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he original potentiometer is a type of bridge circuit for measuring voltages. The word itself derives from the phrase "voltage potential," and "potential" was used to refer to "strength." The original potentiometers are divided into four main classes: the constant resistance potentiometer, the constant current potentiometer, the microvolt potentiometer and the thermocouple potentiometer.
Constant current potentiometer
This is used for measuring voltages below 1.5 volts. In this circuit, the unknown voltage is connected across a section of resistance wire the ends of which are connected to a standard electrochemical cell that provides a constant current through the wire, The unknown emf, in series with a galvanometer, is then connected across a variable-length section of the resistance wire using a sliding contact(s). The sliding contact is moved until no current flows into or out of the standard cell, as indicated by a galvanometer in series with the unknown emf. The voltage across the selected section of wire is then equal to the unknown voltage. All that remains is to calculate the unknown voltage from the current and the fraction of the length of the resistance wire that was connected to the unknown emf. The galvanometer does not need to be calibrated, as its only function is to read zero. When the galvanometer reads zero, no current is drawn from the unknown electro motive force and so the reading is independent of the source's internal resistance
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