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 692-8639
製造零件編號PDB241-GTR01-504A2
BrandBourns
TWD129.00
單位
500 kΩ Rotary 1 1 Panel Mount 0.25W 6 mm Audio - Carbon Solder Lug ±20% PDB241-GTR 19mm
RS庫存編號 387-739
製造零件編號1624139-2
TWD182.00
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 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 167-4683
製造零件編號PDB241-GTR01-504A2
BrandBourns
TWD88.50
個 (以毎袋:100)
單位
500 kΩ Rotary 1 1 Panel Mount 0.25W 6 mm Audio - Carbon Solder Lug ±20% PDB241-GTR 19mm
RS庫存編號 167-8748
製造零件編號P16NP474MAB15
BrandVishay
TWD466.50
個 (以毎盒:20)
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 850-9527
製造零件編號132-0-0-102
BrandVishay
TWD887.00
單位
1 kΩ Rotary Continuous 1 Bushing Mount 2.75W 6.35 mm Linear - Wirewound Solder Lug ±3% 132 22.2mm
RS庫存編號 522-0681
製造零件編號3310Y-001-502L
BrandBourns
TWD99.00
單位
5 kΩ Rotary Continuous 1 Servo Mount 0.25W 3.18 mm Linear - Conductive Plastic PC Pin ±20% 3310 12.7mm
RS庫存編號 135-4476
製造零件編號1624127-2
TWD151.90
個 (以毎盒:200)
單位
2.2 kΩ Rotary 1 1 Panel Mount 0.4W 6.35 mm Linear - Carbon Solder Lug ±20% 23 50mm
RS庫存編號 167-4575
製造零件編號3386V-1-103LF
BrandBourns
TWD42.10
毎管:50 個
單位
10 kΩ Trimmer 1 1 Through Hole 0.5W - Linear - Cermet PC Pin ±10% 3386 -
RS庫存編號 172-8128
製造零件編號RK0971221Z05
TWD116.30
Each (In a Tray of 70)
單位
10 kΩ Rotary 1 - Panel Mount, Through Hole 0.05W 6 mm Logarithmic - - Pin ±20% RK097 -
RS庫存編號 167-9344
製造零件編號860B1501
BrandVishay
TWD4,603.20
個 (以毎盒:10)
單位
500 Ω Rotary 10 1 Panel Mount 8W 6.35 mm Linear - Wirewound Solder Lug ±1% 860 20.6mm
RS庫存編號 167-8739
製造零件編號P16NM104MAB15
BrandVishay
TWD921.90
個 (以毎盒:20)
單位
100 kΩ Rotary 1 1 Panel Mount 1W 16 mm Linear - Cermet Solder Lug ±20% P16 9.4mm
RS庫存編號 790-4186
製造零件編號P16NM104MAB15
BrandVishay
TWD983.00
單位
100 kΩ Rotary 1 1 Panel Mount 1W 16 mm Linear - Cermet Solder Lug ±20% P16 9.4mm
RS庫存編號 484-9247
製造零件編號14920F0GJSX13502KA
BrandVishay
TWD795.00
單位
5 kΩ Rotary 1 2 Panel Mount, Through Hole 1W 6.35 mm Linear - Cermet Pin ±10% 149 22.2mm
RS庫存編號 172-6272
製造零件編號RK09D1130C2P
TWD18.10
個 (以毎盒:1000)
單位
10 kΩ Rotary 1 - Through Hole 0.05W 6 mm Linear - - Pin ±20% RK09D -
RS庫存編號 167-3598
製造零件編號3540S-1-102L
BrandBourns
TWD643.00
Each (In a Tray of 25)
單位
1 kΩ Rotary 10 1 Panel Mount 2W 6.35 mm Linear - Wirewound Solder Lug ±5% 3540 20.6mm
RS庫存編號 164-4093
製造零件編號27ESA472MMF50NF
TWD151.90
個 (以毎盒:100)
單位
4.7 kΩ Rotary 1 2 Panel Mount 0.4W 6.35 mm Linear - Carbon Solder Lug ±20% 27 50mm
RS庫存編號 850-9448
製造零件編號860-1-1-502
BrandVishay
TWD5,739.00
單位
5 kΩ Rotary 10 1 Bushing Mount 8W 6.35 mm Linear - Wirewound Solder Lug ±3% 860 20.6mm
RS庫存編號 294-3729
製造零件編號860B1501
BrandVishay
TWD4,859.00
單位
500 Ω Rotary 10 1 Panel Mount 8W 6.35 mm Linear - Wirewound Solder Lug ±1% 860 20.6mm
RS庫存編號 249-9294
製造零件編號RK1631210AY7
TWD220.00
單位
10 kΩ Rotary 1 - Panel Mount, Through Hole 0.1W 6 mm Linear - - Pin ±20% RK163 -