Does a Resistor Reduce Voltage?
Does a resistor reduce voltage?
A resistor is used to limit the flow of current in an electrical circuit, just like a valve restricts the flow of water. Resistors come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and power ratings to meet the needs of different circuit applications.
Voltage Drop across a Resistor in a Series Circuit
When you wire two resistors together in a series circuit, the voltage drops between them. This reduction in the voltage is proportional to the size of the resistor, which is governed by its resistance value.
The number of turns in a wire-wound resistor (and the thickness) also affects its resistance, while carbon-film resistors have a spiral of carbon. Both types are designed to be precise and stable, and a good quality wire-wound resistor will have a very low temperature coefficient of resistance, so that it doesn’t overheat in high power applications.
Voltage Rating & Wire Material
The most common type of resistors is wire-wound, where there’s an conductive wire wound around an insulating middle. There are other varieties such as those that are made of super-thin metallic foils and are suited to higher power applications. Some are also able to dissipate heat.
If you’re building your own electronics, it’s important to understand the power rating of the components you’re using so that you don’t exceed their maximum output. This can cause them to get very hot, which is a huge safety concern and can damage other circuit components.
Alternatively, you can choose to use a voltage regulator that can safely handle the maximum voltage of your circuit. This type of device can be found in a range of electronic devices such as voltage dividers and multimeters.
A voltage divider is a simple circuit that uses two resistors to create a difference in the voltage between them, where each resistor is in series with its own input and the other is in parallel with its own output. It can be used to adjust the level of bias of an amplifier or to measure voltages in a digital circuit.
A series circuit is easy to identify, just like a water pipe. In a series circuit, all the paths for current to take are in order. In a parallel circuit, the current flows through each wire in turn, crossing the resistors and ending up at the end of each wire. The total voltage is always the same.