Variable Resistors and Fixed Resistors

There are two kinds of resistors, FIXED and VARIABLE RESISTORS. The fixed resistor will have one value and will never change (other than through temperature, age, etc.).

The tapped resistor has several fixed taps and makes more than one resistance value available. The sliding contact resistor an adjustable collar that can be moved to tap off any resistance within the ohmic value range of the resistor.

There are two types of variable resistors , one called a POTENTIOMETER and the other a RHEOSTAT.

An example of the potentiometer is the volume control on your radio, and an example of the rheostat is the dimmer control for the dash lights in an automobile.

There is a slight difference between them. Rheostats usually have two connections, one fixed and the other moveable. Any variable resistor can properly be called a rheostat. The potentiometer always has three connections, two fixed and one moveable.

Generally, the rheostat has a limited range of values and a high current-handling capability. The potentiometer has a wide range of values, but it usually has a limited current-handling capability.

Potentiometers are always connected as voltage dividers.

Refer to the article on (Resistors) for an illustration.

(back) (top) (next) (return to resistance page)

Become a loyal member to our site. It's free!

Enter your E-mail Address
Enter your First Name (optional)

Don't worry — your e-mail address is totally secure.
I promise to use it only to send you Learn-about-electronics.

Site Search

Custom Search

Subscribe to me on YouTube

Translate your page

If English is not your first language you can Translate the text on this page to any one of the languages found in the drop down menu. Select your language from the list for an instant translation.

Looking for something unique for your project? Choose from the drop down menu for quick access to the item you seek.

Related Pages

soldering circuit board

Basic Electronics image

Become an Electronics Technician

Convert most anything with this utility

Coaxial cable

Find your wire and cable here!

Sponsored Sites

Sponsor Policy

Adobe Dreamweaver CS5

SBI! Proof

Learn more about SBI here!

If you like this site please pay it forward. Donations are welcome.