Category Archives: Capacitors

What is a capacitor used for?

Just as a bucket holds water, a capacitor holds charge. In fact, the world's first capacitor was in the shape of a jar and was aptly named the Leyden jar. However, the latest capacitors do not look anywhere close to a jar. In its simplest form, a capacitor has two conductive plates separated by a dielectric. This helps maintain an electric charge between its plates. Depending on the type, different materials are used for the dielectric, such as plastic, paper, air, tantalum, polyester, ceramic, etc. Read more [...]

Variation of Capacitance of Ceramic Capacitors with Voltage and Temperature

The ceramic capacitors that you work with in the lab have two or more alternating layers of a metal acting as the electrodes and a ceramic acting as the dielectric. The capacitance measured in farad represents the charge stored in a capacitor at a particular applied voltage. The quantity should be a constant for a particular capacitor at all values of applied voltages and temperatures. Capacitor Categories While working with Class I capacitors, you may find that their capacitances do not deviate Read more [...]

How Professional Grade Capacitors Are Used In the Automotive Industry

The challenging conditions faced by automobiles have compelled component manufacturers in the automotive industry to come up with superior capacitors. Two of these advanced capacitors are professional grade capacitors of tantalum and niobium oxide. A capacitor is comprised of two conducting plates separated by a dielectric (insulating) medium. One plate maintains a positive charge while the other maintains a negative charge. Benefits of Professional Grade Tantalum Capacitors A tantalum Read more [...]

New radial electrolytic capacitor assortment available!

By popular request we've added an additional radial electrolytic capacitor assortment to our lineup of available products. Like our other capacitor kits, this assortment has a big range of capacitances and voltages supported. And like our other assortments, every value is individually bagged and labeled. But here's where this kit differs from our other previous kits - we are now able to provide a list of manufacturers and temperature ratings for this assortment so you can be sure that the Read more [...]

Is mF and mFd the same as uF? Will the real Microfarad please stand up?

For those just starting out learning about electronic components (specifically capacitors and capacitance), we know that there can be some confusion related to this topic. In short, the answer is yes -- mFd is the same as uF- which is also the same as the symbol 'µ' as seen in 'µF'. Technically 'mfd' represents 'milliFarad' while 'uF' stands for 'microFarad' which is an order of magnitude smaller. Here is where the confusion begins. Some older capacitor manufacturers used 'mF' in place Read more [...]

Box Capacitors – so many in one place!

We've been very busy expanding another category for you: Box Capacitors.  Now in stock and ready to ship are more than 60 different values of box capacitors. In general, box caps are constructed of polyester film or metallized polypropylene. Some of the more popular manufacturers are Wima, Mallory and Philips. In addition, (and somewhat related), we've greatly expanded our suppression and safety capacitor category. Between both categories, there are almost 75 new products added this week alone! Read more [...]

Motor Start Capacitors vs Motor Run Capacitors

We are often asked about the difference between the two different types of motor capacitors: motor run and motor start. Here are the basic differences between the two: Motor Start Capacitors The primary purpose of a motor start capacitor is to briefly increase the motor starting torque as well as to allow a motor to be cycled on and off very quickly. It operates in the circuit by staying active long enough to allow the motor to be brought to 3/4 of it's full capacity. It is removed at that point Read more [...]

Tantalum Capacitor Industry Needs New Resources

As the demand for tantalum has recorded 5% growth every year, the supply of tantalite has decreased setting up the electronic components industry with a possible shortage. Tantalite, which is the key component of tantalum used to make tantalum capacitors, is mined primarily in three countries: Australia, Mozambique and Canada. Companies in those countries reduced or suspended production as the economy tanked in 2008 and consumer spending fell. Recently, most production of tantalum has been Read more [...]

How to Read Capacitors

Capacitance Values - and How to Read Them Capacitors are used in a wide range of electronic components and circuits. They form an integral part of electronics. The capacitance of capacitors is measured in a unit known as Farads, represented by the letter ‘F’. A capacitor that has higher capacitance can be used for storing more charge as compared to one with a smaller capacitance value. One Farad is a very high value for capacitance and usually smaller units are used, namely pico Read more [...]