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Bench Talk for Design Engineers

Bench Talk


Bench Talk for Design Engineers | The Official Blog of Mouser Electronics

Conversion Calculators Add up to Reliability Tommy Cummings

Figure 1: Mouser's online conversion calculators offer a one-stop resource for many electronics industry calculations. (Source: Mouser Electronics)


Way back in 1974, I put together the components for a transistor radio at summer camp. All the transistors, circuits, wiring, and the tiny breadboard intrigued me. I soldered it. Tested it. And the crude device kind of worked. But just that small positive experience sparked my interest in technology.

The point: Inquiring minds, young and old, novice and experienced, need a reliable source to turn to when they encounter the critical elements of technology.

That's where Mouser’s Conversion Calculators section comes in handy. No need to scour the web to find solutions for your projects. Simply bookmark the section, find the appropriate calculator, and get your answers.  This comprehensive resource features tools for most electronics industry calculations, complex and simple.

Our Stable of Calculators

In Mouser’s Conversion Calculators section, the Resistor Color Code and the Ohm’s Law calculators are showcased in addition to links to other easy-to-use conversion calculators. The Resistor Color Code calculator is designed to find the resistance and tolerance values of through-hole resistors. It’s simple: Enter the number of resistor bands and select the colors to find the resistor value. Click Display Matching Products to find a filtered selection of relevant resistors available from Mouser. The Ohm’s Law calculator determines power, current, voltage, or resistance. Just enter two known values and click Calculate.

Here’s a rundown of Mouser’s calculators:

  • BTU to Joules Energy Conversion: Quickly convert British Thermal Units (BTU) to Joules (J) and Joules (J) to British Thermal Units (BTU).
  • Capacitance Conversion: Perform conversions between capacitance units.
  • Decimal to Fraction: Convert a decimal number into a fraction.
  • Length Conversion: Convert metric and imperial units, including kilometers, meters, centimeters, millimeters, miles, yards, feet, and inches.
  • Power Conversion: Convert all types of electrical power units between watts, kilowatts, megawatts, milliwatts, exawatts, foot pounds, horsepower, joule/second, kilovolt amperes, and volt amperes.
  • Pressure Conversion: Perform conversions between pressure units including millibars, pascals, kilopascals, and more.
  • Temperature Conversion: Convert Celsius values to Fahrenheit values and Fahrenheit values to Celsius values.
  • Volume and Mass Conversion: Perform conversions between measurement systems including liters, ounces, quarts, feet3, yards3, and more.
  • Weight Conversion: Convert kilograms to grams, kilograms to pounds, and other units including tons, metric tons, and ounces.
  • Battery Life: Estimate the hours left in your battery life.
  • LED Series Resistor: Determine the value of current limiting resistors needed to connect multiple LEDs.
  • Time Constant: Calculate resistor-capacitor (RC) time constant of a resistor-capacitor circuit by entering voltage, capacitance, and load resistance values.

Endorsed By Experienced Engineers

Could these calculators save someone a call to technical support? Christina Unarut, Technical Content Specialist at Mouser, knows that it's another option because she's dealt with students, makers, people tinkering or bread-boarding, and individuals trying to fix a TV. “I can honestly say I used tools like these frequently,” she said.

Are these tools practical? Joseph Downing, also a Technical Content Specialist, appreciates the resistance calculators. “From a design standpoint, when laying traces, knowing the resistance and power tolerance of the trace is important,” he said.

Best of all, the calculators are educational. Paul Golata, a Senior Technical Specialist, knows the information can be useful in a classroom setting: “When I speak on science and math to fifth-graders at my wife’s school, I do things like write the resistor codes and then make them write the exact number for a series of resistors on the board for them to decode to earn a prize or such.”

Hey, we have a tool for that.  

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Tommy Cummings is a freelance writer/editor based in Texas. He's had a journalism career that has spanned more than 40 years. He contributes to Texas Monthly and Oklahoma Today magazines. He's also worked at The Dallas Morning News, Fort Worth Star-Telegram, San Francisco Chronicle, and others. Tommy covered the dot-com boom in Silicon Valley and has been a digital content and audience engagement editor at news outlets. Tommy worked at Mouser Electronics from 2018 to 2021 as a technical content and product content specialist.

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