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How I was taught to remember the resistor color code

Updated on April 21, 2011


Resistors are a very common electronic component. There are very small to quite larger depending on their current carrying ability. Resistors by nature create heat and too much heat will destroy a resistor.

Once a resistor has been overheated it is near impossible to read the color code. At that point the best you can hope for is the circuit board to have the value printed on it.

However, if you are lucky enough to be able to read the colors on the resistor the following will help to identify the value of the resistor.

The first ring is an actual number

The second ring is also an actual number

The third ring is the number of zeros

The fourth ring is the tolerance of the resistor.

Note: There are also five and six ring resistors.


It is now considered politically incorrect to teach this method but us “old school” students still remember it this way.

You simply remember two phrases:

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Black = 0

Brown = 1

Red = 2

Orange = 3

Yellow = 4

Green = 5

Blue =6

Violet = 7

Gray = 8

White = 9

Note: The numeric sequence of the colors go from dark to light

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Gold = 5%

Silver = 10%

None = 20%



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