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Resistance is measured in Ohms and was given the Greek letter Omega with the symbol O but
this is diIIicult to print so the capital letter R is now used.
200 ohms is the same as 200 O and 200R
As many resistors are used in circuits, each resistor is given the letter R with a diIIerent number
Irom R1 upwards. Not to be conIused with their values 1R1 See later details.

Any material which allows an electrical current to Ilow through it, is know as a conductor. All
conductors, however good, try to resist the current Ilowing through them, even copper wire has a
resistance. The resistance is the same whichever direction the current is Ilowing.


What do Resistors do 5/12/02

Advanced details and pictures oI Resistors 4/12/02

Ohms Law
George Ohms (1789 - 1854) Iound that Current Ilowing through a component is related to its
Resistance and the Voltage across it. He produced the Iormula:-
Voltage(in volts) Current (in amps) x Resistance (in ohms)

V I x R I V/R R V/I

1. Fixed Resistors.

These are components which are made with one value oI resistance. The look like small tubes
with wires at each end. As they are so small it is not possible to print their resistance value on the
side so a colour code system is used.
It is not possible to make resistors to an exact value, so aIter manuIacture their values are
measured and then they are sorted into groups oI preferred values.

Cross section oI a resistor 5/12/02
E24 Series resistors.
The E24 Series have resistance values with a 5 Tolerance Range.
As an example a 510 ohm resistor could have a value
as high as 510 5 535.5 ohms or
as low as 510 - 5 484.5 ohms
The next higher preIerred value is 560 ohms giving values Irom 588 to 532 ohms.
510 ohms giving values Irom 535 to 484 ohms.
The next lowest preIerred value is 470 ohms giving values Irom 498 to 441 ohms.
As you can see the highest value oI one preIerred number overlaps the lowest value oI the next
preIerred. This way the manuIacturer can use all the resistors made.
II you look in the Rapid Catalogue you will see the most commonly used resistor values are the
E24 Series and the preIerred values are multiples oI the Iollowing numbers:-
1.0/ 1.1 / 1.2 / 1.3 / 1.5 / 1.6 / 1.8 / 2.0 / 2.2 / 2.4 / 2.7 / 3.0
3.3 / 3.6 / 3.9 / 4.3 / 4.7 / 5.1 / 5.6 / 6.2 / 6.8 / 7.5 / 8.2 / 9.1 ohms
To get the values you add zeros ie, 1 ohms 12 ohms 150 ohms 2200 ohms
27000 ohms 620000 ohms up to 9100000 ohms.
These numbers are too big and diIIicult use so the values are changed to KILO (thousand ohms)
and MEGA (million ohms).e.g. 1R 12R 220R 2.7K 30K 390K 4.7M 62M
From experience many mistakes were made reading the position oI the decimal point, so the
correct way is to use the letter to show the position oI the decimal point i.e.
1R0 1R5 18R 240R 3K3 43K 510K 6M2 68M 750M 8G2
E12 Series resistors.
The E12 Series have resistance values with a 10 Tolerance Range.
The preIered values are 10 12 15 18 22 27 33 39 47 56 68 82
CAUTION Do not expect your resistors to be close to the preIerred values.
Electronics is more oI an art than a science. You must also take into account that all components
have a resistance.
Speakers have values given in ohms. This is not their resistance but impedance!

Explination oI resistor Tolerancing 5/12/02

Colour Code
As Resistors are so small it is not possible to print their resistance value on the side so a colour
code system is used.

Band 1 Band 2 Band 3
Colour 1
Number 2
Number Zeros
Black 0 0
Brown 1 1 0
Red 2 2 00
Orange 3 3 000
Yellow 4 4 0,000
Green 5 5 00,000
Blue 6 6 000,000
Violet 7 7 0,000,000
Grey 8 8
White 9 9
Band Gold 5 Tolerance

Colour Code Converter 5/12/02

Colour Code and resistor tolerences

Band 1 Band 2 Band 3
1R0 black brown black 1 O
24R red yellow black 24 O
330R orange orange brown 330 O
470R yellow violet brown 470 O
5K6 green blue red 5600 O
68K blue grey orange 68000 O
750K violet green yellow 750000 O
8M2 grey red green 8200000 O
91M white brown blue 91000000 O

More about colour codes with examples 5/12/02

Colour code tutorial with questions and answers. 23/12/02
2. Resistor combinations
A. Resistors in series
When two or more resistors are placed end to end they are said to be connected in series.
The position oI resistors in circuits are shown by a sequence oI numbers Irom R1, R2, R3,
upwards. Not to be conIused with their values 2R2 4K7 etc.

Total resistance Ior resistors in series is
R R1 + R2
B. Resistors in Parallel
When two or more resistors are placed side by side they are said to be connected in parallel.

Total resistance Ior two resistors in parallel is
R (R1 x R2) / (R1 + R2)
C. Resistors in Series and Parallel
The total resistance Ior resistors placed in a combination oI series and parallel is Iound in stages.
First add the two resistors in series. Then Iind the total resistance.

R4 R1 +R2 Then R R4 x R3 / R4 + R3
This can be combined into
(R1 + R2) x R3 / (R1 + R2) + R3

Calculating values 5/12/02

3. Variable Resistors

Theses are resistors whose resistance can be altered and they have three connections. There are
two connections at either end oI the resistance material, which is commonly known as the track.
The third connection is made to a conducting slider, commonly known as the wiper, which is in
contact with the track and can be slid along it Irom one end to the other. The current or voltage
available at the wiper is then related to the position that it has along the track.
Variable Resistors can be used in a circuit to alter resistance and in this situation only two
connections are used. One end and the wiper. It is good practice to connect the Iree end to the
wiper so in the event that the wiper Iails to connect, the variable resistor will go to maximum
resistance protecting the circuit
Potentiometer or Pot is the name given when the variable resistor is used as a Potential Divider
to alter voltage in part oI the circuit Irom 9 to 0 volts or as a speaker balance control. All three
connections are used.

Turn the Potentiometer shaIt clockwise and anti-
clockwise and see how the voltages change
Irom 0 to 9 volts.
The values are Ior the voltage between the
central wiper arm and the ends oI the carbon

There are two types of variable resistors
1. Preset:-
The resistance oI part oI the circuit needs to be adjusted once during manuIacture to allow Ior
component variations. Presets are soldered directly onto the Printed Circuit Board. (PCB)

Pre Set
2. Control:-
The resistance oI part oI the circuit is altered Irequently such as volume control. These are
available as single gang, double gang (stereo volume) and single gang switched. They are
available as either rotary shaIt or slider.

Rotary Control

Slide Control
Values of Variable Resistors
Typical values:- 100R 220R 470R 1K 2K2 4K7 10K 22K 47K 100K 220K 470K 1M
Resistance is available in two Iorms:- Linear and Log values
Linear values change directly with the amount oI movement giving a straight line on the graph.
Log values start oII with a small change in resistance Ior a large movement and gradually alters
to a large change in resistance Ior a small amount oI movement. Curved line on the graph.

Graph of Linear and Log Resistance values against Rotation

4. Light Dependant Resistors (LDR)

LDR is a component whose resistance changes in response to the amount oI light shining on it.
The standard component is the ORP 12 with a dark resistance oI 1M ohms and a light resistance
oI 500 ohms. Typical use is on top oI a lamppost to turn the street light on and oII depending on
the light level.

Graph of Voltage against Current for different light levels.
Photo Diodes are used when a quick response is required, as LDR's are slow to respond.
(Found in Optronics section oI Rapid Catalogue)


LDR circuits explained. 5/12/02


Designing an LDR circuit. 5/12/02

5. Thermistors

Thermistors are small components whose resistance changes in response to heat.
NTC (negative temperature coeIIicient) type thermistors.
The resistance decreases as the temperature increases and the output voltage increases.
(Found in Sensors section oI the Rapid Catalogue)

How a Thermistor works 5/12/02


Characteristics oI Thermistors and how they are used in Potential
6. Power Rating
Heat is produced when current Ilows through a conductor, so you need to calculate the power
rating oI the resistor beIore ordering them.
For normal use speciIy 0.25 W Carbon Film
Others available:- 0.125W and 0.5W carbon Iilm.
1W and 2W metal Iilm.
2.5W, 3W and 5W wire wound.
Power Rating (Watts) Voltage (Volts) x Current (Amps)
P V x I

What is power rating and how it is calculated. 5/12/02
A capacitor is a small device that can be charged up with electrical energy, store it and then
release it. Just like a rechargeable battery. But unlike a battery, it does not use a chemical
reaction and it can only hold a very small charge. A very large capacitor can only light up an
LED Ior a Iew seconds. They come in many shapes and sizes and a Iew are shown below. The
bigger the capacitor, the more charge it will hold.

A capacitor is made Irom two metal plates or metal Ioils separated by an insulator called a
Dielectric material.
The Dielectric materials can be made Irom Ceramic, Mica, Polypropylene, Polyester,
Electrolytic, Tantalum and even air.
The larger capacitors look like tubes, this is because the metal Ioil plates are rolled up with an
insulating dielectric material sandwiched in between.

The value of capacitance is determined by
The size oI the plates,
The distance between them,
The type oI dilectric material used.

The Unit of Capacitance (C)
Capacitance is measured in Farads. (aIter Michael Faraday 1791 - 1867)
The Farad is too big a unit so values are measured in:-
microIarads (F), nanoIarads (nF) and picoIarads (pF).
Largest value is 22000F Lowest value is 1.0pF
1F 1,000,000F 1F 1000nF 1nF 1000pF

Circuit Identification.
In circuit diagrams a Iixed capacitor is identiIied with the letter C. i.e. C1 C2 ... C12
Variable capacitors/Trimmers are identiIied with the letters VC1 VC2 .....

Polarised Capacitors.
Electrolytic and Tantalum capacitors are POLARISED and they must be connected the correct
way round. (correct polarity).
The casing is marked showing the Negative lead which should be connected to the Negative rail
(0 Volt). The circuit symbol shows the Positive lead.
All others capacitors can be connected either way round.
Use of Capacitors.
Capacitors are used in Iollowing ways:-
1 SLore a volLage for a perlod of Llme
2 CreaLe a Llme delay clrculL
3 ShorLen or exLend pulse lengLhs
4 SmooLh flucLuaLlng volLages
3 lllLer unwanLed frequencles
6 Allows AlLernaLlng CurrenL (ac) Lo pass Lo anoLher parL of a clrculL buL blocks ulrecL CurrenL (dc)

orking Voltage.
The working voltage oI the capacitor must not be exceeded. It is good practice to choose a
capacitor with a working voltage 50 higher than the circuits normal working voltage. Care
should be taken with polarised Electrolytic and Tantalum capacitors as they have low working
voltages. For a 9 Volt circuit choose a 16V or higher capacitor. The higher the voltage, the
bigger and more expensive they get. ManuIacturer's catalogue will give you all the inIormation
you need.

Leakage Current.
The dielectric is an insulator and the current should not Ilow through it. However a perIect
insulator does not exist and a small leakage current will Ilow out eventually discharging the

Capacitance Code:-
Most capacitors have a tolerance oI 20 and have the Iollowing numerical values
10 15 22 33 47 68 82
As many capacitors are small, the values are printed with a three number code. The Iirst two
reIer to the numerical values and the last gives the numbers oI zeros.
Some old capacitors are colour coded in a way similar to resistors.

001 10 10000 103
000013 013 130 131
00022 22 2200 222
0000033 0033 33 330
0047 47 47000 473
000068 068 68 680
082 820 820000 824

ow a Capacitor works.

AL Lhe sLarL Lhe capaclLor ls fully dlscharged
When Lhe swlLch ls closed Lhe capaclLor ls charged up from
Lhe energy sLored ln Lhe baLLery unLll Lhe capaclLor has Lhe
same volLage as Lhe baLLery AL flrsL lL charges up rapldly and
Lhen gradually slows

Cpen swlLch 1he capaclLor remalns fully charged
ushlng Lhe 8LSL1 buLLon shorL clrculLs Lhe capaclLor and Lhe
energy sLored ln Lhe capaclLor ls now dlscharged slowly aL
flrsL WlLh small capaclLors Lhe energy dlscharge ls very fasL
almosL lmmedlaLe WlLh large capaclLors Lhls can Lake a long
1hls ls why capaclLors are used ln Llmlng clrculLs

This Animation is incorrect in two ways.
The Reset button is pushed to connect both ends oI the capacitor together. This causes the
capacitor to discharge.
The animation shows the Reset button being used to trigger the the capacitor to discharge. Once
you release the reset button the capacitor will stop discharging.
The capacitor is shown charging and discharging at a steady rate. This is incorrect, see the graph
and animation below. (Due to limitations oI my JavaScript coding)

Time Delay
II a resistor is put in series with the capacitor, the time it takes to charge and discharge can be
slowed down. The resistor is slowing down the current Ilow into the capacitor. Note again, how
the charge rate gradually slows down as the capacitor becomes Iully charged or Iully discharged.

CR Time Constant
The Time Constant T is the time taken to charge the capacitor to 2/3 the supply voltage. (Shown
green in the above animation). It also applies when the capacitor discharges. It can be Iound Irom
the Iollowing Iormula:-
Time Constant T C x R
T is in Seconds. (t) C is in MicroFarads. (F) R is in MegaOhms (MO)
Some books use the Iormula T 1.1 C x R. This is unnesessary. It is impossible to calculate the
time accurately as Capacitors have a 20 tolerance and Resistors have a 5 tolerance.
Experiment to get the correct time delay.
The Iollowing Chart is used to Iind out the values Ior the Capacitor and Resistor Ior a speciIied
time delay.
The blue marks show the available capacitor values and major resistor values.
The values on the graph are reasonably accurate. To get longer time delays, you can use larger
values but the result will depend on the ACTUAL value oI the components. You will have to
experiment to get the correct time delay.

Switch Spark Protection
When a switch opens the current tries to keep going by jumping across the gap creating a spark.
(You can see this through the switch cover plate when you turn oII a mains light switch).
Adding a Resistor/Capacitor network across the switch absorbs the energy oI the spark. This
protects the contacts Irom being worn away by errosion.
Injection Plastic moulds are machined using this principle oI Spark Errosion. Very complex
shapes can be made to a very high Iinish.


CapaclLors 4/12/02
Advanced Lechnlcal lnformaLlon on CapaclLors


PlsLory of CapaclLors 23/12/02

V out

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