Potentiometers are the most common used angle sensors today. They are mainly used in industrial applications, for device construction and in the automotive industry. The range of potentiometers is very wide, from simple and cheap to very accurate, with a long service life and high reliability.
Each potentiometer contains a resistance path and a runner (contact) that moves along it. Depending on the design of the resistance path, three basic types of potentiometers are used:
- Potentiometers with resistive path made of conductive plastic
- Potentiometers with resistance path made of wound resistance wire
- Potentiometers with hybrid resistance path
Potentiometers with resistive path made of conductive plastic are characterized by high accuracy and durability, but are not designed for high loads. The current through the runner is not recommended to be greater than 2 µA. They are only produced as single-turn.
Potentiometers with resistance path made of wound resistance wire are mainly used in applications with higher loads. Their load can range from tens to hundreds of Watts. These potentiometers can be single-turn or multi-turn.
Potentiometers with hybrid resistance path are often multi-turn, as the benefits of hybrid technology apply the most here. It is based on a resistance path made of wound wire, while the gaps between the individual windings are filled with a special sealant. This ensures a smooth resistance path and thus high accuracy and durability.
Another important factor in potentiometers is the absolute value of the resistance of the resistance path. It ranges from a few Ohms to tens of Megaohms. In general, the higher the resistance value, the lower the consumption. On the other hand, noise and the overall susceptibility to interference increase, so a suitable compromise must be found for each application.