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
SGD10.468
Each (In a Box of 500)
units
10 kΩ 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
SGD18.91
Each
units
10 kΩ Rotary 1 1 Panel Mount 1W 6.35 mm Linear - Wirewound Solder Lug ±10% TW 15mm
RS Stock No. 167-9487
Mfr. Part No.534B1103JL
BrandVishay
SGD29.876
Each (In a Box of 10)
units
10 kΩ Rotary 10 1 Panel Mount 2W 6.35 mm Linear - Wirewound Solder Lug ±5% 534 20.6mm
RS Stock No. 460-7526
Mfr. Part No.534B1103JL
BrandVishay
SGD42.00
Each
units
10 kΩ Rotary 10 1 Panel Mount 2W 6.35 mm Linear - Wirewound Solder Lug ±5% 534 20.6mm
RS Stock No. 162-2373
Mfr. Part No.249BBHS0XB25504KA
BrandVishay
SGD9.086
Each (In a Box of 50)
units
500 kΩ Rotary 1 1 Panel Mount, Through Hole 1W 3.18 mm Linear - Cermet Pin ±10% 249 19.1mm
RS Stock No. 410-334
Mfr. Part No.249BBHS0XB25504KA
BrandVishay
SGD14.82
Each
units
500 kΩ Rotary 1 1 Panel Mount, Through Hole 1W 3.18 mm Linear - Cermet Pin ±10% 249 19.1mm
RS Stock No. 460-7510
Mfr. Part No.534B1102JL
BrandVishay
SGD26.08
Each
units
1 kΩ Rotary 10 1 Panel Mount 2W 6.35 mm Linear - Wirewound Solder Lug ±5% 534 20.6mm
RS Stock No. 167-9486
Mfr. Part No.534B1102JL
BrandVishay
SGD26.761
Each (In a Box of 10)
units
1 kΩ Rotary 10 1 Panel Mount 2W 6.35 mm Linear - Wirewound Solder Lug ±5% 534 20.6mm
RS Stock No. 172-8128
Mfr. Part No.RK0971221Z05
SGD4.72
Each (In a Tray of 70)
units
10 kΩ Rotary 1 - Panel Mount, Through Hole 0.05W 6 mm Logarithmic - - Pin ±20% RK097 -
RS Stock No. 167-9502
Mfr. Part No.534B1502JLB
BrandVishay
SGD22.87
Each (In a Box of 10)
units
5 kΩ Rotary 10 1 Panel Mount 2W 6.35 mm Linear - Wirewound Solder Lug ±5% 534 20.6mm
RS Stock No. 729-3521
Mfr. Part No.RK0971221Z05
SGD7.48
Each
units
10 kΩ Rotary 1 2 Through Hole 0.05W 6 mm - - - Pin ±20% RK097 15mm
RS Stock No. 460-7582
Mfr. Part No.534B1502JLB
BrandVishay
SGD27.24
Each
units
5 kΩ Rotary 10 1 Panel Mount 2W 6.35 mm Linear - Wirewound Solder Lug ±5% 534 20.6mm
RS Stock No. 135-5048
Mfr. Part No.TW1502KA
SGD10.468
Each (In a Box of 500)
units
5 kΩ Rotary 1 1 Panel Mount 1W 6.35 mm Linear - Wirewound Solder Lug ±10% TW 15mm
RS Stock No. 502-8621
Mfr. Part No.TW1502KA
SGD16.19
Each
units
5 kΩ Rotary 1 1 Panel Mount 1W 6.35 mm Linear - Wirewound Solder Lug ±10% TW 15mm
RS Stock No. 173-732
Mfr. Part No.157B102MX9001
BrandVishay
SGD41.19
Each
units
1 kΩ Rotary 1 1 Panel Mount 1W 6.35 mm Linear - Conductive Plastic Turret ±20% 157 22.2mm
RS Stock No. 167-8746
Mfr. Part No.P16NP471MAB15
BrandVishay
SGD15.428
Each (In a Box of 20)
units
470 Ω Rotary 1 1 Panel Mount 1W 16 mm Linear - Cermet Solder Lug ±20% P16 8.8mm
RS Stock No. 167-9508
Mfr. Part No.157B102MX9001
BrandVishay
SGD50.742
Each (In a Box of 10)
units
1 kΩ Rotary 1 1 Panel Mount 1W 6.35 mm Linear - Conductive Plastic Turret ±20% 157 22.2mm
RS Stock No. 790-4423
Mfr. Part No.P16NP471MAB15
BrandVishay
SGD22.04
Each
units
470 Ω Rotary 1 1 Panel Mount 1W 16 mm Linear - Cermet Solder Lug ±20% P16 8.8mm
RS Stock No. 522-2968
Mfr. Part No.3540S-1-102L
BrandBourns
SGD39.75
Each
units
1 kΩ Rotary 10 1 Panel Mount 2W 6.35 mm Linear - Wirewound Solder Lug ±5% 3540 20.6mm
RS Stock No. 167-3598
Mfr. Part No.3540S-1-102L
BrandBourns
SGD27.22
Each (In a Tray of 25)
units
1 kΩ Rotary 10 1 Panel Mount 2W 6.35 mm Linear - Wirewound Solder Lug ±5% 3540 20.6mm
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