RKM codes

Version: 0.4.0
Released: 2019-08-29

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RKM codes are used to represent electrical quantities in labels, particularly on schematics and on the components themselves. They are standardized in various national and international standards, including: IEC 60062 (1952) (formerly IEC 62), DIN 40825 (1973), BS 1852 (1974), IS 8186 (1976) and EN 60062 (1993). IEC-60062 was significantly updated in 2016.

RKM codes were originally used as part marking codes. This shorthand notation is widely used in electrical engineering to denote the values of resistors and capacitors in circuit diagrams and in the production of electronic circuits (for example in bills of material and in silk screens). This method avoids overlooking the decimal separator, which may not be rendered reliably on components or when duplicating documents. They also provide the benefit that the characters within a RKM code are either letters or digits, and so can be embedded within identifiers without introducing invalid characters.

IEC 60062 is described in https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RKM_code.

Essentially an RKM version of a number is the number with a scale factor where the decimal point replaced by the scale factor. For example, a resistance of 4.7kΩ becomes 4k7. If there is no scale factor, the decimal point is replaced by a letter that signifies the type of the component. For example, a resistance of 4.7Ω becomes 4r7.

Resistance examples:

R47 → 0.47 Ω
4R7 → 4.7 Ω
470R → 470 Ω
4K7 → 4.7 kΩ
47K → 47 kΩ
47K3 → 47.3 kΩ
470K → 470 kΩ
4M7 → 4.7 MΩ

In the standard, large values are assumed to be resistances and small values are assumed to be capacitances. So 4k7 is a resistance and 2n5 is a capacitance. However, this package also supports a version of RKM codes where the units are not implied by the value, making RKM codes suitable for a wider variety of value types, such as voltage, current, and inductance.


This package converts RKM codes to QuantiPhy Quantities and Quantities to RKM codes.

Install with:

pip3 install --user rkm_codes

Requires Python3.4 or better.

Converting to and from RKM Codes

The following is a simple example of how to convert back and forth between RKM codes and Quantities:

>>> from rkm_codes import from_rkm, to_rkm
>>> r = from_rkm('6K8')
>>> r

>>> to_rkm(r)

Notice that in this case the quantity does not include units. That is because by default rkm_codes assumes unitless numbers. You can change this behavior. Out of the box rkm_codes supports two kinds of numbers, unitless and those that follow the IEC60062 standard. You can switch between those two kinds of numbers using something like this:

>>> from rkm_codes import set_prefs, IEC60062_MAPS, UNITLESS_MAPS
>>> r = from_rkm('6k8')
>>> r

>>> set_prefs(rkm_maps=IEC60062_MAPS)
>>> from_rkm('6k8')
Quantity('6.8 kΩ')

>>> set_prefs(rkm_maps=UNITLESS_MAPS)
>>> from_rkm('6k8')

In either case, rkm_codes allows you to explicitly specify the units, which always overrides any implied units:

>>> set_prefs(rkm_maps=UNITLESS_MAPS)
>>> from_rkm('6kΩ8')
Quantity('6.8 kΩ')

>>> i = from_rkm('2uA5')
>>> i
Quantity('2.5 uA')

When converting to an RKM code, you can instruct that the units be included:

>>> to_rkm(i, show_units=True)

You can also indicate how many digits should be included:

>>> to_rkm(i.add(1e-9), prec=5, show_units=True)

Normally, any excess zeros are removed, but you can change that too:

>>> to_rkm(i.add(1e-9), prec=5, show_units=True, strip_zeros=False)

You can create your own maps by passing in a dictionary that maps a RKM base code character into a scale factor and units. For example, you could create a map that uses ‘d’ or ‘D’ to represent the decimal point in numbers without scale factors rather than ‘r’, ‘c’, etc. For example:

>>> set_prefs(rkm_maps=dict(d=('', ''), D=('', '')))
>>> from_rkm('6d8')

>>> from_rkm('2d5')

Passing None for the value of a map returns it to its default value.

If rkm_codes encounters a RKM base code character that is not in the map, it simply uses that character. In this way, scale factors are handled:

>>> from_rkm('6k8')

When converting from Quantities to RKM codes, you can override the default mappings from units to RKM base code characters. The default mapping maps ‘Ω’ and ‘Ohm’ to ‘r’, ‘F’ to ‘c’, ‘H’ to ‘l’, ‘V’ to ‘v’, and ‘A’ to ‘i’. However, you may prefer uppercase base characters, which is more in alignment with the original standard. To get that, you can use something like this:

>>> rkm_base_code_mappings = {
...     'Ω': 'R',
...     'Ohm': 'R',
...     'F': 'C',
...     'H': 'L',
...     'V': 'V',
...     'A': 'I',
... }
>>> set_prefs(rkm_maps=IEC60062_MAPS, units_to_rkm_base_code=rkm_base_code_mappings)
>>> r = from_rkm('k0012')
>>> to_rkm(r)

You can control the scale factors used by to_rkm() by setting map_sf using set_prefs. The default maps ‘u’ to ‘μ’ and ‘k’ to ‘K’. You might wish to prevent the use of ‘μ’ while retaining the use of ‘K’, which you can do with:

>>> set_prefs(map_sf=dict(u='µ'))
>>> c = from_rkm('5u')
>>> to_rkm(c)

Finding RKM Codes

find_rkm is available for finding the RKM codes embedded in text strings. Using it, you can iterate through all the numbers specified using RKM:

>>> from rkm_codes import find_rkm
>>> text = '''
...     An RKM code that may include explicitly specified. Examples of
...     acceptable RKM codes for resistance include:   R47 (0.47 Ω), 4R7
...     (4.7 Ω), 470R (470 Ω), 4K7 (4.7 kΩ), 47K (47 kΩ), 47K3 (47.3 kΩ),
...     470K (470 kΩ), and 4M7 (4.7 MΩ).
... '''
>>> for num in find_rkm(text):
...     print(num)
470 mΩ
4.7 Ω
470 Ω
4.7 kΩ
47 kΩ
47.3 kΩ
470 kΩ
4.7 MΩ

When the RKM code is not isolated by punctuation or spaces it can get confused by leading and trailing text. You can often resolve this issue by restricting the matches to either the leading or trailing digit forms of the RKM code. Do so by specifying either ‘ld’ or ‘td’ as a second argument. For example:

>>> for num in find_rkm('sink200nA'):
...     print(num)
200 msink
>>> for num in find_rkm('sink200nA', 'ld'):
...     print(num)
200 nA

Pin Name Generator Example

As a practical example of the use of RKM codes, imagine wanting a program that creates pin names for an electrical circuit based on a naming convention. It would take a table of pin characteristics that are used to create the names. For example:

>>> from quantiphy import Quantity
>>> from rkm_codes import to_rkm, set_prefs as set_rkm_prefs

>>> pins = [
...     dict(kind='ibias', direction='out', polarity='sink', dest='dac', value='250nA'),
...     dict(kind='ibias', direction='out', polarity='src', dest='rampgen', value='2.5μA'),
...     dict(kind='vref', direction='out', dest='dac', value='1.25V'),
...     dict(kind='vdda', direction='in', value='2.5V'),
... ]
>>> set_rkm_prefs(map_sf={}, units_to_rkm_base_code=None, show_units=True, prec=2)

>>> for pin in pins:
...     components = []
...     if 'value' in pin:
...         pin['VALUE'] = to_rkm(Quantity(pin['value']))
...     for name in ['dest', 'kind', 'direction', 'VALUE', 'polarity']:
...         if name in pin:
...             components.append(pin[name])
...     print('_'.join(components))


Latest development release:
Version: 0.4.0
Released: 2019-08-29
0.4 (2019-08-29):
  • added find_rkm()

0.3 (2019-08-23):
  • move the units to the middle of the number with the scale factor

  • added support for signed numbers

  • added show_units, strip_zeros, minus_sign, and prec to preferences

  • this release is not backward compatible; units at the end of the number are no longer supported

0.2 (2018-09-14):
  • fixed issue in set_prefs()

0.1 (2018-09-12):
  • initial release