Physical Science - Other

Resistor Color Code Explained



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On almost all resistors there are four or five color bands that someone that doesn't know better might think are merely decoration, however this is not the case. The color bands on the common resistor are a color code.

Resistor color codes are an easy thing to understand. These five bands stand for a different thing and are read from left to right. They stand for the value of the resistor in ohms its tolerance and its reliability.

The first band stands for the first significant figure in the resistance of the resistor. The second band stands for the second significant figure of the resistance of the resistor. The third band stands for the multiplier which is the power on the base of 10 that is multiplied by the first two figures. The third band stands for the tolerance of the resistor. This means that the resistor may be within the value of the first three bands plus or minus the tolerance and is given in a percent value. The fifth band stands for the parts reliability.

All of the above information is useless unless we know what each color stands for, however, now that we know what the bands stand for we can move on to the colors.

Black abbreviated BK in the first two bands stands for 0 and will never appear in any of the last three bands.

Brown abbreviated BN in the first three bands stands for 1 and will never appear in either of the last two bands.

Red abbreviated RD in the first three bands stands for 2 and in the fifth band stands for 1%. Red will never appear in the fourth band.

Orange abbreviated OE in the first three bands stands for 3 and in the fifth band stands for 2%. Orange will never appear in the fourth band.

Yellow abbreviated YW in the first three bands stands for 4 and in the fifth band stands for 3%. Yellow will never appear in the fourth band.

Green abbreviated GN in the first three bands stands for 5 and will never appear in the last two bands.

Blue abbreviated BE in the first three bands stands for 6 and will never appear in the last two bands.

Violet abbreviated VT in the first three bands stands for 7 and will never appear in the last two bands.

Gray abbreviated GY in the first three bands stands for 8 and will never appear in the last two bands.

White abbreviated WE in the first three bands stands for 9 and will never appear in the last two bands.

Gold abbreviated GD only appears in the third and fourth band. In the third band it stands for -1 and in the fourth band it stands for 5%.

Silver abbreviated SR only appears in the third and fourth band. In the third band it stands for -2 and in the fourth band it stands for 10%.

If there is no fourth band of color then the tolerance for the resistor is 20%.

Now you know the color code for determining resistor values. Use it wisely.

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