Types of Electronic Resistors

A resistor is an electrical component that implements an electrical resistance inside a circuit element by using a passive two-terminal design. There are several different kinds of resistors on the market and most are made for use within an electronic circuit. Depending on the application, resistors from a certain manufacturer, in a certain size or material may be required. Because certain resistors can only handle the pre-determined values of ohms in specific scenarios, it’s important to choose the right resistor. And there are two categories of resistors, fixed and variable.

Fixed resistors are the most commonly used resistors to set the right conditions in electronic components. The values in these resistors are pre-set during the manufacturing stage and should never have to be adjusted to change the circuit. There are several different types of fixed resistors, ranging from carbon compositions or metal oxide films to thin films, etc. Carbon compositions are rarely used today because they are large and are likely to suffer irreversible changes in resistance over time. Today, the most commonly used fixed resistor is a thin film resistor, these are easily mass produced in the billions and are sufficient for most technology.

Variable resistors, also known as potentiometers, are used for their many different properties and range from carbon compositions to plastics. Because they have a slider and function as an adjustable voltage or potential divider, variable resistors are commonly used as volume or gain controls for stereos, sensors, and machines.

Resistors are important in the world of electronics because they control the flow of current, without them electronics would not perform at all. The selection of the right resistor for a specific application is also important; with the incorrect resistor, you could blow a circuit, resulting in a costly repair.


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