It seems that in just about all the "Learning Institutions",

and just about all phases of the Military,

they use the most arcane methods of learning the Resistor Color-Code.



Unfortunately, when those little "sayings" are used (which may appeal to our baser senses),

they have got to be also the most ridiculous and inefficient way of learning what should be a very easy task.


Here is a method, that unfortunately can be presented better in the classroom that what can be accomplished here, but none-the-less, we will attempt to show the method that works best. I have used this method in the classroom for over 30 years, where the students are able in less than 20 minutes actual time, become so proficient that I cannot get the color bands in the air for them to identify quickly enough. We are talking about nearly instant response. Bear in mind that at the beginning of this exercise, I look around and tell them "put your pencils and notes away, because anyone I catch taking notes gets an instant 'F' ", and that "if they have any of those 'color-code-wheel-cards', they need to either throw them away or give them to their enemy". As you can imagine, that sends a "shock-wave" through the group. What I try to get across to them, is that what they really need to develop is an immediate "response" to the colors as given. Another important consideration is that I never show those colors in any sequential order, and you don't want to even try to learn them that way!

Whether you are trying to learn the resistor color-code, or if you are teaching someone else the resistor color code, I would suggest that you get hold of an inexpensive craft book of colored construction paper. There will be duplicate pages of each color needed.

If this is for self-learning, then cut out some squares about 1" square, of each of those colors necessary for illustrating the resistor color-code. Paste these onto a blank sheet of paper, in a totally random fashion, even tipping them at various different angles. The object is to totally avoid any "semblance of order". This sheet can be your "drill sheet". You will also need to place in 3 separate groups the 3rd band values described later in this lesson. These will, of necessity, need to be organized in a special fashion. That will become apparent when you progress further down the lesson.

Now, for an interesting concept: As an Instructor of many years, and many subjects, I have always found that I learn best when know I will have to present something to others. Obviously, I will have to put more thought and better organization into my material, than when I am going to try to learn it for myself. I have often told my students that if I keep teaching long enough, I might learn something. Anyhow, try this concept .... imagine that you are going to teach others this method of learning resistor color-code. To do this, simply proceed to the "Instructor's Section" found below.

Instructor's Section (for teaching others):

For teaching someone else, take two each of the necessary colored sheets for the next 2 exercises. Take one each of those two sheet pairs, and cut it into 3 strips of about equal size. The full sized sheets are used for the 1st exercise, and the strips are used for the 2nd exercise.

Exercise #1:

Lay out the full sized sheets in random order. Start out by holding up the yellow sheet, and tell folks that this sheet "may look yellow, but it let's consider it as a beautiful '4' ". Then say, "doesn't that look like a beautiful '4' to you?". Get some response to that '4', and start to lay it down, but then quickly pick it back up and ask what "number" it is.

Next do a violet colored sheet, but do not refer to it as such. Instead, refer to it as "isn't that a gorgeous '7'? ". Lay it down , and quickly pick up the '4' and ask about it, then exchange it with the '7'.

Now, pick up a black sheet, and comment on how since black is supposed to be the "absence of color", this must represent a "0".

Next pick up a brown sheet, and mention that it's pretty dark and muddy, but not like the black, it must be a "1", and then review the black ("0") and the brown ("1").

Review all those given so far.

Pick up the white sheet, and indicate that since this color is supposed to be composed of all the other colors, it must represent the highest number as "9".

Now pick up the gray sheet, and mention that it must be something like a "dirty 9", guess that it must represent an "8"!

Review all those given so far.

Pick up a orange sheet and ask them if that "doesn't look like a real pretty '3' ?". Review the black, orange and brown. Don't do them in order!

Pick up a red sheet and ask them if that "doesn't look like a real pretty '2' ?". Review the black, orange, red and brown. Don't do them in order!

Now, pick up the blue, and refer to it like "when you see a real nice sky of this color, think '6' ".

This time pick up a green sheet, and refer to it a real nice shade of '5' grass".

For some strange reason, a lot of folks confuse the "5" and the "6", so a good thing is remind them (while pointing up or down appropriately) as green grass ( but as a "5") and blue sky (but as a "6").

This first exercise (when practiced some) takes about 5 to 7 minutes!

Exercise #2:

Now, with the colored strips spread out in random order, instead of the full-sized sheets, pick them up 2 at a time, to indicate the first 2 colored bands on a resistor (like red & violet).

While holding them up for all to see, point out that we should not refer to them as "twenty seven" (27), but rather that we should get used to thinking of them as either 2.7, 27, or even 270. Emphasize that the only difference is where we find the decimal point for our particular situation.

Practice snapping up and holding in good view, various pair combinations until you find good quick and consistent response from the group. This should take only about 4 to 5 minutes.

Exercise #3:

Here is where we learn to distinguish what the 3rd band really means. Forget the so-called "multiplier" as such, where we think of "how many zeros" it represents. Separate out the red, orange, and yellow bands, for these first runs. Experience shows that we don't really care just how many zeros are involved. Rather, we are a lot more interested in "K's", "Meg's", and "10's & 100's" relationships.

Hold up these bands so that the group sees them in order (their left to right) as red, orange, and yellow. Indicate that all experienced technicians always reads the 3rd band first, and that these 3 represent "K's". Explain that they represent "single-K", "10's of K's", and then "100's of K's", and that we do this in same fashion as we speak to one another. An example: someone asks you how much you paid for your car? Your answer of 2 1/2, is probably understood to be $2,500, or your answer of 13 is probably construed to be $13,000. Of course if the discussion is about a very expensive car, then 110 probably really means $110,000. So you see how this is applied.

After practice with those "K" band values, arrange and hold up the green & blue as "Meg" values. Illustrate and practice these "Meg's" as the K's were.

Now, combine a few examples of the 2-band leaders, with the 3rd band. It is amazing just how quickly people pick up these relationships, when properly done.

Now take the black and brown strips, and illustrate with the black that there must not be any modification of those 1st two bands, where 2 & 7 now become simply "27" (i.e. "10's").

In that same fashion, take the brown, and show that it represents "100's", as 27 becomes 270.

This set of exercises as given (with some practice) will take a group of folks up to "almost instant recognition" in less than 20 minutes. My typical time frame (with some ad-libbing to keep from overwhelming them) has averaged 18 minutes, over the last 30 plus years.

Ok, now try out what has been said. On the first pass through the series of colors, catch the numerical relationship of each color, but don't dwell on them. Make some random selection and try to figure out what value they represent, before actually clicking on them. Then click on that selection and see if you are right. You will find that in just a little while, that you will be amazed.

"Flash" the Resistor Color-Codes