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Potential Divider

A potential divider is a simple circuit that uses resisters(or thermistors / LDR’s) to supply a variable potential difference.

They can be used as audio volume controls, to control the temperature in a freezer or monitor changes in light in a room.

Two resistors divide up the potential difference supplied to them from a cell. The proportion of the available p.d. that the two resistors get depends on there resistance values.

  • Vin = p.d. supplied by the cell
  • Vout = p.d. across the resistor of interest
  • R1 = resistance of resistor of interest R1
  • R2= resistance of resistor R2

Potential divider diagram 1

potential divider equation

Example; use the information in the diagram below to find Vout.

Potential divider question 1

Potential divider answer 1