Introduction: How to Read Resistor Color Codes

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Lesson Overview:

Now we'll learn how to decipher resistor colors!

Step 1: Colored Stripes

Resistor values are marked using colored bands, according to a code developed in the 1920s, when it was too difficult to write numbers on such tiny objects.

Each of the 4 or 5 colored bands corresponds to a number, like you see in the table.

In the 4-band type, the first two bands indicate the first two digits of the value while the third one indicates the number of zeroes that follow (technically it represents a power of ten). The last band specifies the tolerance: in the example below, gold indicates that the resistor value can be 10 k-ohm plus or minus 5%.

  1. Study the resistor color code diagram. Look at the 10 k-ohm resistor on the breadboard - do the stripes match up with this code?

  2. Continue to the next step.

Step 2: Resistors in Your Kit

Sort through the resistors in your Arduino kit - they have the values listed below. In the simulator, you have access to many more values in between!

220 ohms

560 ohms

1 k-ohm

4.7 k-ohms

10 k-ohm

1 M-ohm

10 M-ohm

  1. Continue to the next lesson to learn how to make your Arduino kit look like a spaceship dashboard.

Next Lesson:Spaceship Template

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