How to Find the Color Code of a 1k Ohm Resistor

Instructor: Gerald Lemay

Gerald has taught engineering, math and science and has a doctorate in electrical engineering.

In this lesson we show how to find the resistor color code for a 1k ohm resistor. Three bands of color will be determined. We also discuss the tolerance band and precision resistors.

The Coding of a 1k Ω Resistor

Count out loud from 0 up to 9. How many unique digits did you say? Right, there are 10 digits. If we agree on a unique color for each of the 10 digits, we can encode numbers of any size using sequences of colors, which brings us to the resistor color code. A resistor reduces (or resists) the flow of current. The value of the resistance is expressed as a number of ohms (the symbol Ω is used for ''ohm''). The number of ohms is coded with a color and appears as a band on the device itself. Three color bands are used to represent the value because we only encode the first significant figure, the second significant figure and the number of zeros. In this lesson, we work this out for a 1k Ω resistor where ''k'' is the abbreviation for the prefix ''kilo'', meaning 1000. So, a 1k Ω resistor has a value of 1000 ohms and the number we will code is 1000.

There are three steps for coding a 1kΩ resistor.

Step 1: Identify the first and second significant figures.

For the number 1000, the first significant figure is ''1'' and ''0'' is the second significant figure.

Step 2: Count the number of zeros after the first two significant figures.

After the 1 and the 0, there are ''2'' zeros.

Step 3: Code the numbers with colors.

We have three numbers to code: 1, 0 and 2.

Here are the 10 digits and their associated colors.

The resistor color code

An acronym to remember this code is Better Be Ready Or Your Great Big Venture Goes West. Alphabetically, the word black comes before brown. Thus, the first B is black and codes a 0. The second B is brown and codes a 1. The colors on the ends are more neutral: G is grey for 8 and W is white for 9. The G in the middle is green for 5 followed by B for blue which codes a 6.

Each of these colors appears as a band on a cylindrically-shaped resistor.

The third band is often referred to as the multiplier band. This color band is the number of zeroes to place after the first two digits. It's called the multiplier band because adding zeros is like multiplying by a power of 10. For example, to get 2 zeros after the first two digits, we can multiply by 100 which is 10 to the power of 2.

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