Resistor Color Codes- Overview:
Resistor Color Codes- One of the first things, you want to try to understand to get familiar with, when you’re learning electronics is the resistor color codes. If you know the method of reading a 4 band resistor or 5 band resistors then you won’t need a multimeter. You will be able to read a resistor with a single glance, of course, if you remember the resistor color chart. A very useful tip for you. You can remember the colors order by remembering the following line.
BB ROY Great British Very Good Wife.
Here is an image of two resistors, they’re made of a different material but they’re both resistors, for the most part, they work exactly the same. They got slight property differences. The metal film resistor happens to be a lot more accurate, but anyhow, we’re not going to worry about this. Now, we’re just going to worry about the resistor color codes. When you get more advanced into electronics, a different type of resistor might make a difference, but for the beginning what you’re mainly worried about is the amount of resistance that the resistor has and this is indicated by the color codes. Now, of course, resistors also come in packaging.
This resistor package has the resistance value printed on the package itself 470-ohm. I got 10 of these resistors.
Other resistors have it on this little strip. They come on these paper strips with the resistance value printed, as you can see in the image given above 150-ohm resistors.
On some strips they hand wrote the values, these resistors are 220-ohm. If the values are not printed then of course you can also use the multimeter to get the resistance values, but it is still a great idea to get familiar with the resistor color codes. It helps you sort out unknown resistors a lot quicker and stuff like that.
With the help of this diagram, I will try to make it easier for you to understand, how to find the resistance of a resistor by only looking at the color bands. Before, we dig deeper, there are a few things that you should know. If you are using a Multimeter to find the resistance of a resistor, then it doesn’t matter which probe of the Digital Multimeter is connected with which lead of the resistor. You don’t have to be worried about the tolerance band. Just connect the test leads of the multimeter with the two leads of the resistor, set the selection knob of the multimeter on the resistance and that’s it.
But, if you read a resistor using the color bands. Then you should be careful. You will need to keep the tolerance band on the right side. So, using the resistor color codes, we read a resistor from left to right while keeping the tolerance band on the right side.
The same method applies to all the resistor types. Let’s take a look at another resistor 1K ohm.
Now, it’s time to start the real work. First, we are going to start with the tolerance band.
The tolerance is the amount that the resistance can be over or under its rated value, the amount to expect actually. When you look at the tolerance usually it’s a 5% a gold band, you can expect that the actual resistance of the resistor will be somewhere between 5% higher or lower than the rated value. So it’s going to be slight off from its rated value, but it’s still closed for beginning projects.
The blue metal film resistors, they’re a little harder to identify, which stripe is the tolerance stripe, usually this stripe is brown for 1%, but Brown could also means that the resistance starts with the 1 so hopefully it’s a different color on the other end Brown, because these are almost always eye brown for 1 percent accurate. But any case that both ends are brown it’s probably decided with the bigger gap, that is the tolerance. so it’s a little trickier with these blue resistors but usually it’s still not too bad so we take the tolerance stripe now and we put it on the right side like you see the image given above. The tolerance bands of both the resistors are on the right side.
Now we start at the left and get our rated value. So the first resistor, beige ones, they tend to have four total stripes four bands whereas the blue ones the metal film ones tend to have five total bands five total stripes, but the process works the same. We just have one more band with that one.
But we’ll do the beige one first, the one having 4 color bands. So, this is a resistor I commonly use. I do a lot of 9-volt projects and this is really about the minimum resistance I want to use to protect an LED.
As per the color chart given above.
The first band which is yellow stands for 4.
The 2nd band is violet and it stands for 7.
The 3rd band is the Brown and it stands for 1. This band represents the number of zeros that follow the first two numbers, So you don’t just write down the actual digit it’s actually the number of zeros so in this case this band is brown, so all that means is there’s one zero. So 47 for the first two bands and then one zero, 470 ohms.
Band A is 1st digit
Band B is 2nd digit
Band C is Multiplier
Band D is Tolerance
Now, the five band resistor works in the exact same way except for, we have one more band. So in this case we have three digits followed by the multiplier which is the number of zeros that’s the easiest way to explain it. So,
Green is 5
Brown is 1
black is 0
So, these are our first 3 digits, and then we have the red and its value is 2 which means, we will have to add 2 zero’s as well. so it will become.
- So this is a 51K ohm resistor.
Let’s read this resistor. As you can see the Gold color band which is the tolerance band is on the right side. We will start reading the resistor from the left side. As this is a 4 color band resistor, so the 3rd band is the multiplier, this is the number of zeros. So,
Brown = 1
Black = 0
Red = 2 ( two zeros). So,
1000 ohms or 1K ohm.
Now, let’s read this one. While the tolerance band is on the right side. We will start reading the resistor from the left side.
Brown = 1
Black = 0
Orange = 3 (multiplier) number of zeros to add
This is 10000 ohm or 10K ohm. So the first two color bands represents the first two digits and the third band is the number of zeros.