In our Mini Blog series, we answer the question: do resistors have polarity?
It’s easy to understand why you might be concerned. After all, many capacitors, which are sometimes confused for resistors, are polarized and must be placed properly within a circuit.
But resistors have no polarity. Current passes equally through from either direction. That means you can’t install them backward. One less concern. Yay.
And if you ever have trouble determining whether a component is a resistor or a capacitor, there are several ways to differentiate between the two. Take a look at our longer blog post on identifying circuit board components for more information.
A Note on Current Flow and Polarity
Even though it doesn’t matter which way you place your resistor, current flows from positive to negative. While resistors don’t have their own polarity they will typically be part of a circuit that does, thanks to other components like capacitors.
In a DC circuit, the current will always flow in only one direction. One pole is always negative, the other always positive. AC circuits are trickier. The poles alternate between negative and positive. As they change, the direction of the current changes, too. But–and this is a big deal–current only flows in one direction at any particular time.
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