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.

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. 135-5049
Mfr. Part No.TW1103KA
$11.762
Each (In a Box of 500)
units
10kΩ 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
$21.25
Each
units
10kΩ 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
10kΩ 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
10kΩ Rotary 1 1 Panel Mount 0.4W 6.35 mm Linear - Carbon Solder Lug ±20% 23 50mm
RS Stock No. 502-8621
Mfr. Part No.TW1502KA
$17.68
Each
units
5kΩ Rotary 1 1 Panel Mount 1W 6.35 mm Linear - Wirewound Solder Lug ±10% TW 15mm
RS Stock No. 135-5048
Mfr. Part No.TW1502KA
$11.762
Each (In a Box of 500)
units
5kΩ 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
$11.748
Each (In a Box of 500)
units
1kΩ Rotary 1 1 Panel Mount 1W 6.35 mm Linear - Wirewound Solder Lug ±10% TW 15mm
RS Stock No. 502-8609
Mfr. Part No.TW1102KA
$18.06
Each
units
1kΩ Rotary 1 1 Panel Mount 1W 6.35 mm Linear - Wirewound Solder Lug ±10% TW 15mm
RS Stock No. 387-739
Mfr. Part No.1624139-2
$8.47
Each
units
4.7kΩ Rotary 1 1 Panel Mount 0.4W 6.35 mm Linear - Carbon Solder Lug ±20% 23 50mm
RS Stock No. 135-4477
Mfr. Part No.1624139-2
$4.807
Each (In a Box of 200)
units
4.7kΩ Rotary 1 1 Panel Mount 0.4W 6.35 mm Linear - Carbon Solder Lug ±20% 23 50mm
RS Stock No. 136-1613
Mfr. Part No.1624151-2
$5.464
Each (In a Box of 200)
units
10kΩ Rotary 1 1 Panel Mount 0.2W 6.35 mm Logarithmic - Carbon Solder Lug ±20% 23 50mm
RS Stock No. 168-099
Mfr. Part No.1624151-2
$8.80
Each
units
10kΩ Rotary 1 1 Panel Mount 0.2W 6.35 mm Logarithmic - Carbon Solder Lug ±20% 23 50mm
RS Stock No. 135-5047
Mfr. Part No.TW1252KA
$11.748
Each (In a Box of 500)
units
2.5kΩ Rotary 1 1 Panel Mount 1W 6.35 mm Linear - Wirewound Solder Lug ±10% TW 15mm
RS Stock No. 502-8615
Mfr. Part No.TW1252KA
$18.31
Each
units
2.5kΩ Rotary 1 1 Panel Mount 1W 6.35 mm Linear - Wirewound Solder Lug ±10% TW 15mm
RS Stock No. 163-8385
Mfr. Part No.27ESB104MMF50N
$7.304
Each (In a Box of 100)
units
100kΩ Rotary 1 2 Panel Mount 0.2W 6.35 mm Logarithmic - Carbon Solder Lug ±20% 27 50mm
RS Stock No. 135-4433
Mfr. Part No.1623763-2
$4.697
Each (In a Box of 200)
units
100kΩ Rotary 1 1 Panel Mount 0.4W 6.35 mm Linear - Carbon Solder Lug ±20% 23 50mm
RS Stock No. 387-745
Mfr. Part No.1623757-2
$10.07
Each
units
1kΩ Rotary 1 1 Panel Mount 0.4W 6.35 mm Linear - Carbon Solder Lug ±20% 23 50mm
RS Stock No. 168-178
Mfr. Part No.1623763-2
$8.07
Each
units
100kΩ Rotary 1 1 Panel Mount 0.4W 6.35 mm Linear - Carbon Solder Lug ±20% 23 50mm
RS Stock No. 135-4478
Mfr. Part No.1623757-2
$6.989
Each (In a Box of 200)
units
1kΩ Rotary 1 1 Panel Mount 0.4W 6.35 mm Linear - Carbon Solder Lug ±20% 23 50mm
RS Stock No. 168-342
Mfr. Part No.27ESB104MMF50N
$7.85
Each
units
100kΩ Rotary 1 2 Panel Mount 0.2W 6.35 mm Logarithmic - Carbon Solder Lug ±20% 27 50mm