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50K Preset (pack of 5) £1.04

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Preset Resistor trim pot 50K

A potentiometer, informally a pot, is a three-terminal resistor with a sliding or rotating contact that forms an adjustable voltage divider. If only two terminals are used, one end and the wiper, it acts as a variable resistor or rheostat.

The measuring instrument called a potentiometer is essentially a voltage divider used for measuring electric potential (voltage); the component is an implementation of the same principle, hence its name. Potentiometers are commonly used to control electrical devices such as volume controls on audio equipment.

Potentiometers operated by a mechanism can be used as position transducers, for example, in a joystick. Potentiometers are rarely used to directly control significant power (more than a watt), since the power dissipated in the potentiometer would be comparable to the power in the controlled load.

Tech Tin Files: The Voltage Divider

  • In electronics, a voltage divider (also known as a potential divider) is a passive linear circuit that produces an output voltage (Vout) that is a fraction of its input voltage (Vin). Voltage division is the result of distributing the input voltage among the components of the divider. A simple example of a voltage divider is two resistors connected in series, with the input voltage applied across the resistor pair and the output voltage emerging from the connection between them.
  • Resistor voltage dividers are commonly used to create reference voltages, or to reduce the magnitude of a voltage so it can be measured, and may also be used as signal attenuators at low frequencies. For direct current and relatively low frequencies, a voltage divider may be sufficiently accurate if made only of resistors; where frequency response over a wide range is required (such as in an oscilloscope probe), a voltage divider may have capacitive elements added to compensate load capacitance. In electric power transmission, a capacitive voltage divider is used for measurement of high voltage.