A resistor is an electrical resistant component that is placed within an electrical system in order to impede current flow, alter signal levels, divide voltages, terminate transmission lines, and more. Resistors are a versatile and important component as they can protect sensitive components from an overload of current, as well as provide for functionality by limiting current to an optimal amount for an application. There are many resistor types as well, and a few common examples include carbon composition, Wire Wound Resistor, and variable resistors.
The carbon composition resistor is a resistor type that is widely used, easy to produce, and cost-efficient. To construct the resistor, a carbon particle composition and tinned copper lead is enclosed within a plastic case. The Carbon Composition Resistor is most efficient when operating in a temperature range of -40 to 150 degrees Celsius. These resistors are also very useful for withstanding pulses of high energy and hold the capability of conducting current with their entire bodies. Presently, carbon composition resistors are most popular in applications such as circuit protection, strobe lighting, welding, and other high voltage equipment.
A wire wound resistor is one that features a core that is wrapped in metal wire. The core and wire are then covered with a paint layer, molded plastic, or enamel coating for protection against ambient temperature variation effects. With various wire lengths and diameters, the size and resistance of wire wound resistors can be adjusted. Wire wound resistors have great temperature capabilities and are able to withstand up to 450 degrees Celsius. With its coil assembly, the wire wound resistor’s behavior may be changed due to exposure to high frequencies. Wire wound resistor types are used in high power applications where large amounts of power needs to be dissipated.
Variable resistors are similar to fixed resistors such as the carbon composition and wire wound resistor in function, though they feature an adjustable electric resistance value. Variability in resistance is achieved by a contact that slides over a resistive element. Variable resistors come in many types as well, and these include potentiometers, resistance decade boxes, and other special devices. Variable resistors may be used to control voltages or electric currents, and their applications include Audio Control Panel, television, motion control, computation, home electrical appliances, and more.
In general, resistor types may be categorized by their ohmic resistance, multiplier, tolerance, temperature coefficient, and more as denoted by three to six colored stripes across the resistor. This resistor color code is placed upon the casing and allows for easy identification of capabilities. The resistor color code contains ring colors such as pink, silver, gold, black, etc. that each denote a specific multiplier and tolerance.
Oftentimes, an electrical system will implement numerous resistors for operation, and these resistors as a group are referred to as Resistor Networks. The total resistance of a resistor network connected in a series can be deduced by adding each individual resistance value together. If the resistor network is connected in parallels, then the total resistance can be found from the reciprocal of the sum of the reciprocals of each resistor.
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