18th November 2019

resistorguide
15

What is a variable resistance?

A rheostat is a variable resistor which is used to control current. They are able to vary the resistance in a circuit without interruption. It uses only two connections, even when 3 terminals (as in a potentiometer) are present.

Subsequently, one may also ask, why do we use rheostat?

Rheostat is an adjustable or variable resistor. It is used to control the electrical resistance of a circuit without interrupting the flow of current. Rheostat has 3 terminals and usually consist of a resistive wire wrapped to form a toroid coil with a wiper that slides along the surface of the coil.

What is the main difference between a potentiometer and a rheostat?

Only the slider and one other terminal are used. A potentiometer uses all three terminals, enabling a variable voltage or signal to be tapped off from the slider. Potentiometers and rheostats are made the same way, but rheostats are usually much "beefier", as they are generally used in high-power situations.

What is the purpose of the rheostat in the circuit?

A rheostat is a variable resistor. By changing the resistance you can control the current flowing through it. This can then be used to control downstream devices like transistors or lamps. Dimmer switches on incandescent lights are rheostats.
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