Thursday, January 15, 2009

A resistor is a two-terminal electronic component designed to oppose an electric current by producing a voltage drop between its terminals in proportion to the current, that is, in accordance with Ohm's law: V = IR. The resistance R is equal to the voltage drop V across the resistor divided by the current I through the resistor. This device restricts the flow of electric current, for example a resistor is placed in series with a light-emitting diode (LED) to limit the current passing through the LED.

The primary characteristics of resistors are their resistance and the power they can dissipate. Other characteristics include temperature coefficient, noise, and inductance. Practical resistors can be made of resistive wire, and various compounds and films, and they can be integrated into hybrid and printed circuits. Size, and position of leads are relevant to equipment designers; resistors must be physically large enough not to overheat when dissipating their power.