How to Use a Resistor for 12 Volt to 5 Volt

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Electrical energy follows several physical laws. One of these laws, Kirchhoff’s Voltage Law, explains that the sum of the voltage drops around a closed circuit loop must equal zero. In a circuit with multiple electrical resistors, the voltage will drop at each resistor electrical joint. This can be useful if you need to obtain five volts from a 12-volt power source.

Things You'll Need

  • 12-volt DC power supply
  • 1.4-kiloohm resistor
  • 1-kiloohm resistor
  • Electrical wire
  • Electrical pliers
  • Voltmeter
  • Cut two pieces of electrical wire. Strip ½ an inch of insulation from the ends of each wire. Verify that the power supply is turned off.

  • Twist together one end of the first wire with one of the leads from the 1.4-kiloohm resistor. Connect the loose end of this wire to the positive terminal on the power supply.

  • Twist together the free lead from the 1.4-kiloohm resistor with one of the leads from the 1-kiloohm resistor.

  • Twist together the free lead from the 1-kiloohm resistor with one end of the second wire. Connect the loose end of this wire to the negative terminal on the power supply. Turn the power supply on

  • Turn on the voltmeter and set the scale to measure "Volts DC." Place the black voltmeter probe on the electrical joint between the second wire and the 1-kiloohm resistor. Place the red voltmeter probe on the electrical joint between the two resistors. The voltage across the resistor will be approximately 5 volts.

References

  • Photo Credit Comstock/Comstock/Getty Images
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