 1 Bushing Mount 1W 6.35 mm Linear - Wirewound Solder Lug ±5% 84 22.2mm
RS庫存編號 167-5483
製造零件編號PDB181-GTR01-504A2
BrandBourns
TWD50.60
個 (以毎袋:100)
單位
500 kΩ Rotary - 1 Panel Mount 0.1W 6 mm Logarithmic - Carbon Solder Lug ±20% PDB181-GTR 19mm
RS庫存編號 770-3068
製造零件編號PDB181-GTR01-504A2
BrandBourns
TWD74.00
單位
500 kΩ Rotary - 1 Panel Mount 0.1W 6 mm Logarithmic - Carbon Solder Lug ±20% PDB181-GTR 19mm
RS庫存編號 850-9609
製造零件編號157-11103
BrandVishay
TWD645.00
單位
10 kΩ Rotary - 1 Bushing Mount 1W 6.35 mm Linear - Conductive Plastic Solder Lug ±20% 157 22.2mm
RS庫存編號 167-3587
製造零件編號3590S-2-203L
BrandBourns
TWD452.60
Each (In a Tray of 25)
單位
20 kΩ Rotary 10 1 Panel Mount 2W 6.35 mm Linear - Wirewound Solder Lug ±5% 3590 20.6mm
RS庫存編號 167-9560
製造零件編號248BBHS0XB25102MA
BrandVishay
TWD382.50
個 (以毎盒:50)
單位
1 kΩ Rotary 1 1 Panel Mount, Through Hole 0.5W 3.18 mm Linear - Conductive Plastic Pin ±20% 248 19.1mm
RS庫存編號 135-4477
製造零件編號1624139-2
TWD127.90
個 (以毎盒:200)
單位
4.7 kΩ Rotary 1 1 Panel Mount 0.4W 6.35 mm Linear - Carbon Solder Lug ±20% 23 50mm
RS庫存編號 317-780
BrandRS PRO
TWD1,514.00
單位
5 kΩ - 1 - Panel Mount - 3 mm Linear - Conductive Plastic Wire Lead ±20% LM10 -
RS庫存編號 107-0791
製造零件編號3590S-2-203L
BrandBourns
TWD562.00
單位
20 kΩ Rotary 10 1 Panel Mount 2W 6.35 mm Linear - Wirewound Solder Lug ±5% 3590 20.6mm
RS庫存編號 790-4426
製造零件編號P16NP222MAB15
BrandVishay
TWD523.00
單位
2.2 kΩ Rotary 1 1 Panel Mount 1W 16 mm Linear - Cermet Solder Lug ±20% P16 8.8mm
RS庫存編號 790-4429
製造零件編號P16NP474MAB15
BrandVishay
TWD501.00
單位
470 kΩ Rotary 1 1 Panel Mount 0.26W 16 mm Linear - Cermet Solder Lug ±20% P16 8.8mm
RS庫存編號 167-9548
製造零件編號P9A2R100FISX1103ML
BrandVishay
TWD556.30
個 (以毎盒:25)
單位
10 kΩ Rotary 1 2 Panel Mount, Through Hole 0.025W 6 mm Logarithmic - Conductive Plastic Pin ±20% P9A 20mm
RS庫存編號 789-9434
製造零件編號91A1D-C24-A15L
BrandBourns
TWD220.00
單位
10 kΩ Rotary 1 1 Panel Mount 2W 6.35 mm Linear - Cermet PC Pin ±10% 91 19mm
RS庫存編號 167-8747
製造零件編號P16NP222MAB15
BrandVishay
TWD482.40
個 (以毎盒:20)
單位
2.2 kΩ Rotary 1 1 Panel Mount 1W 16 mm Linear - Cermet Solder Lug ±20% P16 8.8mm
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
RS庫存編號 475-6050
製造零件編號M-22E10-050 5K
TWD602.00
單位
5 kΩ Rotary 10 - Panel Mount 2W 6 mm Linear - - Solder Lug ±5% - -
RS庫存編號 770-3080
製造零件編號PDB241-GTR03-504A2
BrandBourns
TWD138.00
單位
500 kΩ Rotary - 1 Panel Mount 0.25W 6 mm Audio - Carbon Solder Lug ±20% PDB241-GTR 27.5mm
RS庫存編號 602-3699
製造零件編號JC10-000-502N
TWD560.00
單位
5 kΩ Rotary 1 - Through Hole 1/8W 3 mm Linear - - Pin ±20% - -
RS庫存編號 410-479
製造零件編號248BBHS0XB25102MA
BrandVishay
TWD648.00
單位
1 kΩ Rotary 1 1 Panel Mount, Through Hole 0.5W 3.18 mm Linear - Conductive Plastic Pin ±20% 248 19.1mm