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Resistor Color Coding

All resistors have a color code on them, this is a quick little guide to help you along with the process. Below is the chart of the color codes and what they mean.

Color

1st digit

2nd digit
Multiplier
Tolerance
Black
0
0
x1
-
Brown
1
1
x10
1%
Red
2
2
x100
2%
Orange
3
3
x1000
3%
Yellow
4
4
x10,000
4%
Green
5
6
x100,000
-
Blue
6
6
x1,000,000
-
Violet
7
7
-
-
Grey
8
8
-
-
White
9
9
-
-
Gold
-
-
x0.1
5%
Silver
-
-
x0.01
10%

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The value:

Now, how to read this chart; Below is an image of a resistor.

We see there are 4 strips. The first 3 are the value of the resistor, and the last is the tollerance. The first stripe is brown, so we look for brown on the chart. When brown is the first or second digit, it = 1. The next stripe is black. When black is the first or second digit, it = 0. So now we have 10. The third stripe is gold which means we multiply the value from the first two digits by 0.1. This gives us 1. So this is a 1 ohm resistor.

First Stripe
Second Stripe
Multiplier
Value
1
0
0.1
1 ohm

 

 

Here is another resistor

The first stripe is violet - 7. The second stripe is red - 2 so 72. The third stripe is x1,000 so 72 * 1000 = 72,000. This is a 72,000 ohm resistor.

First Stripe
Second Stripe
Multiplier
Value
7
2
1,000
72,000

 

 

Last one, then I'll talk about the last stripe and give you some tips and tricks.

In case you can't see the stripes, it goes Yellow - Violet - Brown. If you don't trust me, click the picture to see it in a higher resolution. The first stripe is yellow, so 4. The second stripe is violet (purple) so that means 7. The last stripe is brown so the multiplier is 10. 47 * 10 = 470. This is a 470 ohm resistor.

First Stripe
Second Stripe
Multiplier
Value
4
7
10
470

 

 

 

The Tollerance:

Alright, by now you're probably thinking to yourself "Alright, I've got the color coding down, what the hell does that last stripe mean?". And if you weren't thinking that, then you were thinking "I wasn't thinking that" the whole time you were reading the last sentence. The last stripe is the tollerance. The tollerance is how much the resistor can be varried, and the standard is usually 5%. For a 100 ohm resistor with 5% tollerance, the resistor can have an actual value between 95 and 105 ohms. To figure this out, you'll need some very basic math skills

5% as a decimal is 0.05 - Multiply the resistor value by the tollerance (as a decimal) to get the variance. So 100*0.05 = 5. The variance is how much the resistor can vary either way so on a 100 ohm resistor, it can vary + or - 5 so 105 or 95. Here are the above resistors, with the tollerance added and final actual value range.

A shorthand method (if you will) is to multiply the resistors value by the tollerance's inverse decimal to get the minimum. Now, before you have a brain fart, I'll explain that to you. If the tollerance is 5% (0.05) then the exact opposite (inverse) is 95% (0.95). Multiplying any resistor value by it's tollerance inverse will always give you its minimum value. - - To find the maximum value you just add 1 to the tollerance as a decimal. So 0.05 becomes 1.05. Multiplying any resistor value by it's tollerance decimal + 1 will always give you it's maximum value.

 

Last stripe is gold, so 5% tollerance. 1* 0.95 = 0.95 (minimum value) 1* 1.05 = 1.05 (maximum value)

Value
Tollerance
Range
1 Ohm
5%
0.95 - 1.05 ohms

 

 

 

Next one

Tollerance again is 5%. 72000 * 0.95 = 68,400 (minimum value). 72000 * 1.05 = 75,600 (maximum value)

Value
Tollerance
Range
72000 ohms
5%
68,400 - 75,600 ohms

 

 

Last one, then on to tips and tricks

This one also has a tollerance of 5%. 470 * 0.95 = 465.5 (minimum value). 470 * 1.05 = 493.5 (maximum value)

Value
Tollerance
Range
470 ohms
5%
465.5 - 493.5 ohms

 

 

So you can see that as the resistance goes up, the range gets bigger. However normally any circuit that requires a bigger resistor can handle a bigger variance. If it can't, thats where 1% tollerance resistors come in.

 

Some Tips to help you in your color coding adventures: