Pull Down Resistor- Working, Formula and Applications

Pull down resistor is connected between the pin of the digital device and the ground. It pulls down the voltage to a logic low level.

The pulldown resistor ensures the stability and reliability of digital signal processing. It is an essential component in various digital electronic circuits and integrated circuits.

In this article, we will discuss the pull-down resistor, its definition, functionality, and importance in digital electronic circuits.

What is a Pull Down Resistor?

In a digital electronic circuit, a pull-down resistor is a passive circuit element connected between the ground and the signal line to ensure the stability of the circuit.

Therefore, the pull-down resistor connects the signal line to a definite logic level, which is usually zero or low voltage level, in the absence of an active driving signal. This resistor performs the same function as the pullup resistor, i.e., it prevents the signal line’s floating condition and hence provides reliability and stability in the circuit.

Let us take an example of a digital circuit operating on 5 V. The input voltage between 2 to 5 V is considered high logic, and the voltage between 0 to 0.8 V is low logic. The voltage above 0.8 V and below 2 V is considered a floating voltage.

logic states in digital circuit

When the input voltage is between 0.9 to 1.9 V, the circuit can not decide the state of the logic either 1 or 0.

The pull-down register enables the logic level to be 0 in the floating state and thus the circuit will read it as a low logic 0.

Circuit Diagram of Pull-Down Resistor

The below-given diagram shows a pull-down resistor circuit.

Circuit Diagram of Pull Down Resistor

From the circuit diagram, it can be seen that a resistor is connected between the signal line and the ground terminal to prevent the floating condition of the signal line in the absence of a driving signal at the signal line.

Working of Pull-Down Resistor

In case, when no driving signal is connected to the signal line, it may pick up external noise and can cause undefined behavior and logical error in the circuit operation.

But this problem can be solved by using a pull-down resistor. The pull-down resistor is connected between the signal line and the ground, providing a definite path between them. Therefore, in the absence of an active driving signal, the pull-down resistor pulls the signal line towards the ground level potential and connects it to a low logic level.

It is important to note that this resistor is always used along with active devices like switches or transistors. When the active device is in the OFF state, the pull-down resistor connects the signal line to a low logic level and hence prevents its floating condition to maintain the stability of the circuit.

But when the active device or the switch is in an ON state, it actively drives the signal line and allows it to rise to a high logic level. This way, a pull-down resistor works in an electronic circuit.

Resistance Value Calculation

The resistance value of the pull-down resistor depends on various factors of the circuit such as characteristics of the active device, noise immunity of the circuit, desired rise and fall times, and more. We can calculate the resistance of the resistor by using the following formula

formula for Resistance Value of Pull-Down Resistor

Where VLmax is the maximum voltage that the resistor can accept as a low logic and “I ” is the maximum current drawn by the digital input pin.

The resistance value of the pull-down resistor must be such that it does not excessively load the driving device and can maintain the signal line at a low logic level when it is inactive.


Pull-down resistor is commonly used in various digital electronic circuits. Some key applications are listed below:

  • They are used in microcontroller input circuits to provide proper interfacing.
  • Also used in various digital devices that have open collector or open drain outputs.
  • It is used in push button switches.
  • In electronic circuits, they are used to provide a known output resistance/impedance.


In conclusion, this is all about pull-down resistors and their applications. It is an important circuit element in electronic circuits to provide stability and integrity in the circuit. It prevents the floating condition of the signal line of a digital circuit by providing a path to the ground. It also minimizes the problem of noise interference in the circuit.

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