Thursday, July 5, 2007

High Voltage Resistors

Once the resistor voltage rating goes above a few hundred volts, there are very few manufacturers to choose from. The main types of high voltage resistors are:
  • Surge high voltage resistors, which are used in series with circuit elements that might experience arcs or intentional transients. Examples include resistors in series with an arc lamp or the resistor in an RC filter since they will need to carry current due to arcs.
  • Precision resistors (used for high voltage dividers). Typically these are thin film resistors.
  • General purpose high voltage resistors, generally thick film. Compared to precision high voltage resistors, these are not as stable, have worse voltage coefficients, worse temperature coefficients, and worse tolerances. However, they are lower cost and can be rated at higher power. Applications include high voltage dividers where precision is not important, load resistors and bleeder resistors.
More than with low voltage resistors, it is important to select a high quality manufacturer to obtain a part with good performance and reliability.

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