Mark Frauenfelder at 4:05 pm Fri, Jul 6, 2012
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I'm not very bright, so I can't think of a reason for a 0 ohm resistor. What are they for?
Mark Frauenfelder is the founder of Boing Boing and the editor-in-chief of MAKE and Cool Tools. Twitter: @frauenfelder.
Come and hear Mark speak at the ALA conference in Chicago on July 1.
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The technology that links taxonomy and Star Trek
Resistance is futile.
thanks for that
Very good. I bow in ohmage to you.
Jeez. These puns are reVOLTing.
What can I say?, it’s the current trend…
I’m galvanized into action; we have to take a stand against it.
Power to the people!
Too many puns! Wire y’all doing this?
My opinion? I’m polarised by this battery of puns – I can see both the positive and negative of this charged issue.
Don’t stop! I’m AMPed for more!
There’s something circuitous about this logic.
Oh god… don’t divide it by zero. STAY AWAY FROM OHM’S LAW!!!
Nope, Resistance is Voltage divided by current my friend.
I believe they are used in electric left handed bacon stretchers.
You beat me to it.
Testing purposes, perhaps?
They make good programming jumpers. I tend to stick them into prototype boards to isolate sub-circuits for troubleshooting (ever tried to find the short on a power plane?).
placeholders for a fixed wiring diagram/breadboard? e.g. you replace an adjacent component with one with higher X more ohms, you can just replace the X-ohm resistor with a 0-ohm resistor? can’t think of situations where this would be easier than a wire, but maybe it’s a mnemonic device? like, “hey, you might have to change this piece later.”
Imagine you had a pick and place machine installing resistors in a circuit board. This board can be configured in a couple of different ways, and
Yes and if you need a link between two tracks, the machine can place a resistor there easier than a length of bare wire.
Don’t you it when your comment’s cut off? I always feel like
What do you meaALL GLORY TO THE HYPNOTOAD
Can’t tell if Candlejack thread or hypnoto
Dude, this isn’t 4chan. You can’t just
How to triforce?
How is 0-ohm resistor formed?
Like poeslacker began to say (his comment is truncated for me) they are often used to connect different parts of a circuit board. Since they are the same size and shape as other resistors, automated “pick and place” machines can place them like any other resistor.
That’s how I remember it (though these were tiny little surface-mount resistors).
to be used as a link between points on a pcb
poeslacker, you’re right on the money. The board I’m currently writing firmware for (and several others before it) use them in just such a fashion. Though I admit, they make way more sense as SMC than as through-hole. If you’ve got holes and wires already, why not just use a piece of wire?
The pick and place machine has a picker that is designed to pick up a resistor. As wires don’t have the same geometry it’s easier to change the wire into a resistor than provide the machine with two pickers.
A production line with need either a machine with a second pick arm, interchangeable pickers or a second machine.
Wires with little lumps on to make a zero ohm resistor then make commercial sense!
TDK once manufactured a thru hole Axial inserter (the Avisert) that could handle both components and wires only. So did Universal.
I use them extensively in my rare-earth magnet powered perpetual motion machines. Alas you need the ones with no oxide-type diode effect.
If you replaced them with a -1 ohm resistor, you’d get above unity on your device.
You two better snatch ‘em up quick before anyone else catches on!
(sorry, couldn’t help myself)
In automated board stuffing a machine can handle a resistor better than it can wire links. In surface mount 0 ohms is often used for connecting optional circuitry.
Do pick-and-place systems work with through-hole components, though?
I know they used to, but as someone else mentioned, it could just as easily place a length of (bare) wire.
Yes. Altho the technology is BIG and old, they still make them. Universal and TDK both have these types of machines in the field.
They can be used as jumpers; but mechanically identical to the other resistors being installed on the board, for greater efficiency. Also available in SMT form.
I’m a little more surprised to see them packaged in what looks like such a small quantity, since the ‘mechanically identical’ thing matters more with a pick and place than it does with manual work(where dropping in a piece of wire is not a big deal); but I suppose that almost anything that comes in reels of a zillion has somebody who will cut 50 off the reel for you.
perpetual motion and zero point energy
Everything sounds better in French: zéro de résistance
Perhaps we should ask Joe, because “Joe Knows”™
I forgot my mantra!
Ohm mani padme ohm
I have heard people use them to make their boards look more presentable. Probably for demonstration purposes to people who don’t know what they are.
Ask yourself what looks better, a component that for all intents and purposes is a piece of wire or a piece of wire? Once you get the greenlight from a suit who doesn’t know any better just slap some wire in there. The end consumer is likely never going to see it anyhow :P
Because common wire might offer some infinitesimal resistance you don’t know about
Yeah, this was aching for a room temperature superconductor comment.
Cool! Somebody got there before I did!
I just assumed they were there to make your Ohm’s Law calculations more interesting.
To infinity and beyond!
Connections in areas of a circuit/chip that are similar to the physical characteristics (spacing size) of the resistor.
A circuit design will often find component values changed for various reasons, either during bringup (oops, that should have been connected straight across), or to build a different version (think of a circuit board that is sold as two models with two different op amp gains), as part of a test process (test the board in one mode, then clip or install the resistor to ship), or during its lifetime (such as compensating for another component that drifts in value). Sometimes that value will change to zero. Because the zero-ohm resistor is still, physically, a resistor, it fits in the same holes (or if it’s a surface-mount zero-ohm resistor, on the same pads), will still be compatible if the board is being assembled by an automatic machine, and it doesn’t risk shorting out any traces beneath.
How is it that an almost entirely exposed length of conducting material “doesn’t risk shorting out any traces beneath”
I clicked on comments to write something, but I was beat to it by multiple commenters.
However, I didn’t know they were used for the purpose described by peterkvt80.
Pretty cool – and Mr. F – I bet you not only knew the function of these b4 posting about 0-ohm resistors, I bet you’ve used them before ;)
They act as jumpers, and can be used to configure a PCB in a variety of ways. For example, if daughterboard A is attached, then populate the jumper position with a 0 ohm resistor. If daughterboard B is used, don’t install the resistor. These resistors can be run through a lead bending machine just like a regular resistor, rather than requiring a special tool to handle just bare jumper wires. A better way to do this would be to have two square surface mount pads about 10 microns apart, and you just create a solder bridge across them.
As others have said they’re jumpers – you put them in the power circuit on a proto so you can drop an ammeter in there to measure power draw, and so you can bring up sub circuits one by one, you put them in as stuffing options to program modes on chips (like boot modes on CPUs). On single layer boards you use them for routing
Jumpers! I’ve used them before as a physical device for making two PCBs stand off each other at a consistent length.
That’s easy. You use them as voltage limiters for your Signetics write-only memory: http://www2.vmi.edu/Faculty/squirejc/Research/IC_Datasheets/digital_cmos/Write%20Only%20Memory.pdf
Rah VA Mil!
Well they’re for infinite power of course. Just supply a voltage and there y’go.
You have to be very careful with those – infinite power corrupts infinitely.
Now you have me wondering if power be the only noun which, adjectived, corrupts corresponding-adverb-ially?
Did you mean adjective noun verbs adjectively?
Simple example exemplifies simply?
No, wait, corrupt is invariant, not based on the noun…
Magnetic memory corrupts magnetically?
Not a great one, but maybe it will get something started.
I was content with the malindromic fixed points of power and corruption, since it seemed to convey something useful. But now you mention it, fastforwarding to magnetic magnet magnetises magnetically is rather trippy.
Sure, but try finding the ones rated for infinite wattage. Thanks for nothing, Digi-key!
They are used often in single-sided board layout if you run into an impossible corner to route without jumpers. A few 0 ohm jumpers is less expensive than a 2nd side of copper to solve the routing issue. Old stereo amps have lots of these.
They are used less for that purpose in SMT designs, as newer designs are usually double-sided or have internal copper layers for solving routing issues. Since they are used less in SMT, the SMT versions are quite expensive compared to normal resistors. If you need a SMT jumper, and you can electrically use a small resistance (1R or 10R) instead of 0R, it is preferable.
You just got pranked, the bag clearly states they are from “joek now selectronics”.
At their website the prankster fills out a personality profile of the intended target, which the site uses to generate the most hilarious prank (in this case, getting someone to wonder to as wide an audience as possible what use a 0 ohm resistor has).
From Wikipedia: A zero-ohm link or zero-ohm resistor is a wire link used to connect traces on a printed circuit board that is packaged in the same format as a resistor. This format allows it to be placed on the circuit board using the same automated equipment used to place other resistors instead of requiring a separate machine to install a jumper or other wire. Zero-ohm resistors may be packaged like cylindrical resistors, or like surface-mount resistors.
Make sure you get the +/- 1% tolerance resistors; the 10% tolerance resistors are much worse ;-)
I don’t even see a tolerance band…
I wouldn’t put it past audiophiles trying to use them in place of speaker wire or other interconnects.
Gold-plated, of course.
Oh, man, you can’t use standard 0 Ohm resistors. You need the special ones that are $25 apiece. The difference in the expansiveness of the sound is amazing.
Yeah I got a USB microphone, and I paid extra to make sure it came with a gold plated USB cable. :) Otherwise the sound would be attenuated.
I did have someone at Radio Shack attempt to sell me an HDMI cable with gold-plated connectors once, as being far superior to a boring old normal HDMI cable.
In addition to the other comments, we also use them where there’s a possibility we might want to open the circuit in the future – snipping out one of these is cleaner than cutting a trace. And it’s cheaper than a jumper.
Useful for “multi-purpose” design boards. e.g. you get a batch of 50 pcbs for photodiode amplifiers made for you, and depending on whether you want your particular photodiode input ac coupled or dc coupled, you can either put a capacitor or a 0 ohm resistor in! Neat!
Am I the only one bothered by “zero” Ohms?
I want a zero Ohm resistor! We can build no-loss power grids by chaining them together. The future is now.
(I bet they are 0.49 Ohm resistors.)
Unlikely. 1/2 ohm is still a fair amount of resistance depending on the circuit design. I’d imagine they are nothing more than straight wire with the ceramic baked on. But for the typical uses a 1/2 ohm resistor probably would be acceptable.
Has been known. Some of the boards I’ve worked on have used a Zero Ohm resister of a specific wattage to act as a fuse.
Yes, was just scanning the comments because invariably someone would have given the right answer already, or a right answer anyway. A 0 ohm resistor would burn out/of quicker than a wire jumper and is easier to make for a certain wattage. Si it could be used as a first line fuse-able part to protect a circuit.
What’s really cool is that the 0 Ohm “resistors” are rated 5%, 1/4 watt!
They’re going to need a whole lot more of them now – there are two in every Boson.
of course they are NOT zero ohm transistors…. perhaps zero point something… but ZERO would mean NO resistance whatsoever… in other words a superconductor and even better. just rounded to zero i would say..
Personally, I find them irresistible.
Used to test “Placebo Effect”.
bunch of these and some smoothing caps and you can really make your blinky LED circuit look fancy.
” I’m not very bright…” Wow. Please don’t ever say anything like that about yourself.
They’re a novelty gift for electronic engineers.
I’ve only seen these in the wild once. There were used as a jumper on a timer relay. Clipping them changed the behavior of the timer. I cannot tell you why header pins and a jumper or better yet a switch was not used. Maybe the guy laying out the board thought 0 ohm resistors were cool.
Obviously these use quantum effects or are super conductor based etc. as everybody knows that copper wire even this short can’t be zero ohms and always has some resitance! :)
Don’t you get a 0 F capacitor when you leave the 0 ohm resistor out?
Jumpers and circuit isolation. They also work for baselines, if such is your desire. My brother uses them all the time for jumping without breaking the circuit, but he is pretty sneaky about what he does, most of it either not legal or circumventing the designer’s intended purpose.
It’s a zen thing. Chant “ohm” for a while and you’ll understand.
Looks like more stealth inflation. Some day you won’t see jumper wires in stores – just really well-conducting resistors.
I’ve designed hundreds of boards and have included 0-ohm resisters for many reasons. They are mainly used as “jumpers” where, for instance you may want to test each part of a circuit separately, or possibly use these to set feature options in the factory (though mostly this is now done in software). Rarely do they show up in production assemblies anymore, since they cost a few cents each to insert, and that can add up to several boat payments if you’re selling a lot of widgets.
it’s so it looks complicated when you present your project to the management team with the liberal arts degrees.
I think they’re the electronic equivalent of lingerie. Often employed to create only a hint of impedance but actually offering exceedingly minimal resistance.
They be programming jumpers. Clipping them changes the routing.
o ohms are good for bread boards using surface mount components, but for a proto-board using through-hole components??? seems like a wire would suffice until you value to precisely tune your circuit (and you could even measure the impedance of the wire if you wanted to be really anal about it)
I think it’s an ironic promo piece for the next Wes Anderson flick.
Because oxi-morons sometimes need to fix electronics?
you can also use them as bi-directional diodes…
…which is a joke except there actually is such a thing for AC circuits known as DIAC/TRIAC.
I don’t really see what the great mystery is. I use them all the time to allow different circuit configurations, by simply adding, removing, or changing the value of surface mount 0 Ohm resistors. Works great.
They are also a good substitute for Infinite Farad capacitors or zero Henry inductors.
You should try magnetic monopoles instead of rare-earth magnets in your perpetual motion machine. I used them in my Time Cube (google it) and got great results.
The most common use of zero-ohm resistors I have encountered is as a substitute for a ferrite.
A ferrite is a bit of wire that runs through a ferrous block of material. One much larger example is that little lump on the power cord of your monitor (not all have one).
Its purpose is to supress RF emissions from coupling to a potential antenna, such as a long bit of cable close by or whatnot.
This sort of thing is needed to ensure that the device it is in passes FCC / EU / etc regulations for radiated emissions.
The board is initially designed with maximum suppression components - suppression ferrites, coils, and decoupling capacitors. At some point, they start removing suppression components. The caps, they just remove. The coils and ferrites, however, are in-line and have to be replaced with something. Say hello to zero-ohm resistors.
Why don’t they just redesign the board without those components? Because spinning a new board ain’t cheap. Because the enclosure’s configuration might change, causing a need for those components. Because … testing is never absolute. Tons of reasons. Bottom line is that a bunch of SMC components are prett cheap. Redesigns are not.
Bad beer rots our young guts but vodka goes well – get some now
It’s already been mentioned that you can use these as shorts which are friendly with pick-and-place machines. An extension of this is that some through-hole parts are used to connect separate parts of the board, even if the rest of the components are surface mount: you don’t want to waste money on superfluous PCB layers, so if you just need a single trace on “layer 3″ to make the routing work, you find some length of trace that can be absorbed into/replaced by a through-hole part.
It’s also been mentioned that 0 Ohm resistances are used all the time a configuration jumpers. Mostly this means digital configurations, where a path is either open or closed, but it can also mean down- or upgrading analog components. For example, a five-stage filter could be converted into a three-stage filter with the same PCB layout, and different population options. Just use NP (non-pop) and 0 Ohm components to replace the components that are no longer mathematically necessary.
On completely surface mount board, you still might want 0 Ohm chip resistors for similar reasons (opening or closing optional paths). This is also sometimes done by using a chevron pattern that you can easily lay a blob of solder across to create a short. The chip resistor is generally easier and more reliable, however, because it is easier to solder down the two pads of a chip resistor by hand than try to bridge a gap with solder directly, and using a chip reduces the chance of a cold solder joint that would increase the resistance. Not to mention that if the solder blob is supposed to be closed by default, it’s easier for a machine to accomplish by laying down a chip.
Why is there no tolerance band on these resistors? I’d want to know if they were 1,2 or 5% ..
You could make jewelry out of them…
Back in the days when I built my own amps and things, I used them for aesthetic reasons. A bunch of resistors all lined up parallel to each other looks way neater than resistors mixed with wire jumpers. (I usually made single layer PCBs, so there’d usually be a couple of jumpers.)
Of course I only used them because I had a big bag full of them from a local electronics junk yard.
Safety resistors? Although they are normally a slightly higher token value.
Why? For all the completionists of course!
Simple. You take a 1 Ohm resistor, put a 0 Ohm resister behind it and you get a 10 Ohm resistor.
Or does it work in binary? It’s been a while.
Wow. Now I know what a zero ohm resistor is for, 100 times over.
Simple jumpers used to bridge over other traces on a printed circuit board. They are in effect wires but wires that can be stuffed by the automatic pick-and-place machines.
Zero ohms proves that resistance is futile.
Crisis. People can’t afford their ohms anymore.
Of course, they’re not really zero ohms. Should probably be called “approaching zero ohms.”
They’re jumpers that are compatible with pick-and-place machines. You can get them in surface mount as well.
I got nothin.
One does not simply use a 0 ohm resistor
These came out at at a certain time in a big way. I think that there is this fearsome moment when design hands a PCB to the suits. They can only look at it and criticize its aesthetics. At the same time the suits ended a practice of putting in lands and foils for ‘ghost’ components that would make the board much more longer-lived by making it more general. The suits presumed the clients would see empty component screens and presume they were getting cheated out of something. So sad. . .
They are use in place of jumpers when a robot assembles circuits. It saves time because the robot doesn’t have to stop and change tool.
Best comment thread I’ve read in a long time, lots of wit and new information. But why do we always have to jump on the audiophiles? Have some compassion. Inter-connects are expensive! Especially when they’re not paperclips. Please don’t bring all that attitude to the next listening party, you’ll flatten the soundstage and etch the highs.
The zero ohm resistor is used for series parallel circuits involving anti electrons in calculators so you can divide by zero
zero ohms? hmm, so these are superconductors?
No…the resistors themselves are zero ohms, but the leads still have minute amounts of resistance.
I can’t find a good Zero Ohm Resistor! My meter says that every one of them at my shop are Dead Shorted. All jokes aside, I once gave a New Tech a Make Work Job of Checking about 5,000 Four Amp Fuses. Went back to check on him at break time and he had placed every one that he had checked in the defective box. He sais that they were all Shorted. This guy didn’t last long at Scientific Atlanta!
Zero Ohm resistors are used in the triple sprocket gudgen clutch analyser and also require two foofoo tubes.
If anyone’s interested I have several minus one ohm resistors for sale :-)
Is there anything in a 0 ohm resistor? Wouldn’t you just place regular wire with a bit of casing around it?
As an ‘op amp guy’ I’d rather have to discuss these with the lay community than FDNRs and gyrators!
Ohm sweet Ohm! (Kraftwerk)
Do they also make infinity ohm resistors?
Yes. Broken wire, blown fuse, bad solder joint, missing line, etc.
Actually, a 0-ohm resistor (or a resistor of any value) can easily be converted to infinity-ohms; just use your favourite tin snips and cut the resistor in half; then mount the two halves facing away from each other?
This is why I like BoingBoing. I’m a former English major. I lurk in the corner and absorb science. From the very posting of Mark’s question, through this string of comments — including, especially the jokes (because jokes require understanding what is false) — I’ve learned some sort of fundamental knowledge about resistors. They are objects I’ve seen on every circuit board I’ve ever handled … as a consumer. But until half-an-hour ago, I couldn’t tell you even what they were. Thanks!
I use these all the time in my superconducting circuits.
Room temperature superconductor.
Actually… they’re used in self-sealing stem bolts and reverse-ratcheting routing planers, duh!
The only sane reason for that… http://memegenerator.net/instance/23151290
These are also used in prototyping. If you think there may be an emc problem that might need a capacitor or inductor later on, it is easier to design it with a 0 ohm resistor so you have the footprint ready on the board. Then it is as simple as removing the resistor and replacing it with another part.
If you connect two or more of them in parallel, you get a negative resistance value – it’s how superconductors are made.
In a project I’m currently working on, I needed to daisy-chain two small driver cards in an I2C-bus. Due to space constraints in my mounting box, I decided to mount one above the other; and using 0-ohm resistors as spacers worked out nicely – much better than bare wire. Thanks to Evil Mad Scientist Labs, I had a couple lying around – they use them as options in some of their kits.
I’m old enough to remember these were used as links on cheapie circuit boards. Single-sided boards are cheaper, but sometimes you need to link two tracks together when some other tracks are in the way. So you put a zero-ohm link in!
As people have said, component placers were able to put resistors in, but often they couldn’t do wires.
What confuses me is that when you buy surface mount ones, they’re often described as, say, 125mW 0R 0805′s. But if there’s no resistance, how come they only cope with 125mW?
Sorry for lack of puns.
Zero ohm resistors are nice enough, I suppose, but I prefer the -1 ohm parts for my builds.
They actually serve a few purposes, simple bridge just like a wire jumper, fuse as they can typically only hold a certain wattage, but most commonly they are used for tuning circuts. This is especially common in wireless networking, LED displays, etc… where timing matters. So they can add or remove latency in the circut.