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Beginner's Corner > Components > Resistors > Colour Code  


Band 1   Band 2   Band 3   Band 4   Band 5
 1st Digit   2nd Digit   3rd Digit    Multiplier   Tolerance
 0    0    0    x 1    
 1    1    1    x 10    1%
 2    2    2    x 100    2%
 3    3    3    x 1000    
 4    4    4    x 10000    
 5    5    5    x 100000    
 6    6    6    x 1000000    
 7    7    7        
 8    8    8    x 0.1 Gold    5% Gold
 9    9    9    x 0.01 Silver    10% Silver

Resistors are usually marked with either a 4 band or 5 band colour code. In the case of a 4 band code, the third band gives the multiplier and the fourth band gives the tolerance. In other words, ignore column 3 of the table above.

Just to add a bit more confusion, 5 band resistors actually have 6 bands and 4 band resistors actually have 5 bands. The last band refers to the temperature coefficient of the resistor and can generally be ignored unless you happen to be developing military or aerospace products.

How do I know which end to start reading from?

That's a good question as there is nothing on the resistor to tell you which end to start at. The answer only comes with experience as resistors are only made in certain values known as preferred values. This means that if you attempt to read the resistor backwards you will usually get a value that doesn't exist.

For example, a typical 5 band 1% tolerance resistor will have a red 6th band for the temperature coefficient. If you start reading at the wrong end, the first two digits will be red, brown or 21. Looking at the table of preferred values you will see that no resistor exists with 21 as its first digits.

As with all rules, you will probably find a few exceptions!







Table of Preferred Resistor Values
1R0 10R 100R 1K0 10K 100K 1M0
  11R 110R 1K1 11K 110K  
1R2 12R 120R 1K2 12K 120K 1M2
  13R 130R 1K3 13K 130K  
 1R5 15R 150R 1K5 15K 150K 1M5
  16R 160R 1K6 16K 160K  
 1R8 18R 180R 1K8 18K 180K 1M8
  20R 200R 2K0 20K 200K  
2R2 22R 200R 2K2 20K 200K 1M8
  24R 240R 2K4 24K 240K  
2R7 27R 270R 2K7  27K 270K 2M7
  30R 300R 3K0 30K 300K  
3R3 33R 330R 3K3 33K 330K 3M3
  36R 360R 3K6 36K 360K  
3R9 39R 390R 3K9 39K 390K 3M9
  43R  430R 4K3 43K 430K  
4R7 47R 470R 4K7 47K 470K 4M7
  51R 510R 5K1 51K 510K  
5R6 56R 560R 5K6 56K 560K 5M6
  62R 620R 6K2 62K 620K  
6R8 68R 680R 6K8 68K 680K 6M8
  75R 750R 7K5 75K 750K  
8R2 82R 820R 8K2 82K 820K 8M2
  91R 910R 9K1 91K 910K