In the realm of electronic components, a jumper is a small metal connector capable of opening or closing part of a circuit. Jumpers typically feature two or more connecting points, those of which are used to regulate the circuit board. Zero ohm jumpers, also known as zero ohm resistors, are specialized jumpers that are packed like a standard resistor, allowing for post-fabrication configurability. In this blog, we will discuss the zero ohm jumper in more detail, allowing you to have a better understanding of their design and operations.
When a printed circuit board (PCB) is being designed for the very first time, it can be difficult to determine various uncertainties during the schematic phase. As such, a finalized configuration is not possible until the PCB has undergone testing and experimentation. With zero ohm jumpers, PCBs can be altered in various ways after fabrication is complete.
Additionally, the zero ohm jumper also allows for extensibility to be established for a particular board. As an example, if one is designing a printed circuit board that utilizes an external amplifier module to receive a 5V analog input signal, there may be a need for increased options in the instance that one will later use the board in a higher-voltage apparatus. To allow for this future use to be possible, two input paths will be needed. To execute this, a zero ohm jumper is installed in series with each input path, and the manufacturer will label one part as “do not install” (DNI) or “do not populate” (DNP). With these labels, the PCB will be designed in such a way that the intended voltage is achieved in factory new condition, all while allowing the board to be later adapted for higher-voltage applications with little effort.
Zero ohm resistors or jumpers come in two shapes, those of which are wire wound and surface mount (SMD) options. The wire wound zero ohm resistor is shaped like a typical resistor, and they are often denoted by a single black band on their body. Meanwhile, surface mount zero ohm resistors have surpassed the wire wound option with their cost, simplicity, and other benefits. To denote that a resistor is of the zero ohm variety, manufacturers will print either a “0” or “000” on the surface.
While some may argue that a wire or standard jumper could be used in lieu of the zero ohm jumper, there are various reasons as to why that is not commonly the case. For PCBs to be mass-produced, an insertion machine serves to place all components and diodes where they need to be. While a zero ohm jumper can be placed by such machines, wires would require a separate machine or manual installation, increasing time and costs. Additionally, zero ohm resistors ensure that PCBs cannot easily be reverse engineered.
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