Potentiometer vs Voltmeter: Difference and Comparison

Key Takeaways

  1. Function: A potentiometer is used to vary and control voltage in a circuit, while a voltmeter measures the voltage between two points in a circuit directly.
  2. Connection: A potentiometer is connected in series with the circuit, allowing voltage measurement at different points along its resistive element. A voltmeter is connected in parallel with the circuit to measure the voltage across specific points.
  3. Adjustment and Display: A potentiometer has a sliding contact that can be moved to adjust the measured voltage, but it does not have a built-in display. A voltmeter has preset voltage ranges and may have an analog or digital display to indicate the measured voltage.

What is a Potentiometer?

A potentiometer is an electrical component. Its short form is “pot,” used for measuring and adjusting electrical resistance in a circuit. It consists of a resistive component and a portative contact, which can slide along the element, changing the resistance of the circuit.

The potentiometer is a three-terminal resistor device. It has two outer terminals connected to the resistive element with a moving contact. Electronic circuits for volume and tone control use potentiometers. It can also measure and modify temperature, intensity of light, and position.

Volunteers use potentiometers as calibration tools. Potentiometers come in several varieties and sizes. Some of them are rotary potentiometers, trim potentiometers, and slide potentiometers. All these types are used differently, and they offer different edges.

Potentiometers can also propose control over audio circuits. With this, the user can distribute audio signals between two output channels. With frequent use, potentiometers can tear. It will raise issues such as noise or crackling in the audio signal. To avoid such situations regular maintenance and replacement of worn potentiometers are needed to avoid such situations. It will assure optimal performance.

What is Voltmeter?

A voltmeter is capable of measuring the voltage between two input terminals. This electrical circuit measures the voltage of a battery or any other power supply. With a voltmeter, one can also check the output of a generator.

Voltmeters can be analog or digital. It is designed according to the intended use. There are dedicated volunteers to reckon small voltages like millivolts or microvolts. At the same time, for measuring higher voltages, such as kilovolts or megavolts, different volunteers are prepared.

Digital voltmeters, or DVMs, use digital circuitry to measure the voltage. As it is digital, it will display the results digitally. Analog voltmeters, on the other hand, have a moving pointer or needle to reveal the voltage. In some cases, voltmeters need a specific type of electrical system, such as AC or DC. However, some are designed to work with both.

Difference Between Potentiometer and Voltmeter

  1. Potentiometer is founded on the zero or null deflection method, whereas the voltmeter is established on the deflection method.
  2. Potentiometer will calculate voltage by changing resistance, but a voltmeter does not require this change. It can measure directly.
  3. The accuracy level of the potentiometer is proven to be lower when compared to the voltmeter.
  4. Potentiometer has several applications, such as being capitalized for calibrating other instruments or adjusting circuits. At the same time, one can utilize voltmeters for measuring the voltage of a battery or circuit.
  5. Potentiometer has a limited range when it comes to the measurement range. However, this range is wide in voltmeters.
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Comparison Between Potentiometer and Voltmeter

Parameter of ComparisonPotentiometerVoltmeter
PurposeIt is used to measure voltage by changing resistance.It is used to measure voltage directly.
Range of measurementIts measurement range is limited to a few volts.Its measurement range is wide, ranging from millivolts to kilovolts.
Accuracy levelIts accuracy level is lower than a voltmeter.Comparatively, its accuracy level is higher.
Used methodIt depends on the zero-deflection method.It depends on the deflection method.
SensitivityIt is regarded as highly sensitive.It is less sensitive when compared to a potentiometer.
ResistanceAt the time of measuring the unknown potential difference, the resistance of the potentiometer becomes infinite.When measuring the unknown potential difference, the resistance of the potentiometer becomes infinite.
  1. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/0038110165900031
  2. https://aapt.scitation.org/doi/abs/10.1119/1.1888084

Last Updated : 27 July, 2023

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