I've just bought a bag of random resistors from Maplin, and can't work out which way round the six band ones should be read.

For instance I have one which is either:

Violet Orange Red Brown Brown Red


Red Brown Brown Red Orange Violet

The red band at either the right or left appears thicker than the others.

Can anybody point me to somewhere with a clear explanation (or provide one themselves) as searching on Google isn't finding me anything lucid.


2 Answers 2


The folks at itll.colorado.edu have a resistor chart that includes how to read 6 Band Resistors. You should start with the thick band. You can always test with a Multimeter too!

Resistor Chart


The Gold or Silver band is always set to the right, then you read from left to right. Sometimes there will be no tolerance band -- Simply find the side that has a band closest to a lead and make that the first band." [1]. Also, usually you'll see one band off by itself, that is the tolerance band.

  • 3
    \$\begingroup\$ Unfortunately if you look at the colours I listed above there are no Gold or Silver bands. Would red being the thickest band (most of the others are the same-ish size) signify it as the temperature band? \$\endgroup\$
    – Amos
    Nov 2, 2009 at 9:25

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