How to Test a Resistor


The job of a resistor is to help control the amount of current in an electronic device, and its value is shown in colors. The numbered reading you get when using a multimeter can be converted to colors using a color code value chart.

Things You'll Need

  • Resistor
  • Multimeter
  • Make sure the power is off for the device, including battery power. Any high-powered capacitors should be turned off as well.

  • Adjust multimeter settings to test in "ohms."

  • Put the multimeter's probes on each end of the resistor. Because it has universal polarity, the multimeter does not have to be disconnected and then attached to the other ends of the resistor a second time. One reading should be enough to gauge.

  • Take the multimeter's reading. The bands on the device should be read from the end to the middle.

  • Compare to the color code value chart. All the colors on the resistor mean something. The first two indicate resistance, the third tells how many zeros are next in the number and the final color indicates the tolerance.

Tips & Warnings

  • The color code value chart is available in many places on the Internet. Multimeters can be purchased at big-box retailers. They come in both analog and digital.

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