The Secret Life Of A Potentiometer…

The little chap in the photo is a potentiometer.  This one is for a Freeway.  But there are variations, depending upon your model of PowaKaddy trolley.  We stock the full range – if you can’t easily find yours, just type potentiometer into the search box at the top right of the website and it will take you to the full page of listings.  They are also often referred to as ‘pots’ and because I am going to be typing this a lot, I am going to refer them, in a rather forward and familiar fashion, as pots from now on.  It’s OK.  We have been introduced.

We have also prepared a brief video tutorial on fitting a new pot.  You can see this here. It’s a pretty straightforward wrangle and the video really breaks it down, step by step.

But Alfie thought that you might like to know what is going on with the pot.  He thinks this because we get a lot of queries about pot-related problems.

Confusion of the terminology is a common early stumbling block.  The most common – and very understandable  - error people make is referring to the knob they turn in order to make a trolley go, as a switch.  It is in fact a potentiometer.  Pot to you. The trolley does have a switch but that is elsewhere.

A switch is an electrical component used to break or make a circuit, like a light switch. Most trolleys have one on the handle and you would use it to stop your trolley; and then get it to re-start at the same speed it was travelling at, when you stopped it.  Thereby saving you the trouble of resetting your speed and saving wear and tear on the pot.

The part you rotate to control the trolley’s speed is a pot. A switch cannot vary the levels of power travelling through it.  The switch will simply start, or stop, the trolley.

The pot is the rather more clever chapie that establishes the levels of output. For example, in a loudspeaker, a pot is used to adjust the volume. In a television set, computer monitor or light dimmer, it can be used to control the brightness of the screen or light bulb.  In the case of a golf trolley they control the level of power going to the motor and thereby control the trolley’s speed.

Inside they have a resistive ring made of carbon. As you increase the speed of your trolley the point of contact moves from one end, with low resistance to the other, with high resistance. The higher the resistance the greater the speed.

They are subject to wear and tear.  A typical symptom of pot-failure or imminent failure, is intermittent stop-starting of your trolley.  There are other reasons why this may be happening and you can read about these here.  It can be worn motor brushes, or a frayed cable – but once you’ve checked these, using our handy guide, you will probably be looking at the pot as the culprit.

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