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. 789-9475
Mfr. Part No.95A1A-B24-A20L
BrandBourns
MYR33.22
Each
units
100 kΩ Rotary 1 1 Panel Mount 2W 6.35 mm Linear - Cermet Solder Lug ±10% 95 19mm
RS Stock No. 167-5477
Mfr. Part No.95A1A-B24-A20L
BrandBourns
MYR33.401
Each (In a Tray of 45)
units
100 kΩ Rotary 1 1 Panel Mount 2W 6.35 mm Linear - Cermet Solder Lug ±10% 95 19mm
RS Stock No. 167-9349
Mfr. Part No.860B1103
BrandVishay
MYR1,018.629
Each (In a Box of 10)
units
10 kΩ Rotary 10 1 Panel Mount 8W 6.35 mm Linear - Wirewound Solder Lug ±1% 860 20.6mm
RS Stock No. 294-3763
Mfr. Part No.860B1103
BrandVishay
MYR776.49
Each
units
10 kΩ Rotary 10 1 Panel Mount 8W 6.35 mm Linear - Wirewound Solder Lug ±1% 860 20.6mm
RS Stock No. 729-3656
Mfr. Part No.RK09D1130C3W
MYR2.85
Each
units
10 kΩ Rotary 1 1 Through Hole 0.05W 6 mm Linear - - Pin ±20% RK09D 20mm
RS Stock No. 172-7572
Mfr. Part No.RK09D1130C3W
MYR2.778
Each (In a Box of 1000)
units
10 kΩ Rotary 1 - Through Hole 0.05W 6 mm Linear - - Pin ±20% RK09D -
RS Stock No. 850-9785
Mfr. Part No.533-1-1-502
BrandVishay
MYR92.91
Each
units
5 kΩ Rotary 3 1 Bushing Mount 1W 6.34 mm, 6.35 mm Linear - Wirewound Turret ±5% 533 22.2mm
RS Stock No. 172-6334
Mfr. Part No.RK09L1140A5E
MYR6.533
Each (In a Tray of 100)
units
10 kΩ Rotary 1 - Panel Mount, Through Hole 0.05W 6 mm Logarithmic - - Pin ±20% RK09L -
RS Stock No. 729-3417
Mfr. Part No.RK09L1140A5E
MYR6.25
Each
units
10 kΩ Rotary 1 1 Through Hole 0.05W 6 mm Logarithmic - - Pin ±20% RK09L 12.5mm
RS Stock No. 729-3505
Mfr. Part No.RK09712200HA
MYR14.26
Each
units
10 kΩ Rotary 1 2 Through Hole 0.05W 6 mm - - - Pin ±20% RK097 20mm
RS Stock No. 172-7666
Mfr. Part No.RK09712200HA
MYR13.38
Each (In a Tray of 80)
units
10 kΩ Rotary 1 - Panel Mount, Through Hole 0.05W 6 mm Logarithmic - - Pin ±20% RK097 -
RS Stock No. 831-0677
Mfr. Part No.73JA10K
BrandHoneywell
MYR167.94
Each
units
10 kΩ Rotary 10 1 Panel Mount 2W 6.35 mm Linear - Wirewound Solder Lug ±5% 73 20.6mm
RS Stock No. 172-8106
Mfr. Part No.RK09712200JB
MYR11.818
Each (In a Tray of 80)
units
10 kΩ Rotary 1 - Panel Mount, Through Hole 0.05W 6 mm Logarithmic - - Pin ±20% RK097 -
RS Stock No. 249-9159
Mfr. Part No.RK09712200JB
MYR17.32
Each
units
10 kΩ Rotary 1 - Panel Mount, Through Hole 0.05W 6 mm Logarithmic - - Pin ±20% RK097 -
RS Stock No. 317-780
BrandRS PRO
MYR220.68
Each
units
5 kΩ - 1 - Panel Mount - 3 mm Linear - Conductive Plastic Wire Lead ±20% LM10 -
RS Stock No. 486-7087
Mfr. Part No.534B1102JC8872
BrandVishay
MYR119.94
Each
units
1 kΩ Rotary 10 1 Panel Mount 2W 6 mm Linear - Wirewound Solder Lug ±5% 534 20.6mm
RS Stock No. 522-5305
Mfr. Part No.93R1A-R22-A15L
BrandBourns
MYR36.47
Each
units
10 kΩ Rotary 1 1 Panel Mount, Through Hole 2W 6 mm Linear - Cermet PC Pin ±10% 93 22mm
RS Stock No. 729-3511
Mfr. Part No.RK0971111Z0P
MYR15.61
Each
units
20 kΩ Rotary 1 1 Through Hole 0.05W 6 mm - - - Pin ±20% RK097 15mm
RS Stock No. 172-7674
Mfr. Part No.RK0971111Z0P
MYR16.018
Each (In a Tray of 70)
units
20 kΩ Rotary 1 - Panel Mount, Through Hole 0.05W 6 mm Logarithmic - - Pin ±20% RK097 -
RS Stock No. 249-9143
Mfr. Part No.RK0971110700
MYR8.41
Each
units
100 kΩ Rotary 1 - Panel Mount, Through Hole 0.05W 6 mm Linear - - Pin ±20% RK097 -
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