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This is probably a dumb question but I just wanted to be sure for my practical exams.

Is there any difference between the upper or the lower terminal of the rheostat? Are you supposed to connect the positive terminal of the battery to any specific terminal of the rheostat or is it all the same? Thanks in advance. enter image description here

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  • \$\begingroup\$ That's not a rheostat but a high power variable resistor. Short the wiper to one of the end terminals and you have a rheostat. \$\endgroup\$ – winny Dec 15 '16 at 11:09
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    \$\begingroup\$ You're not supposed to connect anything to anything unless it's clear what you want to achieve. \$\endgroup\$ – Dmitry Grigoryev Dec 15 '16 at 11:10
  • \$\begingroup\$ A rheostat is simply a variable resistance.and you know resistances do not have any polarity. \$\endgroup\$ – Pink Dec 27 '16 at 10:22
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No there are no differences other than physical position. The rheostat is just a variable resistor with no regard to polarity. After all, it works perfectly well on AC but, if you pushed the frequency up to the MHz and beyond then maybe you'd start see some effects. You might also see some polarity effects in a damp corrosive atmoshphere too.

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Short answer is No.

A rheostat is a different kind of potentiometer so the only difference really is that the two end terminals are two different ends of (basically) a piece of wire.

The effect of polarity across the terminals changes the direction of current.

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