Potentiometer Diagram, Symbol, and Construction

The potentiometer is a very important electronic device used for voltage dividing purposes. In this article, we are going to see the potentiometer diagram and its constructional structure. The potentiometer is a three-terminal device. Generally, it is nothing but a variable resistor. There are so many applications of potentiometers in electronic circuits. Volume control in amplifiers is a common example of potentiometer application. There are two types of potentiometer available - 1. Rotary Potentiometer 2. Linear Potentiometer. The working principle of both are the same, just they have constructional differences.

Potentiometer Diagram

Here, you can see the constructional diagram of potentiometer.

potentiometer diagram, diagram of potentiometer

You can see there are three terminals of the potentiometer. Two terminals are connected to the two ends of the resistive material or resistive path track. Another terminal is connected to the slider or wiper which moves on the resistive path or track. 

The terminals are also identified by 1, 2, 3. Terminals 1 and 2 are connected to both ends of the resistive track and terminal 3 is connected to the wiper. So, the resistance between terminals 1 and 3 is always the same. But the resistance between 1 and 2 or 2 and 3 will vary when we rotate the knob of the potentiometer. When the potentiometer is taken for operation, the supply voltage is connected or applied across the terminal 1 and 3. And the output voltage is taken from the terminal 2 and 3. So, you can understand 3 is the common terminal for both input and output.

Connection Diagram of Potentiometer

connection diagram of potentiometer

Potentiometer Symbol

Here, you can see the symbol of the potentiometer.

Potentiometer symbol, symbol of potentiometer

You can see the symbol almost the same as the resistor symbol including an arrow mark. This arrow mark indicates the variable or moving part. There are two symbols of the potentiometer - American Standard and International standard. American Standard is old and the international standard is new. So, you must know about both.

Potentiometer Construction

The construction of a potentiometer is very simple. It has a resistive track and a wiper. This wiper is made of a conductive material such as copper. The wiper is free to move on the resistive track. The rotary potentiometer has a cylindrical structure and its resistive track is also round shaped. So, the wiper moves with a round path. On the other hand, the linear potentiometer has a rectangle structure, so the wiper moves straight vertically.

So the output voltage or effective resistance depends upon the distance between the wiper position from the terminal point.
When a potentiometer is taken for application, the input supply is applied across the whole resistance of the potentiometer and the output supply is taken across the wiper and any one terminal. So, when the wiper is moved or changed its position, the output voltage also be changed.
There are digital potentiometers also available in the market. Modern electronic circuits use digital potentiometers due to high accuracy, high reliability, etc. 
There are a lot of applications of potentiometer such as linear displacement measurement, brightness control, sound control, etc.

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Potentiometer Diagram, Symbol, and Construction Potentiometer Diagram, Symbol, and Construction Reviewed by Author on 7/19/2021 Rating: 5
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