How to Use a Rheostat


A variable resistor called a rheostat has two connections, and hooks up in series with a voltage source to vary its level from the full voltage to nothing. Rheostats appear in thousands or electrical and electronic applications for a multitude of uses. When you vary room lighting with an adjustable knob, you use a rheostat. Since there is no specific use, you must have electrical skills to use a rheostat not already installed in a device. You must know how to connect wiring safely, and know how to select and use all applicable tools and hardware.

Things You'll Need

  • Standard electrician or electronics technician tools.
  • Various electrical or electronic hardware.
  • Shut off the voltage source to the device that you wish to control with a rheostat. Since rheostats come in a huge variety of sizes, this could be a tiny electronic circuit or a huge motor.

  • Connect one wire of your rheostat to either one of the two leads from your voltage source.

  • Connect one lead from the electrical device you want to control to the other lead of your rheostat.

  • Connect the other lead of the device you want to control to the other lead of your voltage source.

  • Turn the power to you voltage source back on.

  • Vary or turn the rheostat until your device reaches the level at which you want it to operate, be it light intensity, audio volume, heat, the speed of a motor or any other control.

Tips & Warnings

  • 1. Work carefully around electricity. Never work alone.
  • 2. Select a rheostat suitable for your application.

Related Searches


  • Photo Credit Comstock/Comstock/Getty Images
Promoted By Zergnet


You May Also Like

  • The History of the Rheostat

    A rheostat is a device with a resistance to electric current is dependent on the position of some type of mechanical element...

  • Uses of Resistors

    Resistors are electrical components that help control the flow of current in a circuit. A high resistance means there is less current...

  • What Is a Rheostat?

    A rheostat is a type of electrical component that provides the capacity to adjust resistance to electrical current. It is frequently equated...

  • What Are Resistors Used for?

    Resistors are electrical components that help control the amount of current in a circuit. The most common types are regular or ohmic...

  • Difference Between Potentiometer & Rheostat

    To control any electric or electronic device you vary voltage using a variable resistor. The two classes of variable resistors are rheostats...

  • How to Reduce Voltage With Resistors

    Electrical circuits influence nearly every facet of your life. Artificial lighting, kitchen stoves and automobiles are all electrical products -- and that’s...

  • How to Make a Simple Rheostat

    A rheostat is another name for a variable resistor. This simple component drops a certain amount of voltage in a circuit, which...

  • How to Vary Power to Electrical Motors

    Vary power to an electrical motor by controlling the voltage it uses. For example, an electrical motor, designed to operate using a...

  • How to Hook Up a Rheostat

    A rheostat is an electrical component that controls current resistance in a circuit, making it possible to increase or decrease the flow...

Related Searches

Check It Out

22 DIY Ways to Update Your Home on a Small Budget

Is DIY in your DNA? Become part of our maker community.
Submit Your Work!