Resistor Color Codes

Chapter 2 - Color Codes

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Try out our Resistor Color Code Calculator in our Tools section.

Standard Resistor Values and Color

Components and wires are coded with colors to identify their value and function. Resistor Color Coding uses colored bands to quickly identify a resistors resistive value and its percentage of tolerance with the physical size of the resistor indicating its wattage rating. 

Generally, the resistance value, tolerance, and wattage rating are printed on the body of a resistor as numbers or letters when the resistors body is big enough to read the print, such as large power resistors. But when a resistor is smaller (example: 1/4 watt carbon or film type), the print is too small to read, so the specifications must be shown in another way.

 

Color Digit Multiplier Tolerance (%)
Black 0 100(1)  
Brown 1 101 1
Red 2 102 2
Orange 3 103  
Yellow 4 104  
Green 5 105 0.5
Blue 6 106 0.25
Violet 7 107 0.1
Grey 8 108  
White 9 109  
Gold   10-1 5
Silver   10-2 10
(none)     20

 

The colors brown, red, green, blue, and violet are used as tolerance codes on 5-band resistors only. All 5-band resistors use a colored tolerance band. The blank (20%) “band” is only used with the “4-band” code (3 colored bands + a blank “band”).

 

 

Yellow-Violet-Orange-Gold Color Code

 

A resistor colored Yellow-Violet-Orange-Gold would be 47 kΩ with a tolerance of +/- 5%.

 

Green-Red-Gold-Silver Color Code

 

A resistor colored Green-Red-Gold-Silver would be 5.2 Ω with a tolerance of +/- 10%.

 

White-Violet-Black Color Code

 

A resistor colored White-Violet-Black would be 97 Ω with a tolerance of +/- 20%. When you see only three color bands on a resistor, you know that it is actually a 4-band code with a blank (20%) tolerance band.

 

Orange-Orange-Black-Brown-Violet Color Code

 

A resistor colored Orange-Orange-Black-Brown-Violet would be 3.3 kΩ with a tolerance of +/- 0.1%.

 

Brown-Green-Grey-Silver-Red Color Code

 

A resistor colored Brown-Green-Grey-Silver-Red would be 1.58 Ω with a tolerance of +/- 2%.

 

Blue-Brown-Green-Silver-Blue Color Code

 

A resistor colored Blue-Brown-Green-Silver-Blue would be 6.15 Ω with a tolerance of +/- 0.25%.

 

Preferred Values or E-series

To make mass manufacturing of resistors easier, the IEC (International Electrotechnical Commision) defined tolerance and resistance values for resistors in 1952. These are referred to as preferred values or E-series, published in standard IEC 60063:1963. Capactors, Zener diodes, and inductors also use these standards.

The purpose of this was so that when companies produce resistors with different values of resistance, they would equally space on a logarithmic scale.

This helps the supplier with stocking different values. Resistors produced by different manufacturers are compatible for the same designs because of the use of standard values.

 

Standard Resistor Value Series and Tolerances

The standard E3, E6, E12, E24, E48 and E96 resistor values are listed below.

 

E Series

Tolerance

(SIG FIGS)

# of Values

in Each Decade

E3 36%*

3

E6 20% 6
E12 10% 12
E24 5% 24
E48 2% 48
E96 1% 96
E192 0.5%, 0.25% and higher tolerances  

 

*The calculated tolerance for this series is 36.60%, While the standard only specifies a tolerance greater than 20%, other sources indicate 40% or 50%.

E3 Standard Resistor Series

These are the most widely used resistor series in the electronics industry and are useful for resistor values that are not critical.  The number of different components in any electronic circuit design can be reduced by keeping to this series. 

 

1 2.2 4.7

 

E6 Standard Resistor Series

The E6 series of resistors are also widely used in the electronics industry because of their wider range of common resistor values. 

 

1 1.5 2.2
3.3 4.7 6.8

 

E12 Standard Resistor Series

 

1 1.2 1.5
1.8 2.2 2.7
3.3 3.9 4.7
5.6 6.8 8.2

 

E24 Standard Resistor Series

Though, resistors in ranges up to E24 are available, it helps in any design to focus on using as small a number of resistor values as possible. This will reduce the number of components in a design and this will help reduce costs when considering large-scale production.

 

1 1.1 1.2
1.3 1.5 1.6
1.8 2 2.2
2.4 2.7 3
3.3 3.6 3.9
4.3 4.7 5.1
5.6 6.2 6.8
7.5 8.2 9.1

 

E48 Standard Resistor Series

 

1 1.05 1.1
1.15 1.21 1.27
1.33 1.4 1.47
1.54 1.62 1.69
1.78 1.87 1.96
2.05 2.15 2.26
2.37 2.49 2.61
2.74 2.87 3.01
3.16 3.32 3.48
3.65 3.83 4.02
4.22 4.42 4.64
4.87 5.11 5.36
5.62 5.9 6.19
6.49 6.81 7.15
7.5 7.87 8.25
8.66 9.09 9.53

 

E96 Resistor Series and Beyond

The E96 and E192 series of standard resistor values do exist, but they are not used as much as the Series mention previously. Their tolerance is either 0.5 or 0.25% which can increase costs along with a much higher number of resistors in range.

Try out our Resistor Color Code Calculator in our Tools section.