Introduction: Reading Surface Mount Resistor Codes

Unlike Through hole resisors which use colored bands to determine the value, surface mount resistor have numbers and sometimes letters. I will teach you how to take those letters and digits and determine the value.

Looking at the image you see 4 resistors, the first being 391  the seconed 270 and the two at the bottom are the same 30R9. That does not stand for a 391 ohm , 270 ohm, and so on. The formula for breaking the code down is as follows.
1st value-2nd value-multiplier
3              9               1             = 390 ohm resistor
2               7               0            =  27 ohm resistor
2               3               3            =   23000 ohm or 23K ohm resistor

There are some resistors which have 4 digits. The formula is the same with the addition to a digit.
1st value-2nd value-third value-multiplier
2              3                5                 3 =       235K ohm resistor

You may ask"why some have three diigits and some have four?" three digits typically means that the resistor is 5%  tolerance the four digit typically means the resistor is 1% tolerance. If a letter is used to represent tolerance use the chart below.

B=.1%
C=.25%
D=.5%
F=1%
G=2%
J=5%
K=10%
M=20%
Z=80%

Now you will notice that the last two resistor have an "R" in the equation. The way to look at these is very simple. The R represents a decimal. So 30R9 is a 30.9Ohm resistor.
R23= .23 ohm
5R6= 5.6 ohm
45R3= 45.3 ohm


 Of course you can read the values with a meter, but whats the fun in that? I hope you all learned something from this little write up.

Comments

author
ChristianS256 (author)2016-11-30

I have 2EE resistor, what is the value of that? please help me... thanks a lot...

author
Shawners06 (author)2016-11-20

I have these capacitors out of an A/V Reciever with markings K3 47 16v. Can someone tell me the meaning and how I could purchase 10 of them. This is my first major task.Thank you for your time

image.jpg
author
ColorBomb (author)Shawners062016-11-20

Those are SMD aluminium electrolytic capacitors, the K3 is a series number, 47uf 16V.

You should be able to find what you need here-

http://www.digikey.com/product-search/en/capacitors/aluminum-capacitors/131081?k=47uf%2016V%20capacitor

author
Shawners06 (author)ColorBomb2016-11-20

I would like to say Thank you for taking the time to Help me out. I do Appreciate

author
aadegbite (author)2016-03-27

Hi, What about the underlined SMD resistor like 304 and 332. I mean ___.

author
Aman19 (author)2016-03-04

what would be resistor ohm value if a resistor indicate only 'D' letter and also what is for very lite colour srd resistor with out any digit.

author
Nightshade (author)2013-12-29

What if you have some without any markings at all?

author
DavidH303 (author)Nightshade2016-01-06

Maybe uUse a volt-ohm meter to determine it's resistance?

author
VinceA5 (author)2015-12-29

That is a 100% clear explanation!

Simple but effective.

Thanks

author
Lance_Tronic (author)2015-09-18

Excellent explanation of SMD Values.

As a newbie to SMD I have found myself a little daunted by this miniature hardware, but I am now more confident of installing the correct resistor when constructing my projects.

Lance

- I now have a (cheap) bulk lot of mixed SMD on the way to practice my soldering skills -

author
David InnesA (author)2014-11-18

Hi Instructables, I have looked up many sites to find the best explanation on SMD resistor colour codes. Your one is excellent. I will recommend this explanation to everyone who is searching for a good basic understanding.

Dave.

author
ibrahimazam11 (author)2014-09-23

Can i use that usual resistor with color coding instead of SMD resistor of same value(ohms) in a project ????

author
ibrahimazam11 (author)2014-09-23

Can i use that usual resistor with color coding instead of SMD resistor of same value(ohms) in a project ????

author
yadavneeraj (author)2013-10-08

hi,i am neeraj i m joining a new member in ur electronic world. plz.help me.

author
mstokes3 (author)2013-04-02

Here's the full link. The part after and including the last % is not needed.

http://www.te.com/commerce/DocumentDelivery/DDEController?Action=showdoc&DocId=Data+Sheet%7F1773204%7FH%7Fpdf%7FEnglish%7FENG_DS_1773204_H.pdf

Hope this helps.

author
mstokes3 (author)2013-04-02

There is a completely different code used on some resistors. It has to do with a three number scheme that allows 1% values. I found a good reference here:

http://www.te.com/commerce/DocumentDelivery/DDEController?Action=showdoc&DocId=Data+Sheet%7F1773204%7FH%7Fpdf%7FEnglish%7FENG_DS_1773204_H.pdf%7F1622827-1

author
pfred2 (author)2012-07-13

I like to put the surface mount resistor on a hard surface then smash it open with a rock. Then like reading tea leaves I divine what it's resistance once was ...

author
ColorBomb (author)pfred22012-07-16

Pfred i gather from this post ,and others, that you aren't a fan om SMD. :0)

author
pfred2 (author)ColorBomb2012-07-18

Should I be? When I strip boards with SMD on them I just let those parts float on the top of my solder pot until I skim it. So when I say SMT stinks I mean it literally!

author
offtherails2010 (author)2012-07-16

!!! "Perfect" !!!

Exactly what ive been wanting to know to get into SMD soldering !!

Thanks a bunch for taking the time to make this nice and simple 'ible so a complete beginner (started this year!) in electronics can easily digest !

Keep up the GREAT work and hopefully some more write-ups on SMD's !

Oh by the way, how would i measure the capacitance of a SMD capacitor using a DMM ??
many thanks in advance fo a noob question but my friend google hasnt turned up much, or maybe im not searching for the right thing here, lol !!!

About This Instructable

60,835views

35favorites

License:

Bio: I am work in a high voltage laboratory, the largest laboratory owned by a university. I am in love with electricity. I have been fortunate ... More »
More by ColorBomb:10 minute skull using Sketchbook ProUninterrupted Solar Power (mostly)Testing LEDs with a Multimeter
Add instructable to: