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I have an old piece of analog gear from the 70s and I want to motorize the variable resistors on its panel. I don't want to replace the existing pots with motorized ones but rather to add a motor to the existing pots. Does anyone have any ideas about where to start with this?

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Is there any exposed shaft between the pots (say, mounted on the chassis) and the front panel? If not, you are SOL if you want to keep the existing knobs... \$\endgroup\$
    – user16324
    Commented Jan 3, 2013 at 14:06
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    \$\begingroup\$ Not sure about the proper English words, but I'd use some sort of a rubber band on pulleys. Bit like this en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Keilriemen-V-Belt.png You have to prevent physical damage to the pots because of trying to turn it too far. \$\endgroup\$
    – jippie
    Commented Jan 3, 2013 at 14:06
  • \$\begingroup\$ Thanks for your answers so far, I can expose part of the shaft on the interior of the panel around which I could potentially put a rubber band I guess. Does that sound like a good approach? \$\endgroup\$
    – aciddoll
    Commented Jan 3, 2013 at 18:01
  • \$\begingroup\$ I wouldn't. You can put in digital potentiometers instead and then control it electronically. If you want to be able to create and recall presets for that piece of gear, that is the way to go. \$\endgroup\$
    – Kaz
    Commented Mar 5, 2013 at 1:44

2 Answers 2

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Sparkfun sells a 10K motorized slider potentiometer, both linear and audio tapers:

enter image description here

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You can fit a suitable sized pulley or gear on the exposed shaft, and drive it with a belt or another gear on the motor shaft. There are toothed belt and pulley systems which might be suitable. You probably need a fairly low speed motor, so either a further gearbox, or a stepper motor controlled by an Arduino would be suitable drive systems.

Exact details depend so much on the space you have, and how you want to do it, (and the skills you have) so further details probably aren't appropriate here.

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