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In electronic engineering, everything is a resistor. You can measure the value of a resistor in ohms. The ohm was originally a unit known as the mho, but this was internationalised, and capitalised. It is now known as IMHO, and resistance has switched to the mho. The reciprocal of the mho is: Siemens und Halske Trams.

Despite the switching terms, resistance is simpler than capacitance, which is measured in jars.

edit Colourful bands

Rainbow-fly copy

The signature flag flown by the "Rainbow Coalition" of Jesse Jackson (who is also a resistor) is coloured bands that code the phone number of a KFC on the South Side of Chicago.

For a long time, a resistor was a stripey, quite pretty, electronic component. The value of a resistor is coded in coloured bands. Sometimes, the band means a number. Sometimes, it means the number of digits, which is also a number.

The colourful bands were a counterpoint to the boring other electronic components with their tiny wiring and cryptic numerical codes. The bands made it pleasant to look inside your hi-fi amplifier, which you couldn't do anyway, not without voiding the warranty.

The colour code is as follows:

Gap Value is incorrect, and you blew it up
Black Zero (or a short circuit). See Brown
Brown One (or too hot)
Red Two (or red-hot)
Orange Three (or very hot)
Yellow Four (or almost vapour)
Silver Someone may have removed the resistor and thought it would work the same to put a coin in its place.

Around the turn of the century, resistors decided that, "If you can't beat them, join them." Like capacitors and ICs, they got smaller, uncolourful, full of cryptic numerical codes, and uninteresting to look at. This was billed as a safety feature, to remove the temptation to disassemble your stereo and electrocute yourself.

edit Electrical function

As the name implies, the job of a resistor is to resist the flow of electricity. This means that it is often the fault of a resistor when any of the following is true:

  • A sound system isn't loud enough
  • A transmitter won't reach into the next county
  • Your computer reports that you have insufficient permissions to do what you want
  • Your favorite song doesn't play on Pandora as often as you want.

Removing the resistor is very often the solution to these problems without the bother and expense of a service call.

Which resistor to remove is outside the scope of this article. To avoid disappointment, you might try removing them all. If performance is unsatisfactory, you can use either solder or Blu-Tac to reinsert a few of them and see if the results improve.

edit Other resistors

The initial statement that, in electrical engineering, everything is a resistor, includes all the engineers. They are frequently resistors, and become loud resistors when the Suits come to the conference room and insist that:

  • The product ship in two weeks, when everyone knows that is impossible
  • All the bugs be fixed, even the minor, non-critical ones
  • The product actually comply with the specification.

On occasion the resistors will demand that the Suits prioritise the above three desires and even specify which of the three might be neglected in their entirety. When the Suits are unwilling to do so, the resistors may hum, vibrate, and even smoulder.

edit See also

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