Hook up variable resistor, how to use a potentiometer

You can play with this program and get a feel for how the different ways of handling the data affect the operation. At some point in an electronics project you might find yourself needing a variable resistor. It is a circuit similar to the image included. And, of course, there are always the old standby solutions of two-sided foam tape, or hot-melt glue!

There are a couple of different schematic symbols used to represent variable resistors, shown below. Arduino with potentiometer running test program. We have a lot more information about divider circuits in our voltage divider tutorial. Try it with a linear and a logarithmic pot.

What site are you talking about? Another possibility is that the voltage reading at this particular setting is right on the edge of transition from one value to the next. That's really the purpose of this board! One thing you might want to keep in mind when using this technique is the taper of your pot. Larger values with increase the filtering.

  • If you use one of these devices then there would be no need to build one of the devices you need.
  • There are a couple of things to keep in mind when describing things in terms of decibels.
  • The Rotary Switch Potentiometer board allows you to populate your own resistors, to help match situations where ordinary parts aren't available or suitable.
  • To recognize these differences, different suffixes are added.
  • You may notice that even though you are not touching the pot, the reading jumps around a bit.

How to use a potentiometer

This will probably jump around a bit. The combination behaves as we would expect - turning down the knob reduces the sensitivity, so that the detector doesn't trigger on quieter sounds. In many disciplines where amplitude is important, it is often expressed in decibels known as dB for short.

It is interesting that Bourns actually admits that their products are failing. It takes a fairly large increase in the audio power to make much difference in our perception of the volume. Some of these units come with a voltage gauge printed on the outer shell that tells the voltage of the device and others have a built-in meter for voltage readout. Some applications require pots that are hard to find, calling for specific resistance values, guys or custom tapers.


This might reduce the number of settings too much for some applications. This pot has a B label on it, which means it is a linear taper pot. This reduces the resolution and less susceptible to noise or falling on a critical transition level.

Figure shows a simple voltage divider. Inexpensive or worn pots frequently make intermittent contact as they are adjusted and the voltage can jump around a bit. If you mean the instructables site then I have not found a solution here yet. Potentiometer Tapers image courtesy Taiwan Alpha. These problems can be reduced a couple of ways.

Using a variable resistor with a microcontroller A/D

Using a Variable Resistor as a Control. How do you connect a variable resistor? If you use a divider in the feedback loop of an opamp, you can turn the division into multiplication, building a variable gain amplifier.

Rotary Switch Potentiometer Hookup Guide

How to use a preset

Background and Theory A potentiometer or pot for short is an electronic component that functions as a variable resistor. Back to Electronics Main Page. Did you make this project? You should connect them if you dont want to risk having infinite resistance, and instead want the resistance to be at pot value if the middle pin goes open after excessive abuse.

Wire a Potentiometer As a Variable Resistor

Background and Theory
  1. If there is a great difference between the resistance between the wiper and one terminal, and between the wiper and the other end terminal, you have a logarithmic pot.
  2. Going Further Elliott Sound Products have a very detailed article about potentiometer types and applications.
  3. We've got a couple of examples that illustrate applications where this board is more useful than a regular, continuous potentiometer.
  4. If you don't have a panel, but want secure the board, it also has four mounting holes that accept machine screws.
  5. For this hookup guide, we'll be using three pins from snappable headers.
  6. We'll connect the board as a voltage divider between Vcc and ground, and add resistors to produce ten even steps.

This means the resistance of the material inside the pot is uniform for all positions of the knob. If this is the case you have a linear taper pot. So I would appreciate your help.

Rotary Switch Potentiometer Hookup Guide

How to use variable resistors

You can select resistors that fit your needs, and you'll select different resistors depending on what you're trying to do. The board uses a ten position switch, which has nine locations in between the stops where resistors are installed. They can also be used in situations where you want distinct steps or selections, such as being able to consistently select to a value. One is the furthest counterclockwise, ten is the furthest clockwise, when did an depicted below.

How do you connect a variable resistor

How Do I Control the Light Level of an LED

Pots come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes. Your best choice is to use a rheostat type device. They will also help filter noise. There are other ways but these are more involved than a simple timer would be. Connect the center pin to one end.


On a regular control knob, the indicator line is opposite the setscrew, and the knob is usually installed with the setscrew on the flat side of the switch shaft. If you don't connect the unused pin to the slider it will go open-circuit and the circuit won't work anymore. What Kind of Variable Resistor to Use As mentioned earlier, variable resistors are often used as volume controls in audio equipment. The first thing is that decibels behave logarithmically, reducing large changes to regular changes in the decibel scale.

How to use variable resistors
How to Wire a Variable Resistor

Hook an ohmmeter to the fixed terminals and measure the resistance. There are tables of suggested fixed resistor values illustrated in the Sound Detector Hookup guide. We'll cover several different examples in this hookup guide, all built from the same basic parts.

As the knob is turned clockwise, Vout will increase until it reaches the stop. Human hearing is logarithmic. First, solder the rotary switch inside the outline on the top of the board. Then near the other end a very slight adjustment will have a large effect on the count.

Wire a Potentiometer As a Variable Resistor

Turn the shaft so that it is close to half way between the end stops and measure the resistance between the wiper terminal and the end terminals. It will be difficult to control at that point. Frequently Asked Questions. If we put the pot in our circuit with only the wiper and one end connected, it functions as a variable resistor. This is useful information.

This sheet adds some new columns that calculate the behavior of the sound detector, including the arithmetic gain, gain in dB, and the relative change from step-to-step. If you're building the Rotary Switch Potentiometer into some device, you'll want to consider how you mount it. In order to communicate accurately, be sure to use the appropriate suffix. The idea was posed to build a selector that allows for the selection of ten distinct steps.

That's my reason and you are free to form your judgement about it. The volume control on a radio is a good example. An assembled rotary switch potentiometer can be used as either a variable resistance or a voltage divider.

Wire a Potentiometer As a Variable Resistor
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