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    Decade Boxes

    Decade boxes are test instruments which use a series of resistors, capacitors, or inductors to replicate different electrical values. They can be quickly and easily substituted into a circuit and replace any standard value component. Their ability to be configured to nearly any resistance, capacitance, or inductance makes decade boxes a convenient way to find the optimum value for circuit operation. They are ideal for verifying the accuracy of test equipment prior to use as well as troubleshooting.

    How they work?

    Decade boxes are passive devices that consist of switches and either a series of resistors, capacitors, or inductors of different values arranged to form "decades". Decades are set up in factors of ten. For example, a resistance decade box may have a 5-ohm, 2 ohms, and two 1-ohm resistors in the first decade. The second decade may have a 50 ohm, a 20 ohm, and two 10-ohm resistors. The third decade may have a 500 ohm, a 200 ohm, and two 100-ohm resistors. With this combination, this three-decade box can be switched to any value from 1 ohm to 999 ohms in 1-ohm steps. Some decade boxes may have 6 or more decades to allow for very wide ranges and highly precise values.

    Decade boxes are characterized by their range, maximum resolution, and accuracy. Using a decade box for testing consists of setting the box to the desired value and hooking up the input device such as a transmitter, controller, multimeter, etc. The display value of the input device should match the set value of the decade box.

    Types of Decade Boxes

    • Resistance Decade Boxes
    • Capacitance Decade Boxes
    • Inductance Decade Boxes

    Things to consider when selecting a decade box

    • Is this for simulating resistance, conductance or inductance?
    • What range is required
    • How much resolution is needed
    • What level accuracy is preferred


    • Field and laboratory work
    • Educational establishments
    • Design work

    Why would you choose RS for decade boxes?

    We support engineers and technicians with decade boxes from leading brands such as Cropico, ELC, Martindale, Ohmite, Time Electronic and our very own RS PRO. Quality decade boxes with calibrated options for reliability and accuracy to suit your application.

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