Potentiometers

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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.

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.


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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 Stock No. 692-8639
Mfr. Part No.PDB241-GTR01-504A2
BrandBourns
$8.02
Each
units
500 kΩ Rotary 1 1 Panel Mount 0.25W 6 mm Audio - Carbon Solder Lug ±20% PDB241-GTR 19mm
RS Stock No. 167-4683
Mfr. Part No.PDB241-GTR01-504A2
BrandBourns
$5.682
Each (In a Bag of 100)
units
500 kΩ Rotary 1 1 Panel Mount 0.25W 6 mm Audio - Carbon Solder Lug ±20% PDB241-GTR 19mm
RS Stock No. 172-6430
Mfr. Part No.RK27112MC01P
$46.993
Each (In a Tray of 15)
units
50 kΩ Rotary 1 - Panel Mount, Through Hole 0.05W 6 mm Logarithmic - Carbon Pin ±20% RK27 20mm
RS Stock No. 234-6617
Mfr. Part No.RK27112MC01P
$50.82
Each
units
50 kΩ Rotary 1 - Panel Mount, Through Hole 0.05W 6 mm Logarithmic - Carbon Pin ±20% RK27 20mm
RS Stock No. 135-5049
Mfr. Part No.TW1103KA
$12.936
Each (In a Box of 500)
units
10 kΩ Rotary 1 1 Panel Mount 1W 6.35 mm Linear - Wirewound Solder Lug ±10% TW 15mm
RS Stock No. 502-8637
Mfr. Part No.TW1103KA
$23.42
Each
units
10 kΩ Rotary 1 1 Panel Mount 1W 6.35 mm Linear - Wirewound Solder Lug ±10% TW 15mm
RS Stock No. 135-4432
Mfr. Part No.1623760-2
$5.922
Each (In a Box of 200)
units
10 kΩ Rotary 1 1 Panel Mount 0.4W 6.35 mm Linear - Carbon Solder Lug ±20% 23 50mm
RS Stock No. 168-140
Mfr. Part No.1623760-2
$8.46
Each
units
10 kΩ Rotary 1 1 Panel Mount 0.4W 6.35 mm Linear - Carbon Solder Lug ±20% 23 50mm
RS Stock No. 167-8699
Mfr. Part No.PE30L0FL102KAB
BrandVishay
$40.56
Each (In a Box of 10)
units
1 kΩ Rotary 1 1 Panel Mount 3W 6 mm Linear - Cermet Solder Lug ±10% PE30 25mm
RS Stock No. 790-4457
Mfr. Part No.PE30L0FL102KAB
BrandVishay
$56.22
Each
units
1 kΩ Rotary 1 1 Panel Mount 3W 6 mm Linear - Cermet Solder Lug ±10% PE30 25mm
RS Stock No. 460-7582
Mfr. Part No.534B1502JLB
BrandVishay
$29.29
Each
units
5 kΩ Rotary 10 1 Panel Mount 2W 6.35 mm Linear - Wirewound Solder Lug ±5% 534 20.6mm
RS Stock No. 167-9502
Mfr. Part No.534B1502JLB
BrandVishay
$29.777
Each (In a Box of 10)
units
5 kΩ Rotary 10 1 Panel Mount 2W 6.35 mm Linear - Wirewound Solder Lug ±5% 534 20.6mm
RS Stock No. 167-9569
Mfr. Part No.534B1103JC8872
BrandVishay
$32.138
Each (In a Box of 10)
units
10 kΩ Rotary 10 1 Panel Mount 2W 6 mm Linear - Wirewound Solder Lug ±5% 534 20.6mm
RS Stock No. 135-5048
Mfr. Part No.TW1502KA
$12.252
Each (In a Box of 500)
units
5 kΩ Rotary 1 1 Panel Mount 1W 6.35 mm Linear - Wirewound Solder Lug ±10% TW 15mm
RS Stock No. 502-8621
Mfr. Part No.TW1502KA
$21.56
Each
units
5 kΩ Rotary 1 1 Panel Mount 1W 6.35 mm Linear - Wirewound Solder Lug ±10% TW 15mm
RS Stock No. 486-7093
Mfr. Part No.534B1103JC8872
BrandVishay
$33.25
Each
units
10 kΩ Rotary 10 1 Panel Mount 2W 6 mm Linear - Wirewound Solder Lug ±5% 534 20.6mm
RS Stock No. 107-0785
Mfr. Part No.3590S-2-103L
BrandBourns
$39.44
Each
units
10 kΩ Rotary 10 1 Panel Mount 2W 6.35 mm Linear - Wirewound Solder Lug ±5% 3590 20.6mm
RS Stock No. 502-8609
Mfr. Part No.TW1102KA
$19.57
Each
units
1 kΩ Rotary 1 1 Panel Mount 1W 6.35 mm Linear - Wirewound Solder Lug ±10% TW 15mm
RS Stock No. 135-5046
Mfr. Part No.TW1102KA
$12.252
Each (In a Box of 500)
units
1 kΩ Rotary 1 1 Panel Mount 1W 6.35 mm Linear - Wirewound Solder Lug ±10% TW 15mm
RS Stock No. 135-4477
Mfr. Part No.1624139-2
$4.578
Each (In a Box of 200)
units
4.7 kΩ Rotary 1 1 Panel Mount 0.4W 6.35 mm Linear - Carbon Solder Lug ±20% 23 50mm
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