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. 172-8088
Mfr. Part No.RK0971110700
MYR9.091
Each (In a Tray of 80)
units
100 kΩ Rotary 1 - Panel Mount, Through Hole 0.05W 6 mm Linear - - Pin ±20% RK097 -
RS Stock No. 167-3604
Mfr. Part No.93R1A-R22-A15L
BrandBourns
MYR30.312
Each (In a Tray of 45)
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. 107-0763
Mfr. Part No.3590S-2-202L
BrandBourns
MYR60.20
Each
units
2 kΩ Rotary 10 1 Panel Mount 2W 6.35 mm Linear - Wirewound Solder Lug ±5% 3590 20.6mm
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. 850-9791
Mfr. Part No.534-1-1-102
BrandVishay
MYR88.57
Each
units
1 kΩ Rotary 10 1 Bushing Mount 2W 6.35 mm Linear - Wirewound Turret ±5% 534 20.6mm
RS Stock No. 167-9568
Mfr. Part No.534B1102JC8872
BrandVishay
MYR96.03
Each (In a Box of 10)
units
1 kΩ Rotary 10 1 Panel Mount 2W 6 mm Linear - Wirewound Solder Lug ±5% 534 20.6mm
RS Stock No. 167-3583
Mfr. Part No.3590S-2-202L
BrandBourns
MYR64.008
Each (In a Tray of 25)
units
2 kΩ Rotary 10 1 Panel Mount 2W 6.35 mm Linear - Wirewound Solder Lug ±5% 3590 20.6mm
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 -
RS Stock No. 249-9200
Mfr. Part No.RK1631110TV9
MYR11.38
Each
units
10 kΩ Rotary 1 - Panel Mount, Through Hole 0.05W 6 mm Logarithmic - - Pin ±20% RK163 -
RS Stock No. 249-9216
Mfr. Part No.RK1631110TV8
MYR13.78
Each
units
50 kΩ Rotary 1 - Panel Mount, Through Hole 0.05W 6 mm Logarithmic - - Pin ±20% RK163 -
RS Stock No. 486-7150
Mfr. Part No.534B1502JC8872
BrandVishay
MYR92.06
Each
units
5 kΩ Rotary 10 1 Panel Mount 2W 6 mm Linear - Wirewound Solder Lug ±5% 534 20.6mm
RS Stock No. 831-0572
Mfr. Part No.381N5K
BrandHoneywell
MYR73.32
Each
units
5 kΩ Linear - - Panel Mount 1W 3.17 mm - - - Solder Lug ±10% 381 -
RS Stock No. 850-9849
Mfr. Part No.535-1-1-502
BrandVishay
MYR121.56
Each
units
5 kΩ Rotary 5 1 Bushing Mount 1.5W 6.35 mm Linear - Wirewound Turret ±5% 535 22.2mm
RS Stock No. 172-7657
Mfr. Part No.RK1631110TV8
MYR8.453
Each (In a Box of 1000)
units
50 kΩ Rotary 1 - Panel Mount, Through Hole 0.05W 6 mm Logarithmic - - Pin ±20% RK163 -
RS Stock No. 167-5483
Mfr. Part No.PDB181-GTR01-504A2
BrandBourns
MYR8.633
Each (In a Bag of 100)
units
500 kΩ Rotary - 1 Panel Mount 0.1W 6 mm Logarithmic - Carbon Solder Lug ±20% PDB181-GTR 19mm
RS Stock No. 692-8632
Mfr. Part No.PDB241-GTR02-254A2
BrandBourns
MYR15.23
Each
units
250 kΩ Rotary 1 1 Panel Mount 0.25W 6.35 mm Audio - Carbon Solder Lug ±20% PDB241-GTR 19mm
RS Stock No. 486-7116
Mfr. Part No.534B1202JC8872
BrandVishay
MYR112.55
Each
units
2 kΩ Rotary 10 1 Panel Mount 2W 6 mm Linear - Wirewound Solder Lug ±5% 534 20.6mm
RS Stock No. 770-3068
Mfr. Part No.PDB181-GTR01-504A2
BrandBourns
MYR12.69
Each
units
500 kΩ Rotary - 1 Panel Mount 0.1W 6 mm Logarithmic - Carbon Solder Lug ±20% PDB181-GTR 19mm
RS Stock No. 249-9250
Mfr. Part No.RK1631110TV6
MYR11.70
Each
units
50 kΩ Rotary 1 - Panel Mount, Through Hole 0.1W 6 mm Linear - - Pin ±20% RK163 -
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