We have made some recent enhancements online, you may need to clear your cookies to download Technical factsheets or call +44 (0)1327 351 004

Technical Blog

What is a Linear Potentiometer?

A linear potentiometer is a type of position sensor. They are used to measure displacement along a single axis, either up and down or left and right. 

Linear potentiometers are often rod actuated and connected to an internal slider or wiper carrier. The rod will be connected to a device or object which requires measurement. The linear potentiometer proportionally divides an applied regulated voltage over its operational range and provides a proportional voltage output relevant to the position of the wiper.

Linear potentiometers are a contacting type of sensor which means that the moving parts make contact with each other during use. This makes them sufficiently robust to be used within a variety of applications whilst remaining relatively inexpensive. They can function in wide temperature ranges and offer long life, high accuracy and repeatability. 

At Variohm, our range of linear potentiometers uses a conductive plastic technology which is the most widely used. We use elastomer damped wipers which means they have a cat claw configuration that ensures the best wiper contact for applications even in the most severe of environments. 

What is a Linear Potentiometer used for?

Linear potentiometers can be used in many applications which require a robust device for measuring linear movements. Some examples of these applications are;

  • Mobile Vehicle
  • Medical applications
  • Industrial process
  • Test and lab applications 
  • Agricultural machinery
  • Robotics
  • Industrial machinery 
  • Motorsport applications 

Why use a Linear Potentiometer?

There are many advantages to using a linear potentiometer for applications, these include;

  • Long life
  • Wide operating temperature range 
  • Improved linearity
  • Laser trimming of the track 
  • Typically lower cost (than non-contacting alternatives)

Features of our Linear Potentiometers

Our linear potentiometers have;

  • Outstanding repeatability and linearity
  • Dual seal design for extended reliability and longer life
  • Self-aligning pivot bearing mountings
  • Elastomer damped wipers
  • Potentiometric output
  • IP ratings; IP65/ IP67

For more information on our linear potentiometers take a look at our product pages;

VLP - up to 250mm stroke length in 25 or 50mm increments

VXP - extended environmental performance

VLPSC - with signal conditioning 

ELPM - small in size; well suited to Motorsport applications where space is restricted. 

If you would like to discuss your application or would like advice on linear potentiometers please contact us.

Article published on: 03/01/2020

Article last updated on: 03/01/2020