This section provides an overview for variable resistors as well as their applications and principles. Also, please take a look at the list of 14 variable resistor manufacturers and their company rankings. Here are the top-ranked variable resistor companies as of December, 2023: 1.Alpha Electronics Corp., 2.HOKURIKU ELECTRIC INDUSTRY CO.,LTD, 3.ALPS ALPINE CO., LTD.
A variable resistor is a resistor whose resistance value can be freely changed.
Generally, it consists of a resistive element and a sliding element that moves on the surface of the resistive element. In other words, the resistance value is determined by the position of the sliding element.
Variable resistors are also sometimes called potentiometers.
Variable resistors are used in a variety of electronic devices. A typical example is the volume control mechanism in audio equipment. It is called a volume control.
Variable resistors are also used in game controllers, brightness adjustment mechanisms for lighting equipment, and position detection. For example, if a variable resistor is designed to move in synchronization with the windshield wipers of a car, the resistance value will change depending on the position of the windshield wipers. Using this feature, the position of the wipers can be detected by monitoring the resistance value of the variable resistor when controlling the movement of the wipers.
Because of these various applications, variable resistors are widely used not only in electronic equipment but also in marine equipment, medical equipment, construction machinery, and machine tools. Variable resistors include those whose resistance value is changed by turning a rotary shaft and those whose resistance value is changed by sliding a knob.
A variable resistor has both ends of a resistive element with a constant resistance value and three electrodes connected to a sliding element that moves on the resistive element. The resistance value between the electrodes on one side of the resistive element and the electrodes of the sliding element varies as the sliding element moves. When a voltage is applied between both terminals of the variable resistor's resistive element, the voltage divided by the voltage is obtained from the terminals of the sliding element.
That is, when a signal voltage is applied to both ends of the resistive element, the signal voltage between one of the reference terminals and the sliding element terminal is determined by the position of the sliding element. Therefore, the level of the signal voltage can be controlled freely by moving the slider.
By applying a constant voltage to both ends of the resistive element and measuring the voltage between the reference terminal on one side and the sliding element terminal, a voltage corresponding to the position of the sliding element can be obtained. From this voltage, the position of the sliding element sliding element can be obtained, so it can be used as a displacement sensor.
The linear type is a type with a sliding knob. In mutation sensor applications, it is used to detect a position on a straight line.
The rotary type rotates a rotary shaft. In mutation sensor applications, it is used to detect the angle of rotation.
Multi Revolution Type
In order to change the resistance value with high accuracy, there is also a variable resistor called a multi-turn type. This type uses gears to decelerate the movement of the rotating shaft to enable subtle resistance value settings.
The resistance value of a variable resistor indicates the resistance value between the terminals at both ends of the resistive element, and generally, resistors in the range of 100Ω to 1MΩ are often used. In the rotary type variable resistors, there are three types of resistance value change with the rotation angle of the sliding element: Type B, which is a straight line; Type A, which is a logarithmic curve; and Type C, which is an inverse logarithmic curve.
Variable Resistors With A Curve Characteristics
Variable resistors are mainly used for volume control of audio equipment. Since human hearing is not proportional to the loudness of electrical signals, but to their logarithm. The A-curve characteristic is perceived as a linear change in volume by the auditory sense.
Variable Resistors With B Curve Characteristics
Variable resistors with B curve characteristics are used for adjusting electronic circuits, mutation sensors, etc.
Variable Resistors With C Curve Characteristics
This curve has the opposite characteristics of the A curve and is limited to special applications. Examples of use include adjustment of audio sound quality and effectors.
Digital variable resistors are electronic components whose resistance value can be varied by a controller, such as a PC, etc. A set of resistors and switch elements configured inside an IC can be switched by a control signal from the controller to set a desired resistance value.
Since there are no sliding elements, there is no abrasion, and a highly accurate resistance value can be obtained stably. There is also no noise generated by the sliding element. In addition, they generally have a long service life and high performance.
*Including some distributors, etc.
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Alpha Electronics Corp., headquartered in Tokyo, Japan, has been a manufacturer of metal foil resistors since 1978. Its resistors are acclaimed for their precision, low temperature coefficient, and extended lifespan, catering to diverse applications like telecommunications, industrial automation, and medical devices. Offerings include an extensive range of resistors, including surface mount, wirewound, thin film, and SMD resistors, accommodating varying needs in industries such as consumer electronics and automotive. The company participates in a joint program with National Metrology Institute of Japan (NMIJ) on the further development of Bulk Metal Foil metrology standard resistors.
Japan Resistor Mrg. Co., Ltd develops, manufactures electronic devices, sensor compound apparatuses, hybrid integrated circuits, SMC products, sensors, potentiometers, heaters and resistors. JRM develops these for electronic devices, and industrial equipment, automotive, and medical equipment industries. JRM has acquired ISO 14001 certification and is expanding to support green power industries.
Hokuriku Electric Industry Co. LTD., founded in 1943 and headquartered in Toyama, Japan, is a manufacturer and supplier of electronic components. Some of its products include circuit modules, fixed resistors, printed circuit boards, variable resistors, and NTC Thermistors, and it has eight domestic affiliate companies and 11 overseas affiliate companies, including HDK America Inc., and HDK China Ltd. The company is ISO 14001 certified, and it is working on producing products that are RoHS compliant. Its net sales for the 2022 fiscal year were 45.46 billion Japanese Yen, which was a 5.01 billion YoY increase from 2021.
ALPS ALPINE CO., established in 1948, is a manufacturer and supplier of sensors＆communication, modules＆systems, and components based in Tokyo, Japan. The company serves the energy, healthcare, automotive, mobile, and consumer electronics domains, where they combine and build on core device technology, including human-machine interfaces, SENSORING™, and connectivity. For example, in the healthcare industry, they supply components for medical equipment, including control switches, sensors, lenses, and joysticks, and the Senclear™ Microfluidic Devices for drug discovery and development. Their power conversion modules, current sensors inverters, and converters are used in the energy industry in storage batteries, solar power systems, and electric vehicle charging systems.
ShenZhen Ronghua Technology co., LTD is a sensor and USB camera modules and optical lenses manufacturer established in China in 2013. In its catalogue, the company also includes electronic components, PCB plate making and SMT patch/plug-in processing. Its products are not only sold in China, but also exported to various countries and regions, including Europe, America and Southeast Asia. The firm has obtained ISO9001, CE, ROHS, UL and SGS certificates. It can also issue certificates of analysis/conformance; insurance; origin, and other export documents.
KWK Resistors India Private Limited is a power resistor manufacturer in India founded in 1979. The company is a joint Venture that was forged in 2013 between: KSI Group India, Widap Switzerland and Krah Group, Germany. The company offer solutions across the broad spectrum of the resistive requirements, from a fraction of a watt to hundreds of kilowatts, from SMDs to wire wounds, carbon film, precision, punched grids, metal Clad. The serves industries like defense, healthcare and more.
Borna Electronics, established in 1984 and headquartered in Tehran, Iran, is a manufacturer and supplier of electrical and electronic equipment. The company's product range includes electronic relays, cathodic protection equipment, and corrosion monitoring systems, serving sectors such as oil and gas, power generation, water treatment, marine, and civil engineering. Its services include design, manufacturing, installation, maintenance, and technical support. The company is devoted to delivering quality and creativity, as reflected in its OHSAS 18001:2007, ISO 14001:2004, and ISO 9001:2015 accreditations.
Xianyang Qinhua Specail Electronic Component Co.,Ltd, a company established in 2000, based in Xianyang, Shaanxi province, China, is a manufacturer and supplier of high voltage and high frequency resistors and related products. The company provides various products such as wire wound resistors, metal glaze film resistors, oxide film resistors, water cooled resistors, and ribbon wound resistors. The products are used for various applications such as high voltage testing, high voltage power supply and switches, high voltage soft starter, X-ray device, medical equipment, high frequency inverter, power plant, broadcasting transmitter as dummy load, and basic physics research.
Reckon Resistors Private Limited, a company established in 1998, based in Ghaziabad, Uttar Pradesh, India, is a manufacturer and supplier of wire wound resistors and related products. The company provides various products such as wire wound silicon coated resistor, wire wound ceramic encased resistor, electronic power resistor, battery discharge resistor, three phase line choke, aluminum housed dynamic braking resistor, and metal film resistor. These products are designed to be durable, energy efficient, and engineered to save money. Today, its consistency in delivering advanced technology based qualitative component range has helped us to establish a firm footing in the electronic component markets.
Eurotronix Company, established in 1986, based in Barcelona, Spain, is a distributor and supplier of electronic and electromechanical components and solutions. The company provides various products such as batteries, modules, antenna components, connectors, assemblies, converters, sensors, and more. These products are designed to be dependable, efficient, and cost-effective. It pursues the generating the added worth beyond the expectations of its customers in a dynamic and competitive world, supported by the work of its team as well as the experience and confidence of its suppliers.
Vaibhav Resistor Company, a company established in 2002, based in Mumbai, Maharashtra, India, is a manufacturer and supplier of wire wound resistors and related products. The company provides various products such as ceramic encased wire wound resistors, silicon radial wire wound resistors, mold resistors, and power resistors. These products are designed to be durable, energy efficient, and engineered to save money. The products are used for various applications such as power generation, distribution, and industrial automation. It also offers customer services that include technical support, catalog request, and customized services.
ALPS Technocrafts is a Manufacturer, Exporter and Supplier of Electrical Products. The company is located in Faridabad, Haryana and came to inception in 1990. The company offers various products such as Rotary Carbon Potentiometers, Rotary Switches, Push button switch, Preset Variable Resistor and Fan Regulator Circuits. The company’s products are designed to ensure safe and efficient electrical connections and power distribution in various applications, from residential and commercial wiring to industrial installations. The company’s electrical products serve industries including residential, commercial, and industrial sectors.
Hybrid Electronics is a global distribution specialist of electronic components, with access to over 50 million unique components. Among the markets HE serves are the aerospace, automotive, communications, defense, industrial, medical, national security, and test & measurement industries. In addition to components, HE also provides quality and compliance testing, counterfeit detection, upscreening, and other forms of quality control. Examples of component subtypes that HE offers include ICs, batteries, capacitors, semiconductor products, sensors, circuit protection, interconnectors, filters, optoelectronics, relays, switches, power supplies, and cables and cable assemblies.
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