Four-Channel Audio Mixer
AC Electric Circuits
A very common misconception students have about potentiometers is the relationship between resistance and direction of wiper motion. For instance, it is common to hear a student say something like this, “Turning the potentiometer so the wiper moves up will increase the resistance of the potentiometer.”
Explain why it does not really make sense to say something like this.
Potentiometers are manufactured in two different “tapers”: linear and audio. Linear taper potentiometers provide a direct, linear relationship between wiper position and resistance division, so that equal changes in wiper position result in equal changes in resistance. Audio taper potentiometers provide a non-linear (logarithmic, to be exact) relationship between wiper position and resistance division, so that the same amount of wiper motion at one end of its range gives a much greater change in resistance than at the other end of its range.
Suppose you have a potentiometer, but do not know whether it has a linear or audio taper. How could you determine this, using a meter?
Published under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution License