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how can i incorporate toggle switches as volume control instead of a dial in a radio? Answered

i'm a beginner to electronics. soldering leds to resistors to wires to battery holders is my only experience but i found a radio kit when i was tidying the house i don't know what brand the label is faded to yellow. is it possible to use toggle switches as a volume control? say 5 switches and the first on means 1/5th volume second means 2/5ths etc.
thank you


It's possible, though I'm not sure why you'd want to.

The usual control (a potentiometer) is a variable resistance. This means that by wiring a set of switches to yield different resistances, you can achieve the same result.

For example: If the existing potentiometer covers a range from 0 to 1000 ohms, you might connect a set of resistors in series having values of 660 ohms, 220 ohms, 72 ohms, 22 ohms, and 16 ohms, with a switch that shorts across each resistor. This gives you a sort of binary volume control, where each combination of switch states yields a different volume level.

Note: I'm not necessarily recommending this particular set of values. Human hearing is nonlinear. Typically the potentiometer used for volume controls is also nonlinear ("audio taper") so twisting the dial a given number of degrees yields about the same perceived change in volume rather than the same actual change. This means that the same change in resistance will have more or less effect depending on where you are in the range. I'm not convinced that you can really compensate for that in the solution I've described, where all the switches interact with each other. If you're willing to say that only one switch will be on at any given time, you could of course pick resistors which divide the volume space "evenly" -- or that yield whichever specific volume levels you think would be most useful.

Again, I don't know why you would want to do this via mechanical switches. If you wanted to put the volume under computer control, there are better solutions.

yea thanks. its not meant to be a practical approach i thought it would be a novel idea i don't know why but i find toggle switches fascinating if i could i would incorporate them into everything lol

?Does it not have a volume-control on it? ?
Can you post us a circuit-diagram, we'll be able to tell you where to stick the pot'.


its a non solder kit. just screw speaker in and clip wires together etc. the hole where the dial should go has 3 wires red white and black. the white wire goes to nothing i assume its a ground the instructions are faded of the box. would i just have to wire a series of switches and resistors like ork suggested in between the red and black?

OK, it's a kit. Your three wires are Left & Right and Ground (black) but if white is redundant it's a mono-output that happens to have stereo cable.
Within the kit will be your amplifier, you want the signal to the amplifier (and I'll guess it's one transistor) to have the pot' / toggle switches on it.
Circuit-diagram and we could advise better.


No, toggle switches are simply on/off. You should be able to purchase a potentiometer (dial) quite cheaply at radio shack or another similar electronics store.

Directly, no. Indirectly, yes. If each toggle switch controls a resistor (in parallel), then you could have a stepped potentiometer.

Ah, I didn't think about that. It would actually be a pretty awesome way to control the volume.