What is a rheostat? Types commonly used today

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A rheostat or potentiometer is an electronic component commonly used in electrical circuits and devices. But do you really understand “What is a rheostat?” What is a variable resistor used for? Below is information about the rheostat provided by Thetech.

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What is a rheostat?

A rheostat is a component of a purely resistive electronic device with the ability to convert any voltage level. A rheostat is also a device capable of regulating current in electrical circuits.

The rheostat, also known as a potentiometer, is an electronic component that contains a sliding or rotating element that changes the resistance value. The rheostats have many types and are widely used in industrial or civil electricity.

What is a rheostat

A rheostat is an element used to regulate the operation of an electrical circuit or used in applications to help transform resistance to easily control other devices with similar phenomena.

There are currently two main types of resistors that cannot change their values. Another type of resistor can change its value depending on factors such as conductor length, temperature, light or electronic radiation, etc.

What is a rheostat

Types of rheostats commonly used today

In the field of electrical circuits, the types of rheostats are classified according to their shapes. With different types of rheostats, they are suitable for use in industrial or civil circuits. Here are the types of rheostats and the most common types of rheostats used in combination with electrical circuits:

  • Hand crank rheostat
  • Rheostat arm
  • Coal rheostat
  • Winding rheostat

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What are the rheostats used for?

As you know, a rheostat is used in engineering to change the resistance of a circuit according to the user’s wishes. The effects and uses of rheostats in life are quite diverse, which can be mentioned as follows:

Potentiometer application

The types of rheostats used for potentiometers are 3-pole types for installation on electrical circuits. Meanwhile, the output voltage will come from a moving terminal similar to the voltage divider circuit. When a rheostat is used, the voltage will decrease the conductivity along the resistor to equal the supply voltage level. In addition, the output circuit will be connected with resistance and load voltage. This principle of operation is commonly used in rheostat-controlled circuits. The geometry of the potentiometer will be determined by voltages with arc or line direction. 

What is a rheostat

Adjust electric current

With the solution of installing a rheostat, you can see the rheostat in the main circuit increasing and decreasing the current when moving to the installation location of the device. The resistor is then switched to control the change in current in the opposite direction. The principle of operation is very simple: the higher the impedance, the lower the current. When using a current-regulating rheostat, the resistor can carry large currents.


By learning which rheostat is used in a circuit, you can understand the effect of fine-tuning the rheostat. Fine-tuned rheostats are simply understood as miniature rheostats consisting of three poles mounted directly on the circuit. The current value is adjusted during loop calibration. For example, a rheostat is a tool used to adjust the brightness of an LED mounted on an LED, or a rheostat can be used to increase or decrease the sound of an audio device.

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Hopefully, sharing what the rheostat is above will help everyone have a more detailed view of the rheostat in practice. Surely you already know, “What is a rheostat?” Follow other articles in The Tech to discover useful information about electronic components, circuits, solder, etc.!

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