Tech Tips

In this article, we will introduce how to read resistance and capacitor values, which form the foundation of electric resistance.

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Fixed Film Resistor Color Code

How to Read Resistance Values

Four bands
An image of register with four bands. It shows four band resister color codes.
Five bands
An image of register with four bands. It shows five band resister color codes.
Color Black Brown Red Orange Yellow Green Blue Purple Gray White Silver Gold
Number 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 - -
Numerical value 100 101 102 103 104 105 106 - - - 10-2 10-1
Tolerance ±20% ±1% ±2% - - - - ±10% ±5%
Carbon film resistor (with four bands)

This four bands is four, seven x ten squared and ±5%.

4700 Ω = 4.7 kΩ

Metal film resistor (with five bands)

This five bands is four, seven, zero x ten to the first power and ±1%.

4700 Ω = 4.7 kΩ

Chip Marking

Chip resistors

The resistance marking is shown with a combination of alphabetic characters on the top surface. The following is an example of the transformation rules. (It also has other particular markings or rules.)

Chip resistor 103
Chip resistor R471

[Example]

  • 103 = 10 x 103 = 10000 Ω (10 kΩ)
  • 1003 = 10 x 103 = 100000 Ω (100 kΩ)
  • R047 = replacing the R with decimal point = 0.047 Ω (47 mΩ)
  • 10L0 = replacing the L with decimal point of mΩ = 10 mΩ

Chip capacitor or coil

capacitor 471
  • 471 = 10 x 101 = 470 pF
    10 x 101 = 470 µH

Capacitor/Standard Resistance Value

In considering deviations, E series data indicates the value that does not overlap the next value.

E3 E6 E12 E24
+/- 40% tolerances +/- 20% tolerances +/- 40% tolerances +/- 20% tolerances
common ratio of E3 common ratio of E6 common ratio of E12 common ratio of E24
1 1 1 1
1 1 1 1.1
1 1 1.2 1.2
1 1 1.2 1.3
1 1.5 1.5 1.5
1 1.5 1.5 1.6
1 1.5 1.8 1.8
1 1.5 1.8 2
2.2 2.2 2.2 2.2
2.2 2.2 2.2 2.4
2.2 2.2 2.7 2.7
2.2 2.2 2.7 3
2.2 3.3 3.3 3.3
2.2 3.3 3.3 3.6
2.2 3.3 3.9 3.9
2.2 3.3 3.9 4.3
4.7 4.7 4.7 4.7
4.7 4.7 4.7 5.1
4.7 4.7 5.6 5.6
4.7 4.7 5.6 6.2
4.7 6.8 6.8 6.8
4.7 6.8 6.8 7.5
4.7 6.8 8.2 8.2
4.7 6.8 8.2 9.1
E96
+/- 1% tolerances
common ratio of E96
1.00 1.62 2.61 4.22 6.81
1.02 1.65 2.67 4.32 6.98
1.05 1.69 2.74 4.42 7.15
1.07 1.74 2.80 4.53 7.32
1.10 1.78 2.87 4.64 7.50
1.13 1.82 2.94 4.75 7.68
1.15 1.87 3.01 4.87 7.87
1.18 1.91 3.09 4.99 8.06
1.21 1.96 3.16 5.11 8.25
1.24 2.00 3.24 5.23 8.45
1.27 2.05 3.32 5.36 8.66
1.30 2.10 3.40 5.49 8.87
1.33 2.15 3.48 5.62 9.09
1.37 2.21 3.57 5.76 9.31
1.40 2.26 3.65 5.90 9.53
1.43 2.32 3.74 6.04 9.76
1.47 2.37 3.8 6.19 -
1.50 2.43 3.92 6.34 -
1.54 2.49 4.02 6.49 -
1.58 2.55 4.12 6.65 -
  • The theoretical figure is represented by the geometric series.
  • How to calculate the common ratio of geometric series by regarding it as "a": common ratio of geometric series: n = 1, 2 or more, and a

Capacitor Marking

Electrolytic capacitor

Withstand voltage used on this value or less.
It has a longer leg at the plus side.

Ceramic and film capacitors

Capacitance is represented by a three-digit number. The units of measurement are pF (picofarads).

Ceramic capacitor
This is a picture of ceramic capacitor. A three-digit number is printed on capacitors to indicate the capacitance.
Film capacitor
This is a picture of Film capacitor.
Reference
  • 1 pF = 1 x 10 e - 12 F
  • 1 μF = 1 x 10 e - 6 F

Corresponding Code of Capacitor and Resistance

Marking Capacitor Resistance
106 10 μF 10 MΩ
105 1 μF 1 MΩ
104 0.1 μF 100 kΩ
103 0.01 μF 10 kΩ
102 1000 pF 1 kΩ
101 100 pF 100 Ω
100 10 pF 10 Ω

E series: The resistance does not always include all arbitrary values, and it is defined based on E series.

Rated voltage: Capacitors have the rated voltage, and in some cases, they are directly shown by 50 V or 100 V, and also marked by alphabetic character codes. For instance, 0E is 2.5 V.

Rated voltage [V]
A B C D E F G H J K P V W
0 1 1.25 1.6 2 2.5 3.15 4 5 6.3 8 1.8 3.5 4.5
1 10 12.5 16 20 25 31.5 40 50 63 80 18 35 45
2 100 125 160 200 250 315 400 500 630 800 180 350 450
3 1000 1250 1600 2000 2500 3150 4000 5000 6300 8000 1800 3500 4500

Polarity Marking

Band on the cathode side

(a) Diode

leaded aluminum electrolytic capacitor
Marking on the minus side
Chip type

(b) Aluminum electrolytic capacitor

leaded tantalum capacitor
White band on the plus side
Chip type

(c) Tantalum capacitor

Longer terminal lead at the anode

(d) LED

Segment names of 7-segment LED

(e) Segment names of 7-segment LED

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