Technical Blog

What is a Potentiometer Used for

Potentiometers are part of our product range here at Variohm. They are a type of position sensor used for measuring different types of displacement.

What is a Potentiometer

A potentiometer is a type of position sensor. They are used to measure displacement in any direction. Linear potentiometers linearly measure displacement and rotary potentiometers measure rotational displacement.

The mechanical construction of rotary and linear potentiometers is very similar, each type consists of a contact wiper and a conductive element or track. In Linear Potentiometers the track is straight and in Rotary potentiometers the track is circular. The wiper moves along the track to measure the displacement through proportionally dividing the input voltage.

What is a Potentiometer used for?

Potentiometers are used throughout many industries for a whole host of applications. They can be used in;

  • Motorsport
  • Automotive
  • Medical
  • Agriculture
  • Entertainment
  • Transport
  • Industrial

Here are some examples we have come across in our years in the industry:

Motorsport Applications – Motorsport is a very popular industry for potentiometer use, both rotary and linear potentiometers are used to monitor aspects including; ride height, steering angle measurement, gearshift, suspension and throttle control on either 2- or 4-wheel vehicles.

Steering Systems – on agricultural machinery, heavy-duty machinery and some marine vehicles, linear potentiometers and rotary potentiometers have been used for precise measurement and angle sensing in steering systems.

Professional Mountain Bikes – Our Linear Potentiometers have been selected for measuring suspension-fork and absorbing frame shock.

Special Effects in Film – a rarer application we are approached for; did you know potentiometers are used in film production? Particularly in special effects! Our potentiometers have been used in many big movies over the past few years.

Public Transport ticket barriers – rotary potentiometers are used on ticket barriers, particularly the ones in the style of the London underground. They are used to ensure the gate is open at the right angles for the correct amount of time.

Ramps and Moving Bridges – when a moving bridge or ramp needs to be positioned precisely, a potentiometer can be used to ensure it is in the correct position. 

Other types of Position Sensor

Potentiometers are just one type of position sensor we offer here at Variohm. In addition to these, there are a whole host of different position sensors which use different technologies.

If you are looking for a different type of position sensor, please contact us. Or if you want to find out more about some of the other technologies we offer take a look at our blog posts on;

Potentiometers from Variohm

Our range of Potentiometers are available to view on our website by clicking the links:

Linear Potentiometers – this includes our own range of potentiometers, the VLP (Variohm Linear Potentiometer)

Rotary Potentiometers – single turn and multiturn options available

Membrane Potentiometers - also known as soft pots are very thin and flexible

Cable Extension Transducers – also known as string Pots

For more information on Potentiometers or any products in our range please contact us.

Article published on: 30/11/2020