Potentiometer

 
Potentiometer

What is a potentiometer? A potentiometer is a manually adjustable variable resistor with 3 terminals. Two terminals are connected to both ends of a resistive element, and the third terminal connects to a sliding contact, called a wiper, moving over the resistive element. The position of the wiper determines the output voltage of the potentiometer. The potentiometer essentially functions as a variable voltage divider. The resistive element can be seen as two resistors in series(potentiometer resistance), where the wiper position determines the resistance ratio of the first resistor to the second resistor. A potentiometer is also commonly known as a potmeter or pot. The most common form of potmeter is the single turn rotary potmeter. This type of pot is often used in audio volume control (logarithmic taper) as well as many other applications. Different materials are used to construct potentiometers, including carbon composition, cermet, wirewound, conductive plastic or metal film. Potentiometer definition A potentiometer is a manually adjustable, variable resistor with three terminals. Two terminals are connected to a resistive element, the third terminal is connected to an adjustable wiper. The position of the wiper determines the output voltage. Types of potentiometers A wide variety of potmeters exist. Manually adjustable potmeters can be divided in rotary or linear movement types. The tables below list the available types and their applications. Besides manually adjustable pots, also electronically controlled potentiometers exist, often called digital potmeters. Rotary potentiometers The most common type of potentiometer where the wiper moves along a circular path. Type Description Applications Single-turn pot Single rotation of approximately 270 degrees or 3/4 of a full turn Most common pot, used in applications where a single turn provides enough control resolution. Multi-turn pot Multiple rotations (mostly 5, 10 or 20), for increased precision. They are constructed either with a wiper [… read more]