Resistors with ends of the same colour

I know the values of resistors if they are gold-colored at the end. When both ends are the same, such as brown-o-p-brown and red-x-y-z-red, I am in problems. How to know which side has the last colour and which side is the starting end?

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Any reason not to empirically find the solution using test equipment such a multi-meter or DMM? –  mctylr Jan 24 '11 at 2:55

I asked a similar question a long time ago here but the resistor chart which was mentioned there appears to have moved. So from its' new home at itll.colorado.edu here's the diagram, as far as I can tell one band will be thicker signifying it as the tolerance band (no-one responded when I queried whether this was the case in the previous post above so if I'm wrong please let me know).

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I usually test the resistor with small current and voltage let say 5V and 5A, depending on the voltage of course. Then, I calculate the resistance. Cannot trust thickness at all as guessed so many times wrong. –  hhh Jun 5 '10 at 18:59
5 A is a small current? o_O –  endolith Jun 5 '10 at 22:19
When your entire goal is something exploding, i guess so. –  Kortuk Jun 6 '10 at 18:46
@endolith: well actually I start from the smallest unit of the equipment, usually 0.1V. If I cannot find the upper bound for the component, I gradually increase to some easy number such as 1V. Calculate V-I to get P. Chose 5V just because it is nice number but it can be a bit too high for testing, do not start with it, start small and then increase slowly to let component react. –  hhh Jun 7 '10 at 20:57
You better may use a multimeter 0X2A31 to measure the resistance straight away. If the equipment you're using is capable of going to 0.1V (which sounds a lot to me), your multimeter is going to have a far greater accuracy in measuring. Especially if you know that current measurements on multimeters can be way off, and that multimeters have a considerable resistance as well. –  Hans Jan 23 '11 at 22:05
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The starting point should be the band that is closest to one of the ends. The tolerance band is usually at the other end, on its own.

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If the start and end bands are ambiguous, you can usually work out which is probably the right way to read them by seeing which way round gives you a valid E24/E48/E96 etc. value.

..and there's always 'use a multimeter' to fall back on when you're still not sure.

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I am lazy with bad eye sight, I use my multimeter with some crocodile clips.

Then it goes in a baggie marked with the value.

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In my experience with 5-band 1/8 Watt blue colored (through hold) resistors, and any SMT resistors this is what I end up doing as a sanity check. –  mctylr Jan 24 '11 at 2:53