Product List Angle Sensors: Precision Potentiometers
Not all potentiometers are the sameThe potentiometer otherwise known as a ‘poti’ has been used an input element and sensor since the beginning of commercial use in electrical engineering. The potentiometers are by far the most widely used angle sensor technology out there today. There are also many reasons why a ‘poti’ is ideal for new projects. For industrial, device and vehicle construction applications precision potentiometers are used as set point and position sensors, which mean they differentiate themselves from low-cost potentiometers because they have much greater electrical and mechanical tolerances and furthermore have a significantly longer lifespan and reliability. In principle, all ‘potis’ have a so-called resistance element with a sliding contact. This wiper then picks up a voltage potential on a resistance path. An absolute analogue signal is immediately available without starting or processing time delays. Potentiometers with a higher total resistance are advantageous for applications that have low power requirements.
- 500k Potentiometer – for very low-power applications
- 100k Potentiometer – common for battery powered applications
- 10k Potentiometer – for standard use
Basically, the lower the total resistance the ‘better’ the signal quality will be. For a ‘poti’ with a higher life-span and an optimal signal strength, it is absolutely recommended to use a potentiometer in a voltage divider circuit and to limit the slider current to<= 2µA. In addition, the tolerance of the total resistance in this type of circuit is not relevant and temperature influences are nearly completely suppressed. There are isolated applications in which the potentiometer is wired as a variable resistor (two-wire technology). This kind of wiring involves considerable disadvantages to the signal quality and the life of the potentiometer. This method is not suitable for conductive plastic potentiometers.
As resistance elements, the precision potentiometers are mainly
- Conductive plastic potentiometers
- Wirewound potentiometers
- Or a combination of both using hybrid technology
In addition to the so-called single-turn potentiometer, multi-turn potentiometers with wirewound and hybrid elements are also available.