March 1955 Popular Electronics
of Contents]People old and young enjoy waxing nostalgic about and learning some of the history of early electronics.
Popular Electronics was published from October 1954 through April 1985. All copyrights (if any) are hereby acknowledged.
time marches on and electronics components get smaller and smaller,
there is no just no room to apply color code markings for values, but
in a lot of instances there is not even room to apply a laser alphanumerical
marking (at least not one large enough to be seen with an unaided eye).
This goes for common passive components like capacitors, inductors,
and resistors as well as for integrated circuits, RF couplers and power
dividers, diodes, and transformers. Open you cell phone and try to find
a useful component designation. Only the largest parts will have anything
you can look up on the Internet. There are ways to hunt down identification
for some of the parts, but at least for Rs, Ls, and Cs, the only way
to discover a value without the assistance of a schematic is to measure
it. If you look at older electronics equipment, you will immediately
notice color stripes and/or dots on many components. The table below
will help you decipher the meanings for component value, tolerance,
temperature coefficients, etc. ,as applicable.
See all articles
Capacitor Color Code Chart
Capacitance is given in µµfd. Colors have the same values
as on resistors, except as indicated in tables. Colors (A) and (B) are
for first two digits; (e) is for multiplier. (D) is for tolerance, (E)
and (F) give voltage rating in hundreds of volts; (E) is used only for
ratings less than 1000 volts. (E) and (F) for first two digits of ratings
1000 volts or more. Values of colors for (E) and (F) are same as in
resistance values. (G) is class or characteristic of capacitor. (H),
(I), and (J) give temperature coefficient. (G), (H), (I), and (J) are
not listed in the tables, since this information is seldom needed by
the average home builder.
Capacitor Color Code Chart
Resistor Color Code Chart
The ohmic value
of a resistor can be determined by means of the color code. There are
two standard methods of indicating this value. In Fig. A. the body (A)
and end (B) indicate the first and second digits of the value while
the dot (C) indicates the multiplier to be used. The tolerance of the
unit is indicated by the end color (D). For example. if the body (A)
is green the number is 5; if the end (B) is grey the second number is
8. If the dot (C) is red the multiplier is 100 or two zeros should be
added. The resistor is then a 5800 ohm unit. If the end (D) has no color.
the tolerance is ±20%. In Fig. B. the first two stripes indicate the
first two digits; the third stripe the multiplier: the fourth stripe
the tolerance. Thus, if stripe (A) is green, (B) is grey, (e) is red,
and (D) is silver. the resistor is a 5800 ohm, ± 10% unit.
Color Code Chart