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A rheostat is a continuously variable ohmic resistor, i.e. a potentiometer.

The difference between a rheostat and a potentiometer is that the potentiometer uses three terminals and forms a voltage divider, whereas the rheostat uses only two terminals: An end terminal and the wiper contact. It is therefore an adjustable resistor whose current flow depends on the position of the wiper contact.

Wire rheostat for high power, photo:

Wire rheostat for high power, photo:

Rheostats can be made of carbon film or resistance wire deposited on a solid material such as cermet. Thus, all potentiometer designs are possible: layered, wire or helical rheostats. Rheostats are typically used at high power levels ranging from several watts to several hundred kilowatts. The resistance values can be in the ohm or kilo-ohm range.

Englisch: rheostat
Updated at: 02.02.2021
#Words: 127
Links: potentiometer, voltage divider, terminal, current, carbon (C)
Translations: DE

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