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Is there any special tool used to adjust trimmer potentiometers?
I have some similar to the one on the picture:

PIHER PT10LV trimmer potentiometer

I've tried using small slot, Phillips and Pozidriv screwdrivers, but they all don't seem to fit nicely giving me impression that there is some special tool used to adjust trimmer potentiometers.

If there isn't any special tool, what has proven to work well for you?

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  • \$\begingroup\$ 'Scope probes often come with a small plastic screwdriver. Do yours fit? \$\endgroup\$ – tyblu Dec 4 '10 at 21:20
  • \$\begingroup\$ @tyblu Unfortunately, I'm still using my sound as oscilloscope. Once I get a real one, I'll be sure to report here, but that could take a year or two. \$\endgroup\$ – AndrejaKo Dec 4 '10 at 23:12
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Goot Zirconia Cross Screwdriver for Electronics DIY

This is a very interesting key for those who working with radio, or anything else that requires adjustment in bobbins, trimpots, trimmers and the like.

Its tip is a type of a white ceramic (the package says "zirconia" but it is actually Zirconium dioxide), which gives a high stiffness and does not change the tuning coils because it is not obviously of magnetic material.

alt text

Source (Portuguese): http://badulaquesdachina.blogspot.com/2010/03/chave-de-alinhamento-de-ceramica.html

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  • \$\begingroup\$ I think I'm going to take one of these. \$\endgroup\$ – AndrejaKo Dec 4 '10 at 23:14
  • \$\begingroup\$ Me too. It's very cheap. \$\endgroup\$ – Daniel Grillo Dec 10 '10 at 12:28
  • \$\begingroup\$ A bit of detail would be nice to see. Not everybody would like that exact screwdriver. We really need the size used and a good material to use for it, so that we could search for screwdrivers of the same type easily. EDIT To clarify for folks out there: The type of product you are looking for is a Zirconium-based flathead, around 1mm in tip width. You can get some off of amazon for about the same price as the suggested retailer. \$\endgroup\$ – kevr Mar 29 at 2:13
  • \$\begingroup\$ Hi, @kevr! I didn't understand your comment. Is it for the question or for my answer? \$\endgroup\$ – Daniel Grillo Apr 7 at 22:51
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Just use a small flat-head screwdriver.

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    \$\begingroup\$ As long as it's not a finicky high frequency circuit already touchy about stray inductance and capacitance. \$\endgroup\$ – DarenW Dec 4 '10 at 4:03
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    \$\begingroup\$ You wouldn't use that pot in a HF application, anyways. \$\endgroup\$ – Connor Wolf Dec 4 '10 at 9:28
  • \$\begingroup\$ Some terrible responses here. Just because you assume that it shouldn't be used, doesn't mean that it can't be. Promoting good practices, in general, is a better idea than promoting "don't worry about it." Furthermore, metal-based screwdrivers affect trimmer pots in an unintended way and harm LF circuit measurements as well. Why assume that this is an HF application? OP did not mention anything about HF. \$\endgroup\$ – kevr Mar 29 at 2:19
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The only time you need something more than a small screwdriver is on things which have a protruding screw like multiturn pots and trimmer caps, as standard screwdrivers slip off too easily, especially when doing multiple turns - a proper trim tool with recessed blade works a lot better for these. e.g. http://uk.farnell.com/vishay-spectrol/acctritob308-t000/trimming-tool/dp/145507

recessed blade one end, protruding blade on other

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They do make tools like this one, but most people use a small screw driver. The only real advantage of the special tools is that they are often nonconductive plastic.

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I have found that the screwdrivers in glasses repair kits work very well for me.

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I think the thing is, you want something that isn't magnetic or conductive to adjust the device. Maybe that isn't a big deal for potentiometers, and a regular metallic screwdriver works ok (in my experience, at least) but for tunable inductors or tuned circuits I would think it might be an an issue. Many screwdrivers, even the small ones, are easily magnetized.

In a kit from school I got a small plastic "screwdriver" for this purpose. O Engenheiro's answer describes another device that does something similar.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Being born back in the 1960s and a tinkerer of radios from a young age, I'm brainwashed to use only plastic tweaker tools for inductors, and by irrational extension, only plastic for other adjustable parts. But if I don't have a plastic screwdriver handy, the ordinary metal kind will do for trimpots. \$\endgroup\$ – DarenW Dec 4 '10 at 4:00
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While at first sight they may look that way, trimmer potmeters are not meant to be trimmed with a cruciform screwdriver like a Phillips or Pozidriv. What appears to be a cross is actually a slot with an arrow in it, which points to the position of the wiper.
So simply use a small flat-head screwdriver, like one from a jeweler's set.

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