Voltage dividers take the voltage across them (often directly from the power supply) and output a fraction of that voltage as a signal.

Some common ways to make a voltage divider:

  • Series fixed resistors
  • potentiometer/trimmer potentiometer (trimpot) – 3 terminal component that has a fixed resistance path and a slider that outputs any point across that resistive path.
  • fixed and variable resistor – manually controlled variable resistor, light dependent resistor (photoresistor), thermister etc. can be used.
  • Semiconductor – Typically used as a voltage release valve. Commonly a reverse biased Zener diode ::This is actually a voltage regulator technique that is much less dependent on source voltage:: 

Some examples to test out:

  • The node between 2 equal value resistors connected to the power supply will output 1/2 the power supply voltage.
  • 3 equal value series resistors will be able to output 1/3 power source voltage at the node closer to DC ground (0V reference point), and 2/3 power source voltage at the node closer to Psource voltage. 

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