Trimpot – Trimmer potentiometer – Voltage divider – Variable resistor

Trimmer potentiometers (trimpots) are a resistance based, three terminal, voltage divider or variable resistor component, that can typically be plugged directly into an electronics prototype breadboard.

Brief circuit schematics with short video – List of pages

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Basic trimpot (trimmer potentiometer) properties

  • 3 terminals: 2 of the terminals, probably on opposing sides of the component, are connected to the ends of a resistive element. The third terminal is connected to a wiper that slides anywhere along the resistive element. A rotatable knob or screwdriver slot is usually how the wiper position is adjusted.
  • Variable resistor: When only one side of the resistive element and the wiper are connect to a circuit, a resistance will be provided based on how far the wiper is from the resistive end. Instead of leaving the other terminal of the resistive element end floating, it can be connected directly to the wiper. The wiper output will ignore this connection unless the wiper loses connection to the resistive element. Then the full resistance will be delivered to the output.
  • Voltage divider: When both ends of the trimpot resistive element terminals are connected to a voltage, then the wiper will output a fraction of that voltage based on the position of the trimpot wiper. The trimpot is commonly connected across the power supply, and the output voltage is usually in relationship to 0V ground.


Trimpot trimmer potentiometer variable resistor voltage divider electronics component explained


Beginner electronics variable resistor component basics by electronzap electronzapdotcom
Beginner electronics variable resistor component basics by electronzap electronzapdotcom
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