Newbie question - Potentiometer


Thread Starter


does anyone know and can tell me in lame mans terms what "potentiometer" is, what it does?
In every day terminology, potentiometer is a variable resistor, like the volume adjust on the TV set or HI FI. It is also a very elaborate and accurate apparatus. In brief, it contains a high stability wirewound resistor and a reference cell (battery). The cell supplies a constant voltage (high accuracy primary standard). The voltage developped across the portion where the cursor seats, is opposed to the voltage to be measured. A non consuming galvanometer when indicating " zero " tells the two voltages are equal. The potentiometer is graduated in mV. Then reading the potentiometer is equivalent in reading the the external voltage applied. There exist several types depending the usage ( Laboratory, field test...)

Kevin McDowell

A potentiometer is a variable resistor, normally a three terminal device, a ---/\/\/\----b ^ | | c If you attached a to 5 Volts and b to ground you can vary the voltage on c from almost 0 to almost 5 volts (on most potentiometers) there are different windings such as linear and logarithmic (audio taper) available. There are many other ways to use the device but hopefully this gives you an idea of what it does. Kevin