Q:

What is the difference between a potentiometer and a rheostat?

A:

A potentiometer is a three-terminal variable resistor, while a rheostat is a two-terminal variable resistor. Electricians usually use rheostats to adjust current and potentiometers to adjust voltage. Potentiometers work as rheostats, but rheostats cannot function as potentiometers.

Potentiometers control a circuit's signal level rather than its power level. Many electronic audio devices feature potentiometers, such as the volume control system on a television. They also serve as position transducers in joysticks and voltage divider circuits. Electricians employ rheostats, on the other hand, for handling much higher voltages and currents. They feature two terminals and a movable wiper that switches from zero to maximum resistance.

Learn More

Related Questions

  • Q:

    Why is electrical grounding important?

    A:

    Electrical grounding reduces the risk of severe electrical shock from uninsulated metal components inside of electrical devices, appliances and power tools. When a grounded system is secured properly, the leaking current, known as the fault current, is transferred harmlessly. This type of grounding is common in the manufacturing industry and prevents hazardous static charges from accumulating.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    What is the difference between metal clad cable and armored cable?

    A:

    According to Radioshack, the difference between metal clad cables and armored cables is that armored cables are used for higher electrical draw installations, while metal clad cables are used for lower current loads. They differ in wire gauge, resistance, grounding, installation and limitations.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    How can I pull wire through a conduit?

    A:

    To pull wire through an electrical conduit with an existing pull wire, make a loop in the pull wire, attach the new wire, and have an assistant pull the wires while you lubricate them. The supplies you need are a wire spool, tape, lubricant and a cable puller.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    What causes a power transformer to hum?

    A:

    Sheets of magnetic steel in the transformer vibrate in a magnetic field, generating an audible hum. Transformers operate by changing an electric current with one voltage and current value to a magnetic field, which is then transformed back into an electric current with a different voltage and current value.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:

Explore