While electricity is paramount to many of our operations and critical systems, it can also be a volatile force that can easily damage sensitive components if left unregulated. Electrical resistors are passive electrical components that provide resistance to the flow of electrons, and they may be found in a plethora of systems to provide protection from current. Within electronic circuits, resistors may be implemented to reduce the flow of current, divide voltages, adjust signal levels, terminate transmission lines, and more. Depending on the system and its needs, a variety of resistor types may be installed to cater towards specific voltage ranges, heat, and more.
1. Carbon Composite Resistors
Carbon composite resistors are a common type, providing protection for low to medium power applications. Such resistors feature low inductance properties, enabling them to be very beneficial to high frequency applications. Their downside, however, is that they can suffer from noise and stability when they become hot. Nevertheless, carbon composition resistors are often used in electrical circuits due to their cost efficiency in manufacturing. For electronic systems and equipment, carbon composite resistors are most efficient when operated within a temperature range of -40 to 150 degrees Celsius. As carbon composite resistor types have large tolerances, applications that require precision and high value resistances would benefit more from film type resistors.
2. Film Resistors
Film resistors include those such as carbon film, metal film, and metal oxide film resistor types, and they are often manufactured with the depositing of pure metals on an insulating substrate or ceramic rod. To control the resistive properties of film resistors, the thickness of deposited film can be adjusted. Depending on the thickness of the resistor film, a resistor may be known as either a “thick-film” or “thin-film” resistor. Thin film resistors are most often used in high precision applications, examples being measuring and monitoring equipment, precision controls, and medical or audio applications. Thick film resistors have a much wider scope of use, able to be used in almost any electrical apparatus with either a battery or alternating current connection. Thick film resistors serve as some of the lowest cost resistors on the market, while thin film resistors are more expensive.
3. Wire Wound Resistors
Wire wound resistors are electrical resistors that are composed of a core that is wrapped in metal wire. This core and wire is then coated with a layer of paint, enamel coating, or molded plastic to protect the component against ambient temperature variation effects. Wirewound resistors are capable of operating at extremely high temperatures, functioning up to 450 degrees Celsius. Depending on the need, wirewound resistors may be constructed with varying wire lengths and diameters to change the resistance of the component. As the wirewound resistor features a coil assembly, its behavior may change when it is exposed to high frequencies. In general, wirewound resistor types are implemented within high power applications where there is a need for the dissipation of large amounts of power.
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