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Frequently Asked Resistor Questions

Resistors are electrical components that have resistance to the flow of electric current. They are used to control the amount of current in an electric circuit.

In this post, I will cover some of the most commonly asked questions about resistors and answer them with my best knowledge. These include:

1. How do resistors work?
2. What is the purpose of a resistor?
3. What are the different types of resistors?
4. How do I choose the right resistor for my circuit?
5. What are the ratings on a resistor?
6. What is the resistance value of a resistor?
7. What is the power rating of a resistor?
8. What is the tolerance of a resistor?
9. What are some common resistor applications?
10. Why do resistors get heated?
11. What happens when a resistor experiences burn-out?

1. How do resistors work?

Resistors work in opposition to the flow of electric current. They have a specific resistance value that determines how much opposition they will provide.

A resistor can restrict the flow of current in three ways: It can either use a less conductive material, make the conductive material longer, or make the conductive material thinner.

Most resistors are wire-wound, and they feature a conductive wire that’s wound around an insulating middle along with other resistors instead of a physical wire wound around. It is a spiral carbon known as a carbon film.

Essentially, wire-wound resistors are known to be more stable and precise than carbon-film resistors; the thickness of the wire and the number of turns controls the resistance of the resistor.

2. What is the purpose of a resistor?

The primary purpose of a resistor is to control the amount of current in an electric circuit. They can also be used to limit the voltage in a circuit or to dissipate energy as heat.

3. What are the different types of resistors?

There are many types of resistors, but the most common are carbon-based resistors, metal-oxide-film resistors, and wire-wound resistors.

4. How do I choose the right resistor for my circuit?

To pick the right resistor for your circuit, you need to know the voltage and current in the circuit, as well as the desired resistance value. You can then use a resistor calculator to find the correct resistor value.

5. What are the ratings on a resistor?

The ratings on a resistor usually include the nominal resistance value, the power rating, and the tolerance.

6. What is the resistance value of a resistor?

The resistance value of a resistor is the opposition to the flow of electric current. It is typically measured in ohms.

7. What is the power rating of a resistor?

The power rating of a resistor is the maximum amount of power that the resistor can dissipate without being damaged. It is typically measured in watts.

8. What is the tolerance of a resistor?

The tolerance of a resistor is the allowable range of variation from the nominal resistance value. The most common tolerances are 5%, 10%, and 20%.

9. What are some common resistor applications?

Some common resistor applications include controlling the brightness of LEDs, regulating the voltage in a circuit, and dissipating energy as heat.

As their name suggests, resistors are designed to resist the flow of electricity, which is key to the operation of most circuits.

10. Why do resistors get heated?

When the circuit is powered up, the electric current will flow through the resistor constantly. And you know that current always flow as free electrons.

As such, those free-moving electrons cause heat as a result of the fraction phenomenon inside the body of the resistor. In turn, this fraction makes the resistor get heated.

11. What happens when a resistor experiences burn-out?

When you overload a resistor with a voltage that exceeds its power rating, it will become too hot to touch, darken, and maybe even catch on fire or melt. While it will look damaged at this point, the resistor could still be functioning.

12. What is the purpose of the colour code S of a resistor?

The S colour code is used to indicate the resistor’s resistance value without using a multimeter. Essentially, you can think of them as the colour bars featured on the resistor body that show the real value of the resistor.

I have covered some of the basic and advanced level questions people often ask about resistors. They include:

1. How do resistors work?
2. What is the purpose of a resistor?
3. What are the different types of resistors?
4. How do I choose the right resistor for my circuit?
5. What are the ratings on a resistor?
6. What is the resistance value of a resistor?
7. What is the power rating of a resistor?
8. What is the tolerance of a resistor?
9. What are some common resistor applications?
10. Why do resistors get heated?
11. What happens when a resistor experiences burn-out?