Return-to-center potentiometer

In summary, an inexpensive, single-axis, return-to-center potentiometer is difficult to find and expensive. Allied carries a rocker pot made by ETI, but it costs $148 a piece. A five position r-t-c switch may be a cheaper option, but the user wants an analog pot rather than a digital one. A spring-driven return to the center position may be the best option, but is still hoping for a better one.
  • #1
Ivan Seeking
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Does anyone happen to know a good supplier for an inexpensive, single-axis, return-to-center potentiometer, in the 5-10K range? Maybe I just keep missing it, but I am finding surpringly few options. What I am finding is surprisingly expensive. For example, Allied carries a rocker pot made by ETI.
http://www.alliedelec.com/search/productdetail.aspx?SKU=5229600

But, wow, $148 a piece? It needs to be industrial grade, but even for an industrial grade pot, that seems pretty expensive. Ideally it would have a petcock-style actuator rather than a rocker.

In a pinch I could probably live with a five position r-t-c switch, but I really wanted to do this with analog.
 
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  • #2
I don't know how much these cost but here you go.
http://www.p3america.com/pp/scb50,fp50.htm"
scb50pp.jpg

http://www.p3america.com/pp/scx.htm"
scx50pp.jpg
 
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  • #3
dlgoff said:
I don't know how much these cost but here you go.
http://www.p3america.com/pp/scb50,fp50.htm"
scb50pp.jpg

http://www.p3america.com/pp/scx.htm"
scx50pp.jpg

I don't see anything indicating a return-to-center function?
 
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  • #4
Well they claim to be 360 degree.

edit: Maybe I don't understand what you mean by return to center. I was thinking 0 ohm to Max ohm then 0 ohm after 360 degree turn. i.e. back to where you started.
 
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  • #5
dlgoff said:
Well they claim to be 360 degree.

Ah, I think we have slight misunderstanding. I need a pot that has a spring-driven return to the center position. Note that the rocker pot always returns to a predefined null state when not manually actuated. It would be same way a joystick operates but only in one axis... and industrial grade.
 
  • #6
Oh I see. Never heard of such a thing. Maybe you could design one yourself?

edit: seems like a spring around the shaft of a single turn pot might work?
 
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  • #7
dlgoff said:
Oh I see. Never heard of such a thing. Maybe you could design one yourself?

Yuck! But I am starting to wonder. It wouldn't take much and I can easily allow for a wide predefined deadband in the signal to allow for offsets, but I would by far prefer to buy something off the shelf.

I wouldn't even mind the price of the rocker pot so much if it was the desired petcock design... but, still, that is spendy for a pot. I really expected to find something for well under $100.
 
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  • #8
I added an edit to my above post while you were posting I think. Could you get a cheap pot and put a spring around the shaft to bring it back to center?
 
  • #9
Yuck! I may have to but am open to other options. I have a few days before I have to decide. I would almost prefer to go with the rocker rather than something I have to rig. Ultimately someone else buys the pot, but if I make it, I assume additional liability unnecessarily.

Thanks dlgoff. That may be the best option but still hoping for a better one...
 
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  • #10
Have you considered doing it all digitally? It could cost a lot less and would be much more sexy!
 
  • #11
sophiecentaur said:
Have you considered doing it all digitally? It could cost a lot less and would be much more sexy!

Thanks. Good idea, but not appropriate for this application. We had one analog port left open after many months of design, and I realized that we could use that to add a valuable feature. I'm limited to one analog input having 12 bit resolution over 0-10 vdc.
 
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  • #12
Look what I've found.
http://www.precisionsales.com/joysticks/images/saj2515g.gif
"[URL SAJ2515G- Spring return to center with round G knob
[/URL]
 
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  • #13
dlgoff said:
Look what I've found.
http://www.precisionsales.com/joysticks/images/saj2515g.gif
"[URL SAJ2515G- Spring return to center with round G knob
[/URL]

BINGO! Don't know how I missed it, but thank you. I was sure someone must make this.

It comes in exactly the right style. Wunderbar!
 
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  • #14
Yikes! $300. I guess my expectations were way out of line. Apparently the reason for the high price is the precision spring return function. This is what worried me about making our own; repeatability on the return is probably an issue.
 
  • #15
Dang. So what's the verdict? Going to use it? I would guess not?
 
  • #16
dlgoff said:
Dang. So what's the verdict? Going to use it? I would guess not?

I think I will simulate the function on the prototype and let the customer make the call on the final product. If they want the added function, which I'm sure they will, the price won't matter. I just don't want to pocket the cost indefinitely. There is no time for a budget adder approval.

What matters is that I have the component identified with price in hand. No problem. Thanks again.

PS. Even if I chose to pocket the cost, the pot wouldn't be delivered before the product handoff occurs next Monday, for evaluation. There is about a one-week lead time. They probably only make them on demand.
 
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Related to Return-to-center potentiometer

What is a return-to-center potentiometer?

A return-to-center potentiometer is a type of potentiometer, a variable resistor, that is designed to automatically return to its center position when released. It is commonly used in electronic devices, such as joysticks or volume controls, to provide a centering mechanism.

How does a return-to-center potentiometer work?

A return-to-center potentiometer works by using a spring mechanism, which applies a force to return the potentiometer to its center position when not being actively turned. This is achieved by using a special type of potentiometer called a spring-loaded potentiometer, which has a spring attached to the shaft.

What are the advantages of using a return-to-center potentiometer?

The main advantage of using a return-to-center potentiometer is that it allows for precise and consistent centering of a control. This can be especially useful in applications where accuracy and control are important, such as in gaming or audio equipment.

Are there any limitations to using a return-to-center potentiometer?

One limitation of a return-to-center potentiometer is that it may not be suitable for applications where constant resistance is needed, as the spring mechanism may cause slight variations in resistance. Additionally, the spring mechanism may wear out over time, affecting the functionality of the potentiometer.

Can a return-to-center potentiometer be used in different types of circuits?

Yes, a return-to-center potentiometer can be used in a variety of circuits, as long as it is properly connected and the circuit design allows for a variable resistor. They are commonly used in both analog and digital circuits for a range of applications.

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