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Resistor
3 Resistors.jpg
Three resistors
Type Passive
Electronic symbol
Resistor symbol Europe.svg (Europe)
Resistor symbol America.svg (US)
Partially exposed Tesla TR-212 1 kΩ carbon film resistor
Axial-lead resistors on tape. The tape is removed during assembly before the leads are formed and the part is inserted into the board.
Three carbon composition resistors in a 1960s valve (vacuum tube) radio.

A resistor is a two-terminal electronic component that produces a voltage across its terminals that is proportional to the electric current passing through it in accordance with Ohm's law:

V = IR

Resistors are elements of electrical networks and electronic circuits and are ubiquitous in most electronic equipment. Practical resistors can be made of various compounds and films, as well as resistance wire (wire made of a high-resistivity alloy, such as nickel/chrome).

The primary characteristics of a resistor are the resistance, the tolerance, maximum working voltage and the power rating. Other characteristics include temperature coefficient, noise, and inductance. Less well-known is critical resistance, the value below which power dissipation limits the maximum permitted current flow, and above which the limit is applied voltage. Critical resistance depends upon the materials constituting the resistor as well as its physical dimensions; it's determined by design.

Resistors can be integrated into hybrid and printed circuits, as well as integrated circuits. Size, and position of leads (or terminals) are relevant to equipment designers; resistors must be physically large enough not to overheat when dissipating their power.

Contents

Units

The ohm (symbol: Ω) is a SI-driven unit of electrical resistance, named after Georg Simon Ohm. Commonly used multiples and submultiples in electrical and electronic usage are the milliohm (1x10−3), kilohm (1x103), and megohm (1x106).

Theory of operation

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Ohm's law

The behavior of an ideal resistor is dictated by the relationship specified in Ohm's law:

V = IR

Ohm's law states that the voltage (V) across a resistor is proportional to the current (I) through it where the constant of proportionality is the resistance (R).

Series and parallel resistors

Resistors in a parallel configuration each have the same potential difference (voltage). To find their total equivalent resistance (Req):

A diagram of several resistors, side by side, both leads of each connected to the same wires
 \frac{1}{R_\mathrm{eq}} = \frac{1}{R_1} + \frac{1}{R_2} + \cdots + \frac{1}{R_n}

The parallel property can be represented in equations by two vertical lines "||" (as in geometry) to simplify equations. For two resistors,

 R_\mathrm{eq} = R_1 \| R_2 = {R_1 R_2 \over R_1 + R_2}

The current through resistors in series stays the same, but the voltage across each resistor can be different. The sum of the potential differences (voltage) is equal to the total voltage. To find their total resistance:

A diagram of several resistors, connected end to end, with the same amount of current going through each
 R_\mathrm{eq} = R_1 + R_2 + \cdots + R_n

A resistor network that is a combination of parallel and series can be broken up into smaller parts that are either one or the other. For instance,

A diagram of three resistors, two in parallel, which are in series with the other
 R_\mathrm{eq} = \left( R_1 \| R_2 \right) + R_3 = {R_1 R_2 \over R_1 + R_2} + R_3

However, many resistor networks cannot be split up in this way. Consider a cube, each edge of which has been replaced by a resistor. For example, determining the resistance between two opposite vertices requires additional transforms, such as the Y-Δ transform, or else matrix methods must be used for the general case. However, if all twelve resistors are equal, the corner-to-corner resistance is 56 of any one of them.

The practical application to resistors is that a resistance of any non-standard value can be obtained by connecting standard values in series or in parallel.

Power dissipation

The power dissipated by a resistor (or the equivalent resistance of a resistor network) is calculated using the following:  P = I^2 R = I V = \frac{V^2}{R}

All three equations are equivalent. The first is derived from Joule's first law. Ohm’s Law derives the other two from that.

The total amount of heat energy released is the integral of the power over time:

 W = \int_{t_1}^{t_2} v(t) i(t)\, dt.

If the average power dissipated is more than the resistor can safely dissipate, the resistor may depart from its nominal resistance and may become damaged by overheating. Excessive power dissipation may raise the temperature of the resistor to a point where it burns out, which could cause a fire in adjacent components and materials. There are flameproof resistors that fail (open circuit) before they overheat dangerously.

Note that the nominal power rating of a resistor is not the same as the power that it can safely dissipate in practical use. Air circulation and proximity to a circuit board, ambient temperature, and other factors can reduce acceptable dissipation significantly. Rated power dissipation may be given for an ambient temperature of 25 °C in free air. Inside an equipment case at 60 °C, rated dissipation will be significantly less; if we are dissipating a bit less than the maximum figure given by the manufacturer we may still be outside the safe operating area, and courting premature failure.

Construction

A single in line (SIL) resistor package with 8 individual, 47 ohm resistors. One end of each resistor is connected to a separate pin and the other ends are all connected together to the remaining (common) pin - pin 1, at the end identified by the white dot.

Lead arrangements

Through-hole components typically have leads leaving the body axially. Others have leads coming off their body radially instead of parallel to the resistor axis. Other components may be SMT (surface mount technology) while high power resistors may have one of their leads designed into the heat sink.

Carbon composition

Carbon composition resistors consist of a solid cylindrical resistive element with embedded wire leads or metal end caps to which the lead wires are attached. The body of the resistor is protected with paint or plastic. Early 20th-century carbon composition resistors had uninsulated bodies; the lead wires were wrapped around the ends of the resistance element rod and soldered. The completed resistor was painted for color coding of its value.

The resistive element is made from a mixture of finely ground (powdered) carbon and an insulating material (usually ceramic). A resin holds the mixture together. The resistance is determined by the ratio of the fill material (the powdered ceramic) to the carbon. Higher concentrations of carbon, a weak conductor, result in lower resistance. Carbon composition resistors were commonly used in the 1960s and earlier, but are not so popular for general use now as other types have better specifications, such as tolerance, voltage dependence, and stress (carbon composition resistors will change value when stressed with over-voltages). Moreover, if internal moisture content (from exposure for some length of time to a humid environment) is significant, soldering heat will create a non-reversible change in resistance value. These resistors, however, if never subjected to overvoltage nor overheating were remarkably reliable.

They are still available, but comparatively quite costly. Values ranged from fractions of an ohm to 22 megohms.

Carbon film

A carbon film is deposited on an insulating substrate, and a helix cut in it to create a long, narrow resistive path. Varying shapes, coupled with the resistivity of carbon, (ranging from 90 to 400 nΩm) can provide a variety of resistances.[1] Carbon film resistors feature a power rating range of 0.125 W to 5 W at 70 °C. Resistances available range from 1 ohm to 10 megohm. The carbon film resistor has an operating temperature range of -55 °C to 155 °C. It has 200 to 600 volts maximum working voltage range.[2]

Thick and thin film

Thick film resistors became popular during the 1970s, and most SMD (surface mount device) resistors today are of this type. The principal difference between thin film and thick film resistors is not the actual thickness of the film, but rather how the film is applied to the cylinder (axial resistors) or the surface (SMD resistors).

Thin film resistors are made by sputtering (a method of vacuum deposition) the resistive material onto an insulating substrate. The film is then etched in a similar manner to the old (subtractive) process for making printed circuit boards; that is, the surface is coated with a photo-sensitive material, then covered by a pattern film, irradiated with ultraviolet light, and then the exposed photo-sensitive coating is developed, and underlying thin film is etched away.

Because the time during which the sputtering is performed can be controlled, the thickness of the thin film can be accurately controlled. The type of material is also usually different consisting of one or more ceramic (cermet) conductors such as tantalum nitride (TaN), ruthenium dioxide (RuO2), lead oxide (PbO), bismuth ruthenate (Bi2Ru2O7), nickel chromium (NiCr), and/or bismuth iridate (Bi2Ir2O7).

The resistance of both thin and thick film resistors after manufacture is not highly accurate; they are usually trimmed to an accurate value by abrasive or laser trimming. Thin film resistors are usually specified with tolerances of 0.1, 0.2, 0.5, or 1%, and with temperature coefficients of 5 to 25 ppm/K.

Thick film resistors may use the same conductive ceramics, but they are mixed with sintered (powdered) glass and some kind of liquid so that the composite can be screen-printed. This composite of glass and conductive ceramic (cermet) material is then fused (baked) in an oven at about 850 °C.

Thick film resistors, when first manufactured, had tolerances of 5%, but standard tolerances have improved to 2% or 1% in the last few decades. Temperature coefficients of thick film resistors are high, typically ±200 or ±250 ppm/K; a 40 kelvin (70 °F) temperature change can change the resistance by 1%.

Thin film resistors are usually far more expensive than thick film resistors. For example, SMD thin film resistors, with 0.5% tolerances, and with 25 ppm/K temperature coefficients, when bought in full size reel quantities, are about twice the cost of 1%, 250 ppm/K thick film resistors.

Metal film

A common type of axial resistor today is referred to as a metal-film resistor. Metal electrode leadless face (MELF) resistors often use the same technology, but are a cylindrically shaped resistor designed for surface mounting. Note that other types of resistors (e.g., carbon composition) are also available in MELF packages.

Metal film resistors are usually coated with nickel chromium (NiCr), but might be coated with any of the cermet materials listed above for thin film resistors. Unlike thin film resistors, the material may be applied using different techniques than sputtering (though that is one such technique). Also, unlike thin-film resistors, the resistance value is determined by cutting a helix through the coating rather than by etching. (This is similar to the way carbon resistors are made.) The result is a reasonable tolerance (0.5, 1, or 2%) and a temperature coefficient that is generally between 50 and 100 ppm/K.[3]

Wirewound

Types of windings in wire resitors:
1 - common
2 - bifilar
3 - common on a thin former
4 - Ayrton-Perry

Wirewound resistors are commonly made by winding a metal wire, usually nichrome, around a ceramic, plastic, or fiberglass core. The ends of the wire are soldered or welded to two caps or rings, attached to the ends of the core. The assembly is protected with a layer of paint, molded plastic, or an enamel coating baked at high temperature. Wire leads in low power wirewound resistors are usually between 0.6 and 0.8 mm in diameter and tinned for ease of soldering. For higher power wirewound resistors, either a ceramic outer case or an aluminum outer case on top of an insulating layer is used. The aluminum-cased types are designed to be attached to a heat sink to dissipate the heat; the rated power is dependent on being used with a suitable heat sink, e.g., a 50 W power rated resistor will overheat at a fraction of the power dissipation if not used with a heat sink. Large wirewound resistors may be rated for 1,000 watts or more.

Because wirewound resistors are coils they have more undesirable inductance than other types of resistor, although winding the wire in sections with alternately reversed direction can minimize inductance. Other techniques employ bifilar winding, or a flat thin former (to reduce cross-section area of the coil). For most demanding circuits resistors with Ayrton-Perry winding are used.

Foil resistor

The primary resistance element of a foil resistor is a special alloy foil several micrometres thick. Since their introduction in the 1960s, foil resistors have had the best precision and stability of any resistor available. One of the important parameters influencing stability is the temperature coefficient of resistance (TCR). The TCR of foil resistors is extremely low, and has been further improved over the years. One range of ultra-precision foil resistors offers a TCR of 0.14 ppm/°C, tolerance ±0.005%, long-term stability (1 year) 25 ppm, (3 year) 50 ppm (further improved 5-fold by hermetic sealing), stability under load (2000 hours) 0.03%, thermal EMF 0.1 μV/°C, noise -42 dB, voltage coefficient 0.1 ppm/V, inductance 0.08 μH, capacitance 0.5 pF.[4]

Ammeter shunts

An ammeter shunt is a special type of current-sensing resistor, having four terminals and a value in milliohms or even micro-ohms. Current-measuring instruments, by themselves, can usually accept only limited currents. To measure high currents, the current passes through the shunt, where the voltage drop is measured and interpreted as current. A typical shunt consists of two solid metal blocks, sometimes brass, mounted on to an insulating base. Between the blocks, and soldered or brazed to them, are one or more strips of low temperature coefficient of resistance (TCR) manganin alloy. Large bolts threaded into the blocks make the current connections, while much-smaller screws provide voltage connections. Shunts are rated by full-scale current, and often have a voltage drop of 50 mV at rated current.

Grid resistor

In heavy-duty industrial high-current applications, a grid resistor is a large convection-cooled lattice of stamped metal alloy strips connected in rows between two electrodes. Such industrial grade resistors can be as large as a refrigerator; some designs can handle over 500 amperes of current, with a range of resistances extending lower than 0.04 ohms. They are used in applications such as dynamic braking and load banking for locomotives and trams, neutral grounding for industrial AC distribution, control loads for cranes and heavy equipment, load testing of generators and harmonic filtering for electric substations.[5][6][7]

The term grid resistor is sometimes used to describe a resistor of any type connected to the control grid of a vacuum tube. This is not a resistor technology; it is an electronic circuit topology.

Negative resistors

A device exhibiting negative resistance over part of its characteristic curve can be made with active circuit components.

Special varieties

Adjustable resistors

Tapped resistors

A resistor may have one or more fixed tapping points so that the resistance can be changed by moving the connecting wires to different terminals. Wire-wound power resistors can have a tapping point that can slide the resistance element, allowing any part of the resistance to be used.

Where continuous adjustment of the resistance value during operation of equipment is required, the sliding resistance tap can be connected to a knob accessible to an operator. Such a device is called a "rheostat" and has two terminals.

A frequent element of electronic devices is a three-terminal resistor with a continuously-adjustable tapping point controlled by rotation of a shaft or knob. These variable resistors are known as a potentiometer when all three terminals are connected, since they act as a continuously adjustable voltage divider. A common example is a volume control for a radio receiver.[8]

Accurate, high-resolution panel-mounted pots have resistance elements typically wirewound on a helical mandrel, although some include a conductive-plastic resistance coating over the wire to improve resolution. These typically offer ten turns of their shafts to cover their full range. They are usually set with dials that include a simple turns counter and a graduated dial. Electronic analog computers used them in quantity for setting coefficients, and delayed-sweep oscilloscopes of recent decades included one on their panels.

Strain gauges

The strain gauge, invented by Edward E. Simmons and Arthur C. Ruge in 1938, is a type of resistor that changes value with applied strain. A single resistor may be used, or a pair (half bridge), or four resistors connected in a Wheatstone bridge configuration. The strain resistor is bonded with adhesive to an object that will be subjected to mechanical strain. With the strain gauge and a filter, amplifier, and analog/digital converter, the strain on an object can be measured.

Resistance decade boxes

A resistance decade box is a box containing resistors of many values and two (or four) terminals, with a mechanical switch that allows a resistance of any value allowed by the box to be dialed. Usually the resistance is accurate to high precision, ranging from laboratory/calibration grade accurate to within 20 parts per million, to field grade at 1%. Inexpensive boxes with lesser accuracy are also available. All types offer a convenient way of selecting and quickly changing a resistance in laboratory, experimental and development work without having to stock and seek individual resistors of the required value. The range of resistance provided, the maximum resolution, and the accuracy characterize the box. For example, one box offers resistances from 0 to 24 megohms, maximum resolution 0.1 ohm, accuracy 0.1%.[9]

Special varieties

There are special types of resistor whose resistance changes with various quantities: the resistance of thermistors varies greatly with temperature, whether external or due to dissipation, so they can be used for temperature or current sensing; metal oxide varistors drop to a very low resistance when a high voltage is applied, making them suitable for over-voltage protection; the resistance of photoresistors varies with illumination; the resistance of a Quantum Tunnelling Composite can vary by a factor of 1012 with mechanical pressure applied; and so on.

Measurement

The value of a resistor can be measured with an ohmmeter, which may be one function of a multimeter. Usually, probes on the ends of test leads connect to the resistor.

Measuring low-value resistors, such as fractional-ohm resistors, with acceptable accuracy requires four-terminal connections. One pair of terminals applies a known, calibrated current to the resistor, while the other pair senses the voltage drop across the resistor. Some laboratory test instruments have spring-loaded pairs of contacts, with neighboring contacts electrically isolated from each other. Better digital multimeters have four terminals on their panels, generally used with special test leads. These comprise four wires in all, and have special test clips with jaws insulated from each other. One jaw provides the measuring current, while the other senses the voltage drop. The resistance is then calculated using Ohm's Law.

Standards

Production resistors

Resistor characteristics are quantified and reported using various national standards. In the US, MIL-STD-202[10] contains the relevant test methods to which other standards refer.

There are various standards specifying properties of resistors for use in equipment:

  • BS 1852
  • EIA-RS-279
  • MIL-PRF-26
  • MIL-PRF-39007 (Fixed Power, established reliability)
  • MIL-PRF-55342 (Surface-mount thick and thin film)
  • MIL-PRF-914
  • MIL-R-11
  • MIL-R-39017 (Fixed, General Purpose, Established Reliability)
  • MIL-PRF-32159 (zero ohm jumpers)

There are other United States military procurement MIL-R- standards.

Resistance standards

The primary standard for resistance, the "mercury ohm" was initially defined in 1884 in as a column of mercury 106mm long and 1 square millimeter in cross-section, at 0 degrees Celsius. Difficulties in precisely measuring the physical constants to replicate this standard result in variations of as much as 30 ppm. From 1900 the mercury ohm was replaced with a precision machined plate of manganin[11]. Since 1990 the international resistance standard has been based on the quantized Hall effect discovered by Klaus von Klitzing, for which he won the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1985[12]

Resistors of extremely high precision are manufactured for calibration and laboratory use. They may have four terminals, using one pair to carry an operating current and the other pair to measure the voltage drop; this eliminates errors caused by voltage drops across the lead resistances, because no current flows through voltage sensing leads. It is important in small value resistors (100–0.0001 Ohm) where lead resistance is significant or even comparable with respect to resistance standard value.[13]

Resistor marking

Most axial resistors use a pattern of colored stripes to indicate resistance. Surface-mount resistors are marked numerically, if they are big enough to permit marking; more-recent small sizes are impractical to mark. Cases are usually tan, brown, blue, or green, though other colors are occasionally found such as dark red or dark gray.

Early 20th century resistors, essentially uninsulated, were dipped in paint to cover their entire body for color coding. A second color of paint was applied to one end of the element, and a color dot (or band) in the middle provided the third digit. The rule was "body, tip, dot", providing two significant digits for value and the decimal multiplier, in that sequence. Default tolerance was ±20%. Closer-tolerance resistors had silver (±10%) or gold-colored (±5%) paint on the other end.

Four-band resistors

Four-band identification is the most commonly used color-coding scheme on resistors. It consists of four colored bands that are painted around the body of the resistor. The first two bands encode the first two significant digits of the resistance value, the third is a power-of-ten multiplier or number-of-zeroes, and the fourth is the tolerance accuracy, or acceptable error, of the value. The first three bands are equally spaced along the resistor; the spacing to the fourth band is wider. Sometimes a fifth band identifies the thermal coefficient, but this must be distinguished from the true 5-color system, with 3 significant digits.

For example, green-blue-yellow-red is 56×104 Ω = 560 kΩ ± 2%. An easier description can be as followed: the first band, green, has a value of 5 and the second band, blue, has a value of 6, and is counted as 56. The third band, yellow, has a value of 104, which adds four 0's to the end, creating 560,000 Ω at ±2% tolerance accuracy. 560,000 Ω changes to 560 kΩ ±2% (as a kilo- is 103).

Each color corresponds to a certain digit, progressing from darker to lighter colors, as shown in the chart below.

Color 1st band 2nd band 3rd band (multiplier) 4th band (tolerance) Temp. Coefficient
Black 0 0 ×100
Brown 1 1 ×101 ±1% (F) 100 ppm
Red 2 2 ×102 ±2% (G) 50 ppm
Orange 3 3 ×103 15 ppm
Yellow 4 4 ×104 25 ppm
Green 5 5 ×105 ±0.5% (D)
Blue 6 6 ×106 ±0.25% (C)
Violet 7 7 ×107 ±0.1% (B)
Gray 8 8 ×108 ±0.05% (A)
White 9 9 ×109
Gold ×10−1 ±5% (J)
Silver ×10−2 ±10% (K)
None ±20% (M)

There are many mnemonics for remembering these colors.

Preferred values

Early resistors were made in more or less arbitrary round numbers; a series might have 100, 125, 150, 200, 300, etc. Resistors as manufactured are subject to a certain percentage tolerance, and it makes sense to manufacture values that correlate with the tolerance, so that the actual value of a resistor overlaps slightly with its neighbors. Wider spacing leaves gaps; narrower spacing increases manufacturing and inventory costs to provide resistors that are more or less interchangeable.

A logical scheme is to produce resistors in a range of values which increase in a geometrical progression, so that each value is greater than its predecessor by a fixed multiplier or percentage, chosen to match the tolerance of the range. For example, for a tolerance of ±20% it makes sense to have each resistor about 1.5 times its predecessor, covering a decade in 6 values. In practice the factor used is 1.4678, giving values of 1.47, 2.15, 3.16, 4.64, 6.81, 10 for the 1-10 decade (a decade is a range increasing by a factor of 10; 0.1-1 and 10-100 are other examples); these are rounded in practice to 1.5, 2.2, 3.3, 4.7, 6.8, 10; followed, of course by 15, 22, 33, … and preceded by … 0.47, 0.68, 1. This scheme has been adopted as the E6 range of the IEC 60063 preferred number series. There are also E12, E24, E48, E96 and E192 ranges for components of ever tighter tolerance, with 12, 24, 96, and 192 different values within each decade. The actual values used are in the IEC 60063 lists of preferred numbers.

A resistor of 100 ohms ±20% would be expected to have a value between 80 and 120 ohms; its E6 neighbors are 68 (54-82) and 150 (120-180) ohms. A sensible spacing, E6 is used for ±20% components; E12 for ±10%; E24 for ±5%; E48 for ±2%, E96 for ±1%; E192 for ±0.5% or better. Resistors are manufactured in values from a few milliohms to about a gigaohm in IEC60063 ranges appropriate for their tolerance.

Earlier power wirewound resistors, such as brown vitreous-enameled types, however, were made with a different system of preferred values, such as some of those mentioned in the first sentence of this section.

5-band axial resistors

5-band identification is used for higher precision (lower tolerance) resistors (1%, 0.5%, 0.25%, 0.1%), to specify a third significant digit. The first three bands represent the significant digits, the fourth is the multiplier, and the fifth is the tolerance. Five-band resistors with a gold or silver 4th band are sometimes encountered, generally on older or specialized resistors. The 4th band is the tolerance and the 5th the temperature coefficient.

SMD resistors

This image shows four surface-mount resistors (the component at the upper left is a capacitor) including two zero-ohm resistors. Zero-ohm links are often used instead of wire links, so that they can be inserted by a resistor-inserting machine. Of course, their resistance is finite, although quite low. Zero is simply a brief description of their function.

Surface mounted resistors are printed with numerical values in a code related to that used on axial resistors. Standard-tolerance surface-mount technology (SMT) resistors are marked with a three-digit code, in which the first two digits are the first two significant digits of the value and the third digit is the power of ten (the number of zeroes). For example:

334 = 33 × 10,000 ohms = 330 kilohms
222 = 22 × 100 ohms = 2.2 kilohms
473 = 47 × 1,000 ohms = 47 kilohms
105 = 10 × 100,000 ohms = 1.0 megohm

Resistances less than 100 ohms are written: 100, 220, 470. The final zero represents ten to the power zero, which is 1. For example:

100 = 10 × 1 ohm = 10 ohms
220 = 22 × 1 ohm = 22 ohms

Sometimes these values are marked as 10 or 22 to prevent a mistake.

Resistances less than 10 ohms have 'R' to indicate the position of the decimal point (radix point). For example:

4R7 = 4.7 ohms
0R22 = 0.22 ohms
0R01 = 0.01 ohms

Precision resistors are marked with a four-digit code, in which the first three digits are the significant figures and the fourth is the power of ten. For example:

1001 = 100 × 10 ohms = 1.00 kilohm
4992 = 499 × 100 ohms = 49.9 kilohm
1000 = 100 × 1 ohm = 100 ohms

000 and 0000 sometimes appear as values on surface-mount zero-ohm links, since these have (approximately) zero resistance.

More recent surface-mount resistors are too small, physically, to permit practical markings to be applied.

Industrial type designation

Format: [two letters]<space>[resistance value (three digit)]<nospace>[tolerance code(numerical - one digit)] [14]

Power Rating at 70 °C
Type No. Power
rating
(watts)
MIL-R-11
Style
MIL-R-39008
Style
BB RC05 RCR05
CB ¼ RC07 RCR07
EB ½ RC20 RCR20
GB 1 RC32 RCR32
HB 2 RC42 RCR42
GM 3 - -
HM 4 - -
Tolerance Code
Industrial type designation Tolerance MIL Designation
5 ±5% J
2 ±20% M
1 ±10% K
- ±2% G
- ±1% F
- ±0.5% D
- ±0.25% C
- ±0.1% B

The operational temperature range distinguishes commercial grade, industrial grade and military grade components.

  • Commercial grade: 0 °C to 70 °C
  • Industrial grade: −40 °C to 85 °C (sometimes −25 °C to 85 °C)
  • Military grade: −55 °C to 125 °C (sometimes -65 °C to 275 °C)
  • Standard Grade -5 °C to 60 °C

Electrical and thermal noise

In precision applications it is often necessary to minimize electronic noise. As dissipative elements, even ideal resistors will naturally produce a fluctuating "noise" voltage across their terminals. This Johnson–Nyquist noise is a fundamental noise source which depends only upon the temperature and resistance of the resistor, and is predicted by the fluctuation–dissipation theorem. For example, the gain in a simple (non-) inverting amplifier is set using a voltage divider. Noise considerations dictate that the smallest practical resistance should be used, since the Johnson–Nyquist noise voltage scales with resistance, and any resistor noise in the voltage divider will be impressed upon the amplifier's output.

In addition, small voltage differentials may appear on the resistors due to thermoelectric effect if their ends are not kept at the same temperature. The voltages appear in the junctions of the resistor leads with the circuit board and with the resistor body. Common metal film resistors show such an effect at a magnitude of about 20 µV/°C. Some carbon composition resistors can go as high as 400 µV/°C, and specially constructed resistors can go as low as 0.05 µV/°C. In applications where thermoelectric effects may become important, care has to be taken (for example) to mount the resistors horizontally to avoid temperature gradients and to mind the air flow over the board.[15]

Practical resistors frequently exhibit other, "non-fundamental", sources of noise, usually called "excess noise." Excess noise results in a "Noise Index" for a type of resistor. Excess Noise is due to current flow in the resistor and is specified as μV/V/decade - μV of noise per volt applied across the resistor per decade of frequency. The μV/V/decade value is frequently given in dB so that a resistor with a noise index of 0dB will exhibit 1 μV (rms) of excess noise for each volt across the resistor in each frequency decade. Excess noise is an example of 1/f noise. Thick-film and carbon composition resistors generate more noise than other types at low frequencies; wire-wound and thin-film resistors, though much more expensive, are often utilized for their better noise characteristics. Carbon composition resistors can exhibit a noise index of 0 dB while bulk metal foil resistors may have a noise index of -40 dB, usually making the excess noise of metal foil resistors insignificant.[16]

Thin film surface mount resistors typically have lower noise and better thermal stability than thick film surface mount resistors. However, the design engineer must read the data sheets for the family of devices to weigh the various device tradeoffs.

Failure modes

Like every part, resistors can fail in normal use. Thermal and mechanical stress, humidity, etc., can play a part. Carbon composition resistors and metal film resistors typically fail as open circuits. Carbon-film resistors may decrease or increase in resistance.[17] Carbon film and composition resistors can open if running close to their maximum dissipation. This is also possible but less likely with metal film and wirewound resistors. If not enclosed, wirewound resistors can corrode. The resistance of carbon composition resistors are prone to drift over time and are easily damaged by excessive heat in soldering (the binder evaporates). Variable resistors become electrically noisy as they wear.

All resistors can be destroyed, usually by going open-circuit, if subjected to excessive current due to failure of other components or accident.

See also

References

  1. ^ Resistivity of Carbon, Amorphous by Dana Klavansky, page by Glen Elert. ([1])
  2. ^ "Carbon-film resistors: Carbon film resistors feature up to 5 W power rating". Globalsources.com. http://www.globalsources.com/gsol/I/Carbon-film-resistors/a/9000000080292.htm. Retrieved 2008-09-22. 
  3. ^ Kenneth A. Kuhn. "Measuring the Temperature Coefficient of a Resistor". http://www.kennethkuhn.com/students/ee431/text/ee431lab3.pdf. Retrieved 2010-03-18. 
  4. ^ "Alpha Electronics Corp.【Metal Foil Resistors】". Alpha-elec.co.jp. http://www.alpha-elec.co.jp/e_machine.html. Retrieved 2008-09-22. 
  5. ^ Milwaukee Resistor Corporation. Grid Resistors: High Power/High Current
  6. ^ Avtron Loadbank. Grid Resistors
  7. ^ Filnor. Grid Resistor
  8. ^ Digitally-controlled receivers may not have an analog volume control and use other methods to adjust volume.
  9. ^ "Decade Box - Resistance Decade Boxes". Ietlabs.com. http://www.ietlabs.com/decaderes.html. Retrieved 2008-09-22. 
  10. ^ http://www.dscc.dla.mil/Programs/MilSpec/ListDocs.asp?BasicDoc=MIL-STD-202
  11. ^ http://nvl.nist.gov/pub/nistpubs/sp958-lide/063-065.pdf
  12. ^ http://nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/physics/laureates/1985/klitzing-lecture.pdf
  13. ^ "Standard Resistance Unit Type 4737B". Tinsley.co.uk. http://www.tinsley.co.uk/products/standard-resistors/4737b.htm. Retrieved 2008-09-22. 
  14. ^ Electronics and Communications Simplified by A. K. Maini, 9thEd., Khanna Publications (India)
  15. ^ Walt Jung. "Chapter 7 — Hardware and Housekeeping Techniques". Op Amp Applications Handbook. p. 7.11. ISBN 0750678445. http://www.analog.com/library/analogDialogue/archives/39-05/Web_Ch7_final_J.pdf. 
  16. ^ Audio Noise Reduction Through the Use of Bulk Metal Foil Resistors — "Hear the Difference". http://www.c-c-i.com/sites/default/files/vse-an00.pdf. , Application note AN0003, Vishay Intertechnology Inc, 12 July 2005.
  17. ^ "Electronic components - resistors". Inspector's Technical Guide. US Food and Drug Administration. 1978-01-16. http://www.fda.gov/ora/Inspect_ref/itg/itg31.html. Retrieved 2008-06-11. 

External links


Study guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiversity

A resistor is an electronic component that resists, restricts, or opposes the flow of current. It can be visualized as constriction or narrowing in a pipe, where the constricted area is the resistance (resistor), and the flow of water is current. The volume of water flow following a constriction in a water pipe is reduced.

The resistive property of this type of component can be attributed to a material which has much lower electrical conductivity than regular conductive materials such as metals.

Ohm's law can be used to calculate the resistance present in a DC circuit if voltage and current are known.

Contents

Resistance

Every resistor has a resistance calculated as:

R = \frac{V}{I}

where:

R is resistance (ohms, Ω),
V is voltage (volts, V),
I is current (amperes, A).

Conductance

Conductance is defined as the inverse of resistance, calculated as:

G = \frac{I}{V}

where:

G is conductance (siemens, S).

Voltage

Voltage is calculated as:

V = I \cdot R

Current

Current is calculated as:

I = \frac{V}{R}

Power

Power is calculated as:

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

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