Trouble with understanding/using thumb stick potentiometers

Alright, just note I spent an hour writing a fully formal, thought out, punctuated message only to have it reset when I accidentally clicked a link in my bookmarks bar.

SO, I’m building an RC plane and having it controlled by arduino through NRF. This part works and now i need thumb sticks to actually properly control servos/throttle etc.

I ripped some sticks out of some old cheap RC helicopter controllers and planned to use them. I connected it like i normally would for a pot, left terminal to 5V, mid to data, right to ground, and used an arduino to test readings, but as I did this the values started gradually falling. Looked at the stick and found the pot was melting.

This seemed odd. I got some proper breadboard compatible thumb to test and found they used 5V too, so the voltage wasn’t wrong I don’t think. Turned out these were absolutely garbage and I wont be using them.

Now, what I have left are two thumb sticks still on circuit board this time. Since this is all I’ve got left to test/use and I need two, I don’t want to experiment with them, which is why I’m ultimately here. I have done a few hours of googling and have came up with absolutely nothing for some strange reason, no data sheets or anything, which is the main reason I’m so confused.

What I have found interesting to note is that the pots on the breadboard have an individual trace like I would expect for a pot. Cant tell which is which since its a double sided board and I don’t really want to pull that one apart, but the interesting thing is that on the helicopter board, the left pin is individually traced but the other two are both connected together. Is this some different kind of pot?

So yeah, in general my questions are:
Why do number searches come up with nothing?
How do you actually wire these things?
Whats with the double terminal trace?
Why did the first one burn?

I feel like such a dunce for not being able to figure this out to be honest.

Numbers on pots in case they mean more to you then they do to me
Breadboard stick: both 103-??? (cant distinguish)
Burnt stick: B5K-60 (single axis)
Intended to use sticks:
free up down movement, centering left right: 502-60, 502-456
dual axis centering: both 502-606

Any help appreciated and thanks in advance!, I tried to include as much detail as I thought was necessary.

I think pictures of the things you're talking about and possibly what they came out of could be useful.

If you have pots then generally two of three terminals connected together means they are connected as variable resistors. That's not exactly unusual but it means they probably weren't intended to have 5V and 0V connected to them.

Probably the best idea is to test the resistance between the terminals using a multimeter. If you don't have one then get one. Building circuits by just guessing what you have rarely works.

Steve

Forgot to update

I tried anyway by hooking up the pots 5v-data-ground and it worked, and I still have no idea why the first one fried, but it doesn't really matter anymore.