What is a potentiometer.

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The potentiometer is an electrical component that is used to control or in adjusting electrical signals. It is a three terminals pots resistor and an adjustable knob in the center. When varying or tuning the knob, the potentiometer tends to increase or reduce its resistance depending on the tuning. It is used in varying electrical signals. Is an important component used in designing many electrical devices.

The potentiometer is used in radio, amplifier, guitar, or speakers, and many more devices. They are used in increasing or reducing a system volume, increasing or reducing the brightness of a dimmer light, and even in tuning a radio station. To achieve this purpose we need to understand very well how the potentiometer works and how we can do the connection to achieve our purpose of installing them.

Easy tips to test a capacitor using multimeter.

Working principles of a potentiometer

a potentiometer is a two-terminal electronic component. Is a resistor having a slider or adjustable point in-between the resistor’s terminals. This slider or adjustable point is used to vary the signals that are passing through the resistor. A supply signal or voltage is pass through the first pin and the second pin the output signal or voltage while the third pin is the GND. When the circuit is connected like that, adjusting or tuning the potentiometer knob will make the output signal to be increasing or reducing depending on the side the knob is tuning to. Weather is clockwise or anti-clockwise direction.


Different types of DC potentiometer.

There are two main types of potentiometer in electrical engineering which are;

Rotary potentiometer

Liner potentiometer

Rotary potentiometer

This is the type of pot in which the slider is connected across a circular resistor in such a way that when we rotate the slider the resistor starts to vary. The which is where the output is connected to is movable from point A of the circular resistor to point B.This type of potentiometer is normally found on radio volume adjuster or dimmer light control.

Liner potentiometer.

This is another type of potentiometer that is almost the same as rotary. Just like rotary but instead of the slider moving around the circular resistor, it is been constructed to move along a liner resistor having the output connection on the slider. The slider moves linearly to the resistor. This type of potentiometer is normally used in checking a voltage across a circuit, the internal resistance of a battery, and equalizing a music mix.

Identification of potentiometer terminals.

the potentiometer has three pins connection. Place the potentiometer flat on a surface area making the three-terminal pins facing you, and the tuning knob facing upward. Starting from your left side, name the pins, pin1 to pin3.

The pin1 is the ground(GND), the pin2 is the input signal while the pin3 is the output signal or voltage.

How to wire a potentiometer.

When wiring potentiometer, after you might have discovered their terminals. The following steps are to take them wiring a potentiometer.

Step 1

Identifying the terminals. Place the potentiometer flat on a flat surface making the three terminals facing you and the shift facing upwards. Start from the left hand side and label the terminals, pin 1 pin 2 and pin 3.

Step 2

positions the component on how it will fit in on a device or Vero board.

Step 3

Starts to connect and solder the terminals.

The first terminal which is label pin 1 is the ground (GND). Using your connection probe, connect from the neutral line to the GND.

The second terminal which is pin 2, is the input signal terminal. i.e the full signal you want to have control over. Connect it to pin 2.

In the third terminal which is the last pin, there is the output signal pin. The output is where you get your final results of what is happening in the circuit while tuning the potentiometer. So this terminal is connected to the circuit you are injecting the signals in.

Connection of a 12v d c battery to led bulb, through a 100k potentiometer.

To install the 100k potentiometer to control an led bulb is an example of how the pot can be connected to achieve a positive result.

The materials needs for the installations are;

  • Breadboard.
  • 100k potentiometer.
  • Jumper wire.
  • Led bulb.
  • 12V dc battery.


  • Identify the components and put them into the breadboard.
  • Connect the battery to the 100k potentiometer. i.e connect the negative terminal of the battery to the pin 1 terminal of the pot. The positive terminal to the pin 2 terminal of the pot.
  • Connecting the led bulb to the pot. Connect the positive terminal of the LED to pin 3 of the pot and the negative terminal to pin 1.

After connecting the circuit has as follows, why tuning the pot it will be observed that the brightness of the LED changes.

Testing the potentiometer to know if it was connected correctly.

To test the potentiometer circuit to know if it was connected correctly. Get a multimeter and set it on a voltage mode.

Measure the voltage between pin 1 and pin 2 and check if it corresponds with the input voltage.

Measure the voltage between pin 1 and pin 3 and adjust the pot to know if the voltage varies, if it does it means its connections are good and ok. But if it doesn’t the connection was not done correctly.

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