Controlling a Linear Actuator with Potentiometer and Arduino


Zhitao asks,

I’m looking for a solution to control a linear actuator with a potentiometer. I am just wondering if you have any kit that I can use to start with?

Thanks for your question Zhitao!

A linear potentiometer is a three-terminal resistor with a sliding contact that forms a variable voltage divider.

We have a number of linear potentiometers available on Little Bird Electronics. A good one to get started with is the Slide Pot - X-Large (10k Linear Taper).

Slide Pot - X-Large (10k Linear Taper)

You’ll of course need an Arduino such as the Arduino Uno.

Arduino Uno - R3

You may want some hookup wire for connecting your potentiometer to your Arduino.

Hook-Up Wire - Assortment (Solid Core, 22 AWG)

Add all parts to cart


Hookup your Slide Pot - X-Large (10k Linear Taper) to your Arduino Uno per the diagram below:

Example Code

  Example code for reading a Linear Potentiometer
  Reads an analog input on pin A0, prints the result
  to the serial port

  This example code is in the public domain.

void setup() {

void loop() {
  int sensorValue = analogRead(A0);

Controlling a Linear Actuator

Zhitao has provided us with more information:

This actuator will be used to depress a pedal in a car:

1500 lbs would be something like 337.2134136645 lbs. we only tested about 270 lbs for the car brake, 1500 newtons is just an over-estimated safety range.

Our line of linear actuators from Pololu includes actuators that can provide a linear force of 50kg (122.47lbs). An example is the Concentric LACT12P-12V-20 Linear Actuator with Feedback: 12" Stroke, 12V, 0.5"/s.

<img src=’/uploads/littlebirdelectronics/original/1X/fb326b62999296dadbfd8538b805d6bfa19e5c3f.jpeg’ alt=“Concentric LACT12P-12V-20 Linear Actuator with Feedback: 12” Stroke, 12V, 0.5"/s">

You might be able to combine several of these actuators to get the desired 270lbs force required for your application.