A variable resistor with three terminals-one on each end of the resistor and one "wiper" which contacts the resistor midpoint to indicate a variable position.

The output is a voltage that is variable depending upon the position of the wiper contact. The potentiometer is commonly referred to as a variable voltage divider.

It, in effect, converts mechanical information into an electrical signal.

See also: Resistance, Rheostat.

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Subjects: Electronics Physics