Multiturn Potentiometers

3, 5 or 10 turn potentiometers or on request with up to 30 turns. Multiturn potentiometers are available in two resistive elements.

Guide for Multiturn Potentiometers

Multiturn Potentiometers

With wirewound or hybrid resistive element

Our multiturn potentiometers cover angles up to 10800° (30 turns) and open up applications with measuring ranges ≥360°. They are available in wire-wound and up to 10 turns also in hybrid technology, the latter with excellent signal smoothness, longer lifespan and almost infinite resolution. Redundant or galvanically isolated multiturn potentiometers are available in tandem or multigang versions.

The larger the angle of rotation or the number of mechanical revolutions, the greater is the setting accuracy. Typically this kind of potentiometers is used in 3-, 5- and 10-turn versions, but there are also applications with a requirement for very large angular ranges, where 20- or even 30-turn versions are used. In addition, limit switches can be integrated, which can be configured at the factory within the electrically effective angle of rotation or signal plateau.

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Guide for Multiturn Potentiometers

What is a multiturn potentiometer?

In the case of a multiturn potentiometer, it is mainly the number of full turns, which is measured in angular degrees. A 10-turn potentiometer therefore has a measuring range of 10 x 360° = 3600°. Some multiturn potentiometers can be realized with up to 30 turns / 10800° (series 46 / 46HDS ). This is because the higher the angle of rotation of the potentiometer, the more precise the setting accuracy can be achieved. They are suitable as precise setpoint and actual value transmitters for which a precise angle measurement with analogue output signal is to be realized.

A typical application is the measurement of linear travels, which are converted into a rotary motion via a spindle drive. Here, the multi-turn potentiometer provides exact feedback of the various axis positions, for example, used in the memory function of "first class" aircraft seats or generally in drive technology.
Note: Please do not confuse "multiturn" with "multiganged". Multiganged means that several potentiometers are "connected" in series to form a system via the potentiometer shaft. They are used for applications that require, for example, redundant connections and/or electrically isolated signals.

Design of multiturn potentiometers

As with all potentiometers, a resistance track, a slider and connections are required. The slider picks up a voltage potential on the resistor track via the rotary movement and direction of rotation. The main difference between a multiturn potentiometer and a single-turn potentiometer (<360°) is the design and shape of the resistor track. The resistor track of multiturn potentiometers is spiral-shaped and allows the detection of angles ≥360°.
One turn is one full rotation of the shaft with 360° and corresponds to one turn of the spindle-shaped resistance track. Several turns mean more possible rotations, higher angular degree and necessary space for the number of turns. Thus, the longer housing can be explained for 5 to 10 turns or even more with up to 30 turns.
In order to prevent the slider from going beyond the ends of the spiral-shaped resistance path during a rotation, mechanical stops must be provided for the slider in both directions. To protect these stops from mechanical overload, integrated slip clutches are optionally used.

Multiturn Inner Design (wirewound)

Hybrid vs. wirewound element in comparison

Hybrid Resisitve Element

Both resistance elements fulfil the task of detecting angles ≥360°. However, wire-wound elements can cover much larger angles than hybrid elements. The last ones are only available up to 10-turn (3600°), whereas wire-wound multiturn potentiometers can be ordered with up to 30-turn and thus 10800°. The resistive elements also differ in their basic sensory properties:
The characteristics of potentiometers with a wire-wound resistor element can be found here. Their main characteristics are very narrow resistance tolerances and the ability to withstand higher electrical loads and low-frequency vibrations.
The resistive path of hybrid potentiometers is technologically best compared to the characteristics of conductive plastic potentiometers. Hybrid potentiometers are basically multiturn potentiometers in which the spiral resistor track is covered with conductive plastic. Hybrid technology is therefore also characterized by almost infinite resolution, a very smooth output signal, high operating speed and long lifespan, as is the case with single-turn conductive plastic potentiometers.

Multiturn potentiometers with limit switch

Limit switches are available on some models that trigger a switching operation when a certain electrically effective angle of rotation is reached. The limit switches are factory configurable within the electrically effective angle of rotation or signal plateau. Lifespan and maximum load are not the same for these switches as for the potentiometers themselves.

Tip for applications with exactly 360° (or slightly more)

AL17/19 meets 360° - multiturn potentiometer

A single-turn potentiometer with a linear signal curve is hardly capable of meeting a measuring range of exactly 360°. Therefore, multiturn potentiometers are used for this task. If the application allows it, we recommend using a 3-turn potentiometer. In addition, on request we have so-called 1-turn multiturn potentiometers from the AL17/19 series in our range, which meet the requirement for 360°. Furthermore, our sine/cosine potentiometers meet the requirement for 360°. However, they differ fundamentally from the multiturn potentiometers described here in terms of design and electrical characteristics.

Product customizations

Frequently requested product adaptations include special resistance values, through-/rear shaft, center taps, tighter linearity tolerances, adjustments to the shaft geometry as well as adjustments to the bushing or servo flange or the assembly of cables or connectors. Feel free to contact us for any support needed.

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