Resistors and Applications of Resistors

Resistor and Applications of Resistors

In this article, Resistors and Applications of Resistors we will focus on the list below:

  • What is Resistor?
  • Mathematical Relations
  • Electronic Symbols
  • How to connect resistors in a circuit?
  • Application of resistors in a circuit


What is resistor?

Resistor is an electronic components that limit the flow of current in the circuit.

The electrical resistance of a resistor is measured in ohms.

The symbol for an ohm is the Greek capital-omega: Ω.

1000Ω = 1KΩ (1 killo Ω)

1000000Ω = 1MΩ (1 mega Ω)


Resistor Color Code


Mathematical Relations of a Resistor

Resistances in series                  R = R1 + R2 + Rn

Resistances in parallel               1/R = 1/R1 + 1/R2 + 1/R3 + 1/Rn

Voltage drop                            V = IR where I is current,

Power dissipation                     P = I^2R = V2/R



Electronic Symbol of  Resistors

There are two symbols for the resistor, a zigzag lines, and a rectangular box.

Either of these two symbol is accepted to represent Resistor.


Variable Resistor


Symbol for Rheostat


Symbol for a voltage dependent resistor (Varistor)


Symbol for negative temperature coefficient (NTC) resistor (thermistor)

Symbol for Heating Element resistor



Symbols for Light Dependent Resistor (LDR)



How resistors are connected in a circuit?

Resistors connected in series


Resistors connected in parallel


Applications of resistors in a circuit

Application of  Resistor as a Current Limiter:

Placement of correct value of a resistor in series with Transistors, LEDs and other semiconductor components in a circuit limit the amount of current to what they need to function without being damage.


Application of  Resistor as a Voltage Divider:

Resistors are connected together, one after the other, to form a series circuit, voltage ratios will be obtain across each of them.

If the resistors are same value, the voltage drop across each will be equal, otherwise it would be proportion to the resistance of each resistor.

Voltage dividers are useful for components that need to operate at a lesser voltage than that supplied.


Application of  Resistor as a Timer and Frequency generator:

A good timing source can be obtain by connecting resistor to a capacitor.

Such combination can be found in

  1. Light flashers
  2. Electronic sirens
  3. And many other circuits depend on this feature to generate pulse.


    Application of  Resistor  in Controlling Volume, Light intensity and Motor Speed:

    Variable Resistors allows setting of resistance by sliding a slider or turning a knob. And varying the resistance allow us to changes the amount of current flowing in a circuit.

    Variable resistor are used to control the loudness of an amplifier, the pitch of a musical tone, the speed of a motor and light intensity.


    Resistors can also be use as:

    • Shunts in ammeters and voltage meters
    • Damping agents in oscillators
    • Feedback networks in amplifiers
    • Pull-up for input output line
    • Pull-down for input output line


    Applications of Thermistors include:

    1. Measurement and control of temperatures
    2. Time delay
    3. Temperature compensation
    4. Liquid level indicators.

    Applications of Varistor include:

    1. Voltage surge
    2. Protective circuits
    3. Generation of non-sinusoidal waveform


    Connection of resistor in a circuit


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