BOSTON — Every time you're stuck in vehicle traffic, don't you just wish there are fewer cars in front of you? We all know that cars are expensive, pollute the air, and eventually end up in junkyards besides frustrating us with traffic. Now there's another problem being caused by cars: a shortage of resistors.

Resistors? That's right. According EE Times' sister publication EBN, the increasing amount of electronics in cars has produced a "supply imbalance" of SMT resistors, as least in North America. It started with longer lead times for thick-film resistors, but it's spreading to thin-film components as well. According to the report, through-hole resistors are not affected. That's hardly a surprise. After all, how many designs use through-hole resistors anymore?


SMT resistor lead time have risen in recent weeks. Source: Electronic Components Industry Association

As the graph shows, the average lead time for resistors rose significantly starting in February 2017 and continued through July, the latest data that's available. As more electronics goes into cars, especially with driver assist and eventually autonomous vehicles, we could see more shortages, and not just for resistors. We often take resistors for granted, until we don’t have them.

Continue to Resistors in Short Supply: Blame Cars on EBN.

Martin Rowe covers test and measurement for EE Times and EDN. Contact him at Circle me on Google+ Follow me on TwitterVisit my LinkedIn page