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 167-9549
製造零件編號P9A2R100FISX1503ML
BrandVishay
TWD556.30
個 (以毎盒:25)
單位
50 kΩ Rotary 1 2 Panel Mount, Through Hole 0.025W 6 mm Logarithmic - Conductive Plastic Pin ±20% P9A 20mm
RS庫存編號 460-7582
製造零件編號534B1502JLB
BrandVishay
TWD1,227.00
單位
5 kΩ Rotary 10 1 Panel Mount 2W 6.35 mm Linear - Wirewound Solder Lug ±5% 534 20.6mm
RS庫存編號 827-5035
製造零件編號PTD901-2015K-B103
BrandBourns
TWD57.00
單位
10 kΩ Rotary - 1 - 0.05W 6 mm Linear - Carbon PC Pin ±25% PTD90 15mm
RS庫存編號 162-2388
製造零件編號PRV6SAABJYB25502KA
BrandVishay
TWD339.10
個 (以毎盒:50)
單位
5 kΩ Rotary 1 1 Panel Mount 0.75W 3.18 mm Linear - Cermet Solder Lug ±20% PRV6 22mm
RS庫存編號 729-3625
製造零件編號RK09K1110AH8
TWD21.00
單位
20 kΩ Rotary 1 1 Through Hole 0.05W 6 mm Linear - - Pin ±20% RK09K 15mm
RS庫存編號 827-4984
製造零件編號91R1A-R22-B10L
BrandBourns
TWD201.00
單位
1 kΩ Rotary 1 1 Panel Mount 2W 6 mm Linear - Conductive Plastic PC Pin ±20% 91 22mm
RS庫存編號 691-6888
製造零件編號3310P-001-102L
BrandBourns
TWD99.00
單位
1 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 167-8866
製造零件編號P11S1V0FLSY00102KA
BrandVishay
TWD376.10
個 (以毎盒:60)
單位
1 kΩ Rotary 1 1 Panel Mount 1W 6 mm Linear - Cermet Solder Lug ±10% P11S 25mm
RS庫存編號 502-8609
製造零件編號TW1102KA
TWD462.00
單位
1 kΩ Rotary 1 1 Panel Mount 1W 6.35 mm Linear - Wirewound Solder Lug ±10% TW 15mm
RS庫存編號 173-0754
BrandRS PRO
TWD159.80
個 (以毎盒:50)
單位
1 kΩ - 1 - Panel Mount 1W 6.35 mm - - Conductive Plastic Solder ±20% NP23 20mm
RS庫存編號 167-8741
製造零件編號P16NP104MAB15
BrandVishay
TWD439.20
個 (以毎盒:20)
單位
100 kΩ Rotary 1 1 Panel Mount 1W 16 mm Linear - Cermet Solder Lug ±20% P16 8.8mm
RS庫存編號 162-855
製造零件編號404802692040
TWD837.00
單位
47 kΩ Rotary 1 1 Panel Mount 2W 6.35 mm Linear - Cermet Pin ±10% M 25.4mm
RS庫存編號 236-9604
製造零件編號RK27112A00CF
TWD1,143.00
單位
50 kΩ Rotary 1 - Panel Mount, Through Hole 0.05W 6 mm Logarithmic - - Pin ±20% RK27 -
RS庫存編號 167-0034
製造零件編號91R1A-R22-B10L
BrandBourns
TWD180.80
Each (In a Tray of 45)
單位
1 kΩ Rotary 1 1 Panel Mount 2W 6 mm Linear - Conductive Plastic PC Pin ±20% 91 22mm
RS庫存編號 460-1900
製造零件編號533B1502JL
BrandVishay
TWD888.00
單位
5 kΩ Linear 3 - Panel Mount 1W 6.35 mm - - - Solder Lug ±5% 533 -
RS庫存編號 294-3684
製造零件編號157S502MX
BrandVishay
TWD1,894.00
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 172-7637
製造零件編號RK09L12D0A1T
TWD46.90
Each (In a Tray of 100)
單位
10 kΩ Rotary 1 - Panel Mount, Through Hole 0.05W 6 mm Logarithmic - - Pin ±20% RK09L -
RS庫存編號 790-4198
製造零件編號PRV6SAABJYB25502KA
BrandVishay
TWD432.00
單位
5 kΩ Rotary 1 1 Panel Mount 0.75W 3.18 mm Linear - Cermet Solder Lug ±20% PRV6 22mm
RS庫存編號 842-8683
製造零件編號PDB185-GTR11-254A2
BrandBourns
TWD408.00
單位
250 kΩ Rotary - 1 Panel Mount 0.05W 6 mm Audio - Carbon Solder Lug ±20% PDB185-GTR 19mm
RS庫存編號 167-3518
製造零件編號3310Y-001-204L
BrandBourns
TWD57.70
毎管:50 個
單位
200 kΩ Rotary Continuous 1 Servo Mount 0.25W 3.18 mm Linear - Conductive Plastic PC Pin ±20% 3310 12.7mm