Resistor Color Code

Resistors are usually very tiny and it is difficult to print resistance values on them. So color bands are printed on them that represent the electrical resistance they carry. These color bands are known as resistor color code.

resistor color code

Resistor Color Code

To read them, hold the resistor such that the tolerance band is on your right. The tolerance band is usually gold or silver in color and is placed a little further away from the other bands.

Starting from your left note all the colors of the bands and write them down in sequence. Next, use the table given below to see which digits they represent. The band just next to the tolerance band is the multiplier band. So if the color of this band is Red (representing 2), the value given is 102.

color code chart

Here’s an example to get you started:

color code

The band colours for resistor color code in order are:

Band colours in order RED RED BLACK GOLD
Digit representation 2 2 1
Value 2 2 101 ±5%

So the value of resistance is: 2 2 × 101 ± 5% = 220 ± 11 Ω

The tolerance values represent by how much the resistance can vary from its mean value in terms of the percentage. A gold band represents the lowest variation, so be sure to buy these that the electronics store.

Note that the band next to the tolerance band represents the multiplier. All bands left of this band give the digits. There can be more than two such bands. For example,

Digit representation 2 1 5 3 4
Value 2 1 5 3 104 ±10%

Value is 2153× 104 ± 10% = 21.53 M Ω ± 2153 k Ω

You can remember the number values using this mnemonic:

BB ROY of Great Britain had a Very Good Wife. The Capital letters represent the first letters of the colours and their positions the digit values.

Want to learn interactively with mind maps and other creative techniques? Download BYJU’s – The Learning App.

Meanwhile, watch an interesting video on Electricity and Resistance.


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