Potentiometers that make Sense for Sensing
Abstract: Despite their perceived simplicity, potentiometers can still be an appropriate option today’s ever complicated automation industry. Fundamentally a variable resistor, modern potentiometers also offer more traditional outputs such as voltage and current which are common to more expensive sensors. Furthermore, modern potentiometers have been improved to address many of the shortcomings of their predecessors and can offer customization that previously was only offered with more expensive sensors.
Background: Potentiometers are one of the oldest and simplest linear sensor options. Acting as a variable resistor, a voltage differential is applied across a resistor and a wiper slides along it. The ratio of the voltage along the wiper with respect to the voltage supply provides the user with the position of the wiper.
Because of their simplicity and low-cost, linear potentiometers have found their way into countless applications such as:
- Industrial Automation
- Material Handling
- Mobile Machinery