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A multimeter can be used to measure resistance in ohms. It can also be used to measure capacitance, voltage, current, and other electrical characteristics.
Several resistors. Their resistance, in ohms, is marked using a color code.

The ohm (symbol: Ω) is the SI unit of electrical impedance or, in the direct current case, electrical resistance, named after Georg Simon Ohm.



The ohm is defined as the resistance between two points of a conductor when a constant potential difference of 1 volt, applied to these points, produces in the conductor a current of 1 ampere, the conductor not being the seat of any electromotive force.[1]

\Omega = \dfrac{\mbox{V}}{\mbox{A}} = \dfrac{\mbox{m}^2 \cdot \mbox{kg}}{\mbox{s} \cdot \mbox{C}^2} = \dfrac{\mbox{J}}{\mbox{s} \cdot \mbox{A}^2}=\dfrac{\mbox{kg}\cdot\mbox{m}^2}{\mbox{s}^3 \cdot \mbox{A}^2} =\dfrac{\mbox{HP}}{745.69 \cdot \mbox{A}^2}

In many cases the resistance of a conductor in ohms is approximately constant within a certain range of voltages, temperatures, and other parameters; one speaks of linear resistors. In other cases resistance varies (e.g., thermistors).

Commonly used multiples and submultiples in electrical and electronic usage are the milliohm, ohm, kilohm, and megohm.[2]


Power as a function of resistance

The power dissipated by a linear resistor may be calculated from its resistance, and voltage or current. The formula is a combination of Ohm's law and Joule's laws:

P=V\cdot I =\frac{V^2}{R} = I^2\cdot R

where P is the power in watts, R the resistance in ohms, V the voltage across the resistor, and I the current through it.

This formula is applicable to devices whose resistance varies with current.

Use of the Ω symbol in electronic documents

Care should be taken when preparing documents (including HTML documents) which make use of the symbol Ω. Some document editing software will attempt to use the symbol typeface to render the character. Where the font is not supported, a W is displayed instead. As this represents the SI unit of power, not resistance, this can lead to confusion.

Unicode encodes an ohm symbol distinct from Greek omega among Letterlike Symbols.

References and notes

  1. ^ BIPM SI Brochure: Appendix 1, p. 144
  2. ^ The NIST Guide to the SI: 9.3 Spelling unit names with prefixes reports that IEEE/ASTM SI 10-2002 IEEE/ASTM Standard for Use of the International System of Units (SI): The Modern Metric System states that there are three cases in which the final vowel of an SI prefix is commonly omitted: megohm, kilohm, and hectare. « In all other cases in which the unit name begins with a vowel, both the final vowel of the prefix and the vowel of the unit name are retained and both are pronounced. » This usage is peculiar to English.

Gigohm is another example of dropping the extra vowel. Gigohm, Megohm, and Kilohm are commonly used in the literature and machinery within the high voltage test industry. Vitrek Corporation of San Diego, CA is an example of a company which commonly uses this terminology.

See also

External links



Up to date as of January 15, 2010

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary



Ohm, n. (uncountable)

  1. ohm

Simple English

An Ohm (referred to by the Greek letter Ω (Omega)) is the SI unit of resistance (R). It can be defined by Ohm's Law and the equation:

R = \frac VA

where R is Resistance in Ohms V is Volts and A is Amperes.


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