SoftPot Hookup Guide

Pages
Contributors: Jimb0
Favorited Favorite 3

Introduction

Soft potentiometers are very thin and very unique potentiometers. Instead of a knob or physical slider, the softpot’s wiper is any object – a finger, pen cap, stylus, etc – that can slide across its sensor membrane. Softpots can be used as position sensors in CNC machines, volume control sliders in custom stereos, throttles for drones, or in any project that requires linear movement sensing.

SoftPot Membrane Potentiometer - 50mm

SEN-08680
$4.95
1

Like any potentiometer, the softpot is a three terminal device. The middle pin is the wiper, and the other two terminals are the high and low ends of the resistive element. By supplying the outer terminals with a power and ground connection, the middle terminal can be used to produce a variable voltage.

Suggested Materials

This tutorial serves as a quick primer on soft potentiometers, and demonstrates how to hook them up and use them. In addition to the softpot, the following materials are recommended:

Arduino Uno – We’ll be using the Arduino’s analog-to-digital converter to read in the variable voltage of the softpot. Any Arduino-compatible development platform – be it a RedBoard, Pro or Pro Mini – can substitute.

Breadboard and Jumper Wires – The soft pot three terminals are breadboard compatible. The breadboard is used as an intermediary device between sensor and jumper wires to the Arduino.

Breadboard - Self-Adhesive (White)

PRT-12002
$4.95
35
Jumper Wires Standard 7" M/M - 30 AWG (30 Pack)

PRT-11026
$1.95
20

DEV-12757
127 Retired

Suggested Reading

SoftPot’s are a great entry-level component for beginners, but there are still a few basic electronics concepts you should be familiar with. If any of these tutorial titles sound foreign to you, consider skimming through that content first.

Analog to Digital Conversion

The world is analog. Use analog to digital conversion to help digital devices interpret the world.

What is an Arduino?

What is this 'Arduino' thing anyway?

Resistors

A tutorial on all things resistors. What is a resistor, how do they behave in parallel/series, decoding the resistor color codes, and resistor applications.

Analog vs. Digital

This tutorial covers the concept of analog and digital signals, as they relate to electronics.