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Review of Todd: The Potentiometer Handbook

Download The Potentiometer Handbook by Carl David Todd, written for Bourns Inc. 1975, with minor updates (the standards in Appendix I and Appendix II, p. 210-211) in 2008, 227 pages.

You may be surprised that someone has written a 227 page book about such a seemingly simple component as a potentiometer. And you may wonder whether reading it cover to cover is worth your time. As an absolute minimum, I recommend that you take a look at these pages and chapters:

Fig 2-41 on p. 48 summarises the electrical parameters of a potentiometer. Take a look at it to see which of them might be relevant for you application and then study the detailed description (referenced in the "page" column). While the existence of some parameters like the Temperature Coefficent are obvious, the existence of others like "Adjustability" may come as big surprise to you - if you thought you could just continuously turn the potentiometer to adjust the desired value with an arbitrary precision.

You should also look at figure 7-37 (starting p. 174) Part A Trimmer selection guide for cost-effective application, and Part B Precision potentiometer selection guide for cost-effective applications. They will help you to select the right potentiometer for your needs.

Finally the most important information - chapter 9 (starting at p. 193) "To Kill a Potentiometer". This chapter tells you about the most common problems (mechanical, thermal and electrical) that might effect the reliability of your potentiometer or even kill it right on the spot.

You may also be interested in some Recommendations for Resistor Resources.

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