We already know the purpose of potentiometers – to variate resistance and control the output voltage and current. This is a simple function and yet we can accomplish so many things from it such as varying volume in stereos, controlling the brightness of LEDs and LCDs, tuning radio frequencies, and more.
But a digital potentiometer is a regular potentiometer, but on steroids! They let us achieve similar purposes of traditional potentiometers with lesser size – saving us a lot of space on an electrical component. Additionally, they are much better and more suitable for harsh environments and can be used on integrated circuits (IC) of industrial machinery. Ahead, we will discuss what digital potentiometers are, their benefits over analog potentiometers, and their applications.
What Are Digital Potentiometers?
A digital potentiometer works just like a regular potentiometer, but with the added advantage of being controlled by digital signals instead of mechanical movement. They are essentially resistors that can control the value of resistance, current, and voltage in a circuit to attain a certain output.
However, what’s more, interesting about digital potentiometers is, that they can automatically vary their resistance (to control voltage and current) at certain preset conditions. So, instead of forcing yourself to stay super vigilant to identify changing conditions so you can manually rotate a knob, a digital potentiometer will do that for you, automatically.
Benefits of Digital Potentiometer Over Regular Potentiometers
Digital potentiometers can serve several benefits, here are a few that make them better for various scenarios:
- They are smaller than conventional potentiometers, which means multiple potentiometers can be packed on a single chip.
- They take up a very small space on the IC of an electrical component, which means more components can be packed in a tighter space.
- Digital potentiometers are encapsulated, which makes them durable in harsher environments and more resistant to dust, dirt, moisture, grease, and vibration.
- They can change their values automatically, which means you don’t have to physically turn a knob after every small interval or a change in condition.
- They can be made with volatile or nonvolatile memory to retain their state prior to shutdown or reset to a preset value respectively.
Where Are Digital Potentiometers Used?
Digital potentiometers are used quite popular today. Here are a few of their applications:
- Computers – They provide set-points for temperature regulation, program power supply devices, and be used as battery chargers.
- Automotive Industry – They can be used for calibration sensors, adjusting navigational tools and displays, and regulating actuators and various instruments.
- Adjusting brightness and contrast in LEDs
- Volume control in stereos and other audio devices.
What To Consider While Purchasing Digital Potentiometers?
As digital potentiometers serve valuable purposes, sometimes more crucial than regular potentiometers, you need to be extra careful when purchasing them. You need to make sure they are of high quality and can provide the required specs that you need.
When that’s the case, look no further than TME. TME supplies up to 275 different types of digital potentiometers. The stock of each type can reach up to 459 pieces, which means you don’t have to worry about long wait times on bulk orders. About versatility, TME supplies digital potentiometers with resistances ranging from 1kΩ – 100kΩ. So, you can find a potentiometer up to your exact requirement as well.
As for quality, TME upholds the highest quality standards and maintains ISO certifications that include ISO 9001:2009 and 14001:2005. Perhaps it’s their versatility, quality products, 30+ years of experience, or a combination of them, that has made them capable of sending 5,000 shipments to over 150 countries, daily. If you are looking for a digital potentiometer, start by following this link https://www.tme.com/us/en-us/katalog/digital-potentiometers_100622/.
Digital potentiometers work just like regular potentiometers, only they are tinier, more durable, more resistant, and can control outputs with digital signals. They are used in a variety of applications in the automotive, computer, manufacturing industries, or any type of industry that involves the use of computers or electrical components. You can find high-quality digital potentiometers, set to your exact requirements at TME.