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How to Measure Resistor: Various Methods for Resistor Measurement

Table of Contents

The thorough understanding of how to measure resistors is indispensable for engineers, hobbyists, and students involved in electronics.

This step-by-step guide details the various methods and techniques for measuring resistors using a multimeter, along with insights into voltage, current, and resistance measurements.

Understanding Resistor Measurements

Resistors, the fundamental components in electronic circuits, are measured to ascertain their resistance value and ensure proper functionality within the circuit. Measurements such as resistance, voltage, and current across resistors are essential for circuit design, troubleshooting, and quality assurance.

Part 1: Measuring Resistance with a Multimeter

Step 1: Gather Necessary Equipment

  • Multimeter: A versatile instrument capable of measuring voltage, current, and resistance.
  • Resistor to be measured.

Step 2: Select the Resistance Measurement Setting

Turn the multimeter dial to the resistance measurement setting (Ω).

Step 3: Connect the Resistor to the Multimeter

If the resistor is not soldered onto a circuit board, connect the multimeter probes to each end of the resistor leads.

Step 4: Read the Resistance Value

The multimeter displays the measured resistance value in ohms (Ω).

Part 2: Measuring Voltage and Current across a Resistor

Step 1: Setting Up the Multimeter

  • Turn the dial to the voltage measurement setting (V) to measure voltage across a resistor.
  • For current measurement, set the multimeter to the current measurement setting (A).

Step 2: Connecting the Multimeter

  • Connect the multimeter probes in parallel with the resistor to measure voltage.
  • To measure current, the multimeter is connected in series with the resistor.

Step 3: Reading the Measurement

The multimeter displays the measured voltage or current values across the resistor.

Part 3: Advanced Measurements and Techniques

Measuring SMD Resistors

Utilize the fine-tipped probes or specialized tweezers of the multimeter to measure Surface Mount Device (SMD) resistors.

Using a Shunt Resistor for Current Measurements

Integrate a shunt resistor into the circuit to accurately measure high currents, with the multimeter calculating the current flow based on the voltage drop across the shunt resistor.

Measuring Variable Resistors

Adjust the variable resistor to various settings, and measure its resistance across different positions using the multimeter.

Evaluating Resistor Tolerance

Measure multiple resistors of the same value to assess the tolerance range and ensure compliance with circuit design requirements.

Resistor Measurement Considerations and Troubleshooting

Factors Influencing Resistor Measurements

Environmental factors, such as temperature, can affect resistance measurements and should be accounted for in critical applications.

Troubleshooting Measured Values

Deviations in measured resistance values may indicate component degradation or circuit issues, necessitating further investigation.

How to Measure Voltage Across a Resistor

Measuring the voltage across a resistor is a fundamental task in electronics testing and troubleshooting. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to measure the voltage across a resistor using a multimeter:

Step-by-Step Guide to Measure Voltage Across a Resistor:

Equipment Needed:

Multimeter: Ensure you have a multimeter that can measure voltage (V).

Resistor: The resistor across which you want to measure the voltage.

Set Up Your Multimeter:

Turn the dial on your multimeter to the voltage measurement setting (V). Select an appropriate voltage range that is higher than the expected voltage across the resistor. For example, if you expect a voltage of around 5V, select a 20V DC range.

Power Off the Circuit:

Before measuring voltage, make sure the circuit is powered off to prevent any accidents or damage to the multimeter.

Connect the Multimeter:

Connect the black probe of the multimeter to the COM (common) port and the red probe to the VΩmA (voltage) port.

Ensure the red probe is connected to the positive terminal of the resistor, and the black probe to the negative terminal or ground reference.

Measure the Voltage:

Place the multimeter probes in parallel with the resistor, one probe on each terminal of the resistor.

Ensure proper contact and polarity matching to obtain an accurate voltage reading.

Read the Voltage Value:

Once the multimeter probes are securely connected, turn on the circuit and observe the multimeter display.

The multimeter will show the voltage across the resistor in volts (V).

Recording and Interpretation:

Take note of the voltage reading displayed on the multimeter for analysis or troubleshooting purposes.

Ensure that the measured voltage aligns with the expected values based on circuit design or operational considerations.

Power Off and Disconnect:

Once you have obtained the necessary voltage measurement, power off the circuit and safely disconnect the multimeter probes.


The accurate measurement of resistors is critical for ensuring the functionality and reliability of electronic circuits. Mastering the use of a multimeter for resistance, voltage, and current measurements across resistors enables engineers and enthusiasts to confidently analyze and optimize electronic systems.

This comprehensive guide equips individuals with the knowledge and practical skills necessary to measure resistors effectively and troubleshoot potential discrepancies, anchoring their proficiency in the realm of electronic measurement techniques.

For more insights and detailed explanations on resistor measurements and related topics, consider delving into reputable electronics resources and practical experimentation. Remember, practice and hands-on experience are key to mastering the art of resistor measurements.

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