# RF Attenuator Resistor Values

### - a table or chart of attenuator resistor values for use in Pi and T format resistor RF attenuator pads.

The calculations for the "Pi" and "T" RF attenuator resistor values are relatively straightforward. However it is often convenient to have a chart that provides the attenuator resistor values in a tabular format.

The most common format for RF attenuators is in a 50 ohm system, i.e. one with a characteristic impedance of 50 ohms. Accordingly the table given below is calculated for a system with an impedance of 50 ohms.

## Attenuator resistor definitions

The diagrams below show the different attenuator resistor definitions that relate to the attenuator resistor values in the table.

One of the most popular forms of resistor attenuator pad, is the T section pad. It gains its name from the topology of the attenuator pad. The attenuator resistor values are given for this format - the resistor identification in the table relating to the numbers in the diagram.

**T resistor attenuator pad**

The attenuator resistor values are also given for the Pi section attenuator pads. Often there is little to choose between the Pi and T section attenuator pads - often it is the personal preference of the designer.

**Pi resistor attenuator pad**

The bridged T attenuator shown below is often used, although it has four resistors in each section rather than the three used in other attenuator pad formats. It is often used in variable attenuators because of the fact that only two resistor elements need to be varied.

**Bridged T Attenuator Pad**

## RF attenuator resistor values chart

The table given below provides the resistor values for Pi and T pad RF resistor attenuator circuits. The values in this table have been calculated for a characteristic impedance of 50 ohms.

RF Attenuator Pad Resistor Values Table | ||||||
---|---|---|---|---|---|---|

Loss in dB | R1 | R2 | R3 | R4 | R5 | R6 |

1 | 2.9 | 433 | 870 | 5.8 | 6.1 | 410 |

2 | 5.7 | 215 | 436 | 11.6 | 12.9 | 193 |

3 | 8.5 | 142 | 292 | 17.6 | 20.6 | 121 |

4 | 11.3 | 105 | 221 | 23.8 | 29.3 | 85.4 |

5 | 14.0 | 82.2 | 179 | 30.4 | 38.9 | 64.3 |

6 | 16.6 | 66.9 | 151 | 37.3 | 48.9 | 50.3 |

7 | 19.1 | 55.8 | 131 | 44.8 | 61.9 | 40.4 |

8 | 21.5 | 47.3 | 116 | 52.8 | 75.6 | 33.0 |

9 | 23.8 | 40.6 | 105 | 61.6 | 90.9 | 27.5 |

10 | 26.0 | 35.1 | 96.2 | 71.2 | 108 | 23.2 |

11 | 28.0 | 30.6 | 89.2 | 81.7 | 128 | 19.6 |

12 | 29.9 | 26.8 | 83.5 | 93.2 | 149 | 16.8 |

13 | 31.7 | 23.6 | 78.8 | 106 | 173 | 14.4 |

14 | 33.4 | 20.8 | 74.9 | 120 | 201 | 12.4 |

15 | 34.9 | 18.4 | 71.6 | 136 | 231 | 10.8 |

16 | 36.3 | 16.3 | 68.8 | 154 | 265 | 9.4 |

17 | 37.6 | 14.4 | 66.5 | 173 | 304 | 8.2 |

18 | 38.8 | 12.8 | 64.4 | 195 | 347 | 7.2 |

19 | 39.9 | 11.4 | 62.6 | 220 | 396 | 6.3 |

20 | 40.9 | 10.1 | 61.1 | 248 | 450 | 5.6 |

**Table of resistor values for 50 ohm attenuators**

Resistor designations refer to diagrams above

**NB:**Attenuator resistor values in the table are for a 50 ohm system.

## Attenuator resistor values for other impedance systems

The attenuator resistor values in the table are given for a 50 ohm system as this is the most likely impedance system required. However it is recognised that other impedance systems may also be used.

To convert the values in the table to another value of impedance, they should be multiplied by the factor Z / 50, where Z is the characteristic impedance of the required system.

The RF attenuator resistor values chart given above enables resistors to be chosen for popular values of attenuation more easily than having to calculate each one individually. It provides a quick, at-a-glance reference for the attenuator resistor values. While only covering integer dB steps, it is unlikely that a any intermediate values would be needed. Also any attenuators providing more than 20 dB are likely to be made up from several stages each having a maximum of 20 dB.

* By Ian Poole*

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