Sensing Position or Distance

Potentiometer diagram
Discover the difference between potentiometers and encoders then use them to find position. Students set up a potentiometer circuit and measure how voltage changes with rotation of the knob, converting voltage to position in degrees. Students then set up an encoder circuit and investigate how the counter input can be used to measure encoder rotation. Finally, students use this knowledge to create a light dimmer and a volume controller.


This is lab 6 of 10 in the course, myDAQ Projects for Engineering Students.


  • DAQExpress workbook


  • Basic circuit building
  • Basic familiarity with DAQExpress 

Related Resources


These labs enable students to apply the skills they learn.


These labs have related concepts that can expand student experience.


Combines a comprehensive set of plug-and-play computer-based lab instruments with portability for hands-on student learning in or outside the lab.


Save time with quick, clear access to DAQ measurements, get instant access to data without the need to program, then apply analysis or program for advanced acquisition, using built-in interactive tools to rapidly make data-driven decisions.

Required Software

  • DAQExpress 1.0

Required Hardware

  • myDAQ - View Specifications
  • Breadboard
  • Wires
  • LED of any color
  • Potentiometer
  • Rotary encoder
  • Speaker
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