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How to Use a Solderless Breadboard
Written By: John R. Sewell

Resistor Color Code Card Let’s start with the basic resistor these have 3 value bands and a 4th tolerance band. The first 2 bands represent numeric value while the third band is the multiplier in scientific notation (Powers of 10). The tolerance Band means that the actual value is within +- 5% for Gold or 10% for Silver. One of the first things you learn is the mnemonic for the colors. There are several out there but we use:
Bad Booze Rots Our Young Guts But Vodka Goes Well
Standing for the colors:
Black, Brown, Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Violet, Gray and White.

Numeric value is assigned to each color as follows:

The 3rd band is the multiplier in powers of Ten or 1X10X.

So a 10ohm resistor 5% would be colored: Brown (1) Black (0) Multiplier Black 1X100 (or 1X1)
= 10X1 or 10 ohms

And a 2 thousand Ohm would be colored: Red (2) Black (0) Multiplier Red 1X102 (or 1X100)
=20X100 or 2000 ohms

Now lets simplify it; I case you got lost the 3rd band represents the Exponent in scientific notation. So using the mnemonic or the chart that for Black you have 0 as exponent so a multiplier value 1 so 1X the first 2 bands and the number of Zeros is none. So Black is no “0” Brown is 1 “0”, Red is 2 “0”, Orange =3 or 3 zeros etc.

As you can see simply use the mnemonic to get the 2 value digits and the number Zeros to add: Red Red Brown bands = 220 Red Red Red= 2200 Red Red Orange= 22000 etc. Now if you “knock” off 3 places and sub in a K (for Kilo) you get Red Red Red = 2200 or 2.2K ohms, Red Red Orange gives you 22000 or commonly called 22K ohms. Common usage is ohms up to 1000 then K (Kilo) ohms, at 1,000,000 then M (Meg) ohms.

5 banded resistors are the same Except these are usually 2% or 1% and there are 3 Value colors and the 4th band is the multiplier. The tolerance band is Red for 2% and Brown for 1%. There are no color bands on surface mount resistors. These are usually marked using Scientific Notation. As in “103” on the part; that’s 10 with 3 Zeros equaling 10 thousand ohms or 10K ohms. Some parts use a “R” to designate the decimal point as in 1r5. This part is 1.5 ohms
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