# Lesson on the resistor color code

## Introduction

## Method to read

### 4-band resistors

**Example of a 4-band resistor**

### 5-band resistors

**Example of a 5-band resistors**

### 6-band resistors

**Example of a 6-band resistor**

## Summary table

## Test your skills

## Tip

Download and read this article in **PDF format** (requires installation of Adobe® Reader®).

This lesson explains how to **read the color code painted on the bands of the resistors**. This information is deliberately brief - but sufficient - because of the many electronic lessons that can be found on the Internet.

In most cases, the resistor is presented with **colored rings (bands)** around it. Each color corresponds to a digit.

The correspondence between the digits and the colors of the bands is named **the resistor color code**: this code is used to determine the value of a resistor or indicate its values by using a color code. It is defined by the international standard IEC 60062 entitled "Marking codes for resistors and capacitors".**Example of a resistor** (source **Wikipedia.org**):

Resistor values are **standardized** and defined by the international standard «IEC 60063» entitled «Preferred number series for resistors and capacitors». These values are classified by **series** associated with a specific tolerance. The most widely used for consumer electronics is the **E24** series (tolerance ±5%): in this series, 24 standard values are defined and for which it is possible to use a multiple of 10 (it is known as «decade»).

You must first turn the resistor the __right way up__. Usually, the resistor has a **gold** or **silver** band that must be placed on the **right**. In other cases, it is the **largest** band that must be placed on the **right** or the band placed **closest the extremity** you must put on the **left**.

There are **three types of resistors** depending on the number of bands: 4-band, 5-band and 6-band resistors. Each resistor type is described in the following paragraphs.

- The first two bands provide
**significant figures**: the first gives the ten and the second the unit. - The third gives the
**multiplier**, in other words the power of 10 to be multiplied to significant digits (the number of zeros to add to the significant figures). - The fourth determines the
**tolerance**of the resistor that indicates the incertitude on the effective value of the resistor given by the manufacturer. The selling price of the resistor is inversely proportional to its precision.

**First significant figure**: the red color corresponds to the digit 2 (see the correspondence between color and digit in the summary table).**Second significant figure**: the red color corresponds to the digit 2. The significant digits are 22.**Multiplier**: the yellow color corresponds to the digit 4, the significant digits have to be multiplied by 10^{4}(ie. add 4 zeros after the 2 significant figures). The value of the resistor is 220 000 Ω or 220 kΩ.**Tolerance**: the silver color corresponds to the tolerance ±10%. It means that given the incertitude provided by the manufacturer, the effective value of the resistor varies from 198 kΩ (220 kΩ - 220 kΩ x 10/100) and 242 kΩ (220 kΩ + 220 kΩ x 10/100).

- The first three bands provide the
**significant figures**: the first gives the hundred, the second the ten and the third the unit. The third band is only used when the tolerance of the resistor is less than 2%. - The fourth gives the
**multiplier**, in other words the power of 10 to be multiplied to significant digits (the number of zeros to add to the significant digits). - The fifth is the
**tolerance**of the resistor that indicates the incertitude on the effective value of the resistor given by the manufacturer. The selling price of the resistor is inversely proportional to its precision.

**First significant figure**: the brown color corresponds to the digit 1 (see the correspondence between color and digit in the summary table).**Second significant figure**: the green color to 5.**Third significant figure**: the black color to 0. The significant digits are 150.**Multiplier**: the orange color corresponds to the digit3, The significant digits have to be multiplied by 10^{3}(ie. add 3 zeros after the 3 significant figures). The value of the resistor is 150 000 Ω or 150 kΩ.**Tolerance**: the green color corresponds to the tolerance ±0.5%. It means that given the incertitude provided by the manufacturer, the effective value of the resistor varies from 149.25 kΩ (150 kΩ - 150 kΩ x 0.5/100) and 150.75 kΩ (150 kΩ + 150 kΩ x 0.5/100).

- The first five bands have the same meaning as the 5-band resistors (see above).
- The sixth band is a
**temperature coefficient**that indicates the change in electrical conductivity with temperature.

**First significant figure**: the orange color corresponds to the digit 3 (see the correspondence between color and digit in the summary table).**Second significant figure**: the black color to 0.**Third significant figure**: the red one to 2. The significant figures are 302.**Multiplier**: the red color corresponds to the digit 2: the significant digits have to be multiplied by10^{2}(ie. add 2 zeros after the 3 significant figures). The value of the resistor is 30 200 Ω or 30.2 kΩ.**Tolerance**: the green color corresponds to the tolerance ±0.5%. It means that given the incertitude provided by the manufacturer, the effective value of the resistor varies from 30.049 kΩ (30.2 kΩ - 30.2 kΩ x 0.5/100) and 30.351 kΩ (30.2 kΩ + 30.2 kΩ x 0.5/100).**Temperature coefficient**: the blue color corresponds to a temperature coefficient equal to 10 ppm/°C.

The following printable summary table will allow you to have the resistor color code within reach, in addition to the software Atlence Resistor Viewer.

**Note** : The 3^{rd} band (3^{rd} significant digit) is only used when the tolerance of the resistor is **less than 2%**.

List of the 24 normalized values in the E24 series:

10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 15 | 16 | 18 | 20 | 22 | 24 | 27 | 30 |

33 | 36 | 39 | 43 | 47 | 51 | 56 | 62 | 68 | 75 | 82 | 91 |

To practice and test your knowledge on the resistor color code, download Atlence Resistor Viewer: it includes a **quiz on the resistor color code**.

A mnemonic to keep in mind the resistor color code is to remember one of the following two sentences:

__B__ad __B__eer __R__ots __O__ur __Y__oung __G__uts __B__ut __V__odka __G__oes __W__ell**or**

__B__lack __B__ears __R__arely __O__utrun __Y__oung __G__rizzlys __B__ut __V__ictimize __G__ray __W__olves

By taking the first letter of each word, you get the color:

1^{st} letter |
Color |
Position |

B |
Black | 0 |

B |
Brown | 1 |

R |
Red | 2 |

O |
Orange | 3 |

Y |
Yellow | 4 |

G |
Green | 5 |

B |
Blue | 6 |

V |
Violet | 7 |

G |
Gray | 8 |

W |
White | 9 |

The **position of the words** in the sentence (__by starting the numbering at 0__) indicates the digit that corresponds to the **color of the band**.