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. 893-5080
Mfr. Part No.CMU3521E
BrandOhmite
MYR72.31
Each (In a Pack of 50)
units
3.5kΩ Rotary 1 1 Panel Mount 2W 6.35 mm Linear - Carbon Solder Lug ±10% CMU 22.2mm
RS Stock No. 892-2466
Mfr. Part No.CU1031E
BrandOhmite
MYR91.42
Each
units
10kΩ Rotary 1 1 Panel Mount 2W 6.35 mm Linear - Carbon Solder Lug ±10% CU 50.8mm
RS Stock No. 893-5086
Mfr. Part No.CLU2521E
BrandOhmite
MYR79.476
Each (In a Pack of 50)
units
2.5kΩ Rotary 1 1 Panel Mount 2W 6.35 mm Linear - Carbon Solder Lug ±10% CLU 15.9mm
RS Stock No. 893-5317
Mfr. Part No.CMU1041E
BrandOhmite
MYR71.78
Each (In a Pack of 50)
units
100kΩ Rotary 1 1 Panel Mount 2W 6.35 mm Linear - Carbon Solder Lug ±10% CMU 22.2mm
RS Stock No. 892-6672
Mfr. Part No.CMU5021E
BrandOhmite
MYR87.88
Each
units
5kΩ Rotary 1 1 Panel Mount 2W 6.35 mm Linear - Carbon Solder Lug ±10% CMU 22.2mm
RS Stock No. 893-5083
Mfr. Part No.CLU1031E
BrandOhmite
MYR80.16
Each (In a Pack of 50)
units
10kΩ Rotary 1 1 Panel Mount 2W 6.35 mm Linear - Carbon Solder Lug ±10% CLU 15.9mm
RS Stock No. 893-4891
Mfr. Part No.CMU2521E
BrandOhmite
MYR72.31
Each (In a Pack of 50)
units
2.5kΩ Rotary 1 1 Panel Mount 2W 6.35 mm Linear - Carbon Solder Lug ±10% CMU 22.2mm
RS Stock No. 892-6676
Mfr. Part No.CU5021E
BrandOhmite
MYR95.78
Each
units
5kΩ Rotary 1 1 Panel Mount 2W 6.35 mm Linear - Carbon Solder Lug ±10% CU 50.8mm
RS Stock No. 893-1034
Mfr. Part No.H-1000-F2-380
BrandOhmite
MYR1,084.46
Each
units
1kΩ Rotary 1 1 Panel Mount 25W 6.35 mm Linear - Wirewound Solder Lug ±10% H -
RS Stock No. 892-6679
Mfr. Part No.CMU1031E
BrandOhmite
MYR87.88
Each
units
10kΩ Rotary 1 1 Panel Mount 2W 6.35 mm Linear - Carbon Solder Lug ±10% CMU 22.2mm
RS Stock No. 892-6660
Mfr. Part No.CMU1021E
BrandOhmite
MYR87.88
Each
units
1kΩ Rotary 1 1 Panel Mount 2W 6.35 mm Linear - Carbon Solder Lug ±10% CMU 22.2mm
RS Stock No. 893-5099
Mfr. Part No.CU5031E
BrandOhmite
MYR75.30
Each (In a Pack of 50)
units
50kΩ Rotary 1 1 Panel Mount 2W 6.35 mm Linear - Carbon Solder Lug ±10% CU 50.8mm