I've been reading up on the types of parts I would need for a project I want to work on. One of them is probably a potentiometer, because part of what I'm building requires something to be turned so that it makes a noise. I think I have an idea of how this would work for most of it.
My issue right now is, how would I get the potentiometer to physically go back to the starting position? Are there potentiometers that are built so that they snap back after the person lets go, or is that something I'm going to have to make on my own?
I guess it can also be a button, realistically; I only decided on the potentiometer because I saw that it has a knob that you turn. I'm really new to all of this, so I don't exactly know the parts that well.
Are there potentiometers that are built so that they snap back after the person lets go,
Never heard of one in 30 yrs. Doesn't mean it doesn't exist. I have seen people use shaft couplers and drive the pot with a stepper motor.
Are there potentiometers that are built so that they snap back after the person lets go, or is that something I'm going to have to make on my own?
This would probably be something you would have to build.
Motorized potentiometers have already been mentioned, but what you are describing sounds more like a spring return system; maybe a pre-tensioned coil spring around the pot's shaft might work? Or a tension spring with a cord of some sort wound on the pot's shaft?
At any rate, this is similar to how some hobby RC transmitter joysticks, as well as some older computer joysticks (as well as current thumbsticks) are setup, except they are designed to "return-to-center". Something to keep in mind, should you pursue this mechanism, is that your initial beginning value may not be the same as the later values when the pot is returned back to the beginning by the spring. You will need to take care of this in software, or some other fashion, most likely. Back in the earlier PC days, you had to go thru a "calibration" routine with joystick games to set the proper max/min positions and center of the joystick so it would work properly with the games.
If you attach a spool on the shaft you can use a string with a weight (cup of sand) so you can vary weight and speed of return.