Capacitor Codes

Capacitors are among the most common electronic components in use. Because they cannot be easily identified outwardly, a color-coding scheme is utilized to make it easy to visually identify the characteristics of the capacitor. There is also a numerical scheme used, which consists of combinations of numbers and letters to give specific information on the characteristics of a capacitor.

The color-coding scheme is similar to the scheme utilized on resistors to provide the same information to users. This color scheme utilizes colored bands or colored dots to provide necessary information to the user. With this information, the user can easily assess an electrical component, determine its basic characteristics and, depending upon their need, replace it, tested or do anything else that would require the user to know its electrical characteristics.

There are other numbering schemes that indicate different information, which is detailed below. Capacitor codes can be printed out and are available on ready-made posters, which are great accessories to have available in an electronics shop. There are also many different converters available online where you can input color values or numerical values and

Capacitors are among the most common electronic components in use. Because they cannot be easily identified outwardly, a color-coding scheme is utilized to make it easy to visually identify the characteristics of the capacitor. There is also a numerical scheme used, which consists of combinations of numbers and letters to give specific information on the characteristics of a capacitor.

The color-coding scheme is similar to the scheme utilized on resistors to provide the same information to users. This color scheme utilizes colored bands or colored dots to provide necessary information to the user. With this information, the user can easily assess an electrical component, determine its basic characteristics and, depending upon their need, replace it, tested or do anything else that would require the user to know its electrical characteristics.

There are other numbering schemes that indicate different information, which is detailed below. Capacitor codes can be printed out and are available on ready-made posters, which are great accessories to have available in an electronics shop. There are also many different converters available online where you can input color values or numerical values and convert them to whichever system you wish. This can make it much easier to determine the exact values of the capacitor without having to worry about any sort of error giving you a wrong number.

them to whichever system you wish. This can make it much easier to determine the exact values of the capacitor without having to worry about any sort of error giving you a wrong number.

What are Capacitors?

A capacitor is a type of passive electronic component. They have two terminals and they are utilized to store energy. In some ways, they are similar to a battery. The energy is stored in an electrostatic field. This is accomplished with a design that utilizes two electrical conductors that are separated from one another by an insulator.

Capacitors are commonly utilized to block direct current in electric circuits. Their design allows alternating currents to pass through them. They are utilized in many different applications, including in radio tuners, voltage stabilizers, and other devices.

How do Capacitors Work?

Within a capacitor, three components are universal. Two of those components will be an electrical conductor. The third component is an insulator of some sort. The conductors and the insulator can be most anything, the metal foil is quite often employed as the conductor. In these designs, though metal foil is typically separated by a very thin layer of an insulating material.

When power is run through the capacitor, it generates a potential difference across the two conductors in the component. This creates an electric field across the insulator. The capacitor eventually stores the positive charge on one of the electrically conductive plates and the negative charge on the other electrically conductive plate. This allows energy to be stored in the form of an electrostatic field. The charges on each of the conducting surfaces are equal and opposite of the other. The charge on each of the conductors is measured as a coulomb and, combined with the voltage across the device, the capacitance of the device is measured in farads.

History of Capacitors

Like many electronic components, capacitors have a very long history. Utilizing generators, water and glass jars, early experimenters including Ewald Georg von Kleist and Pieter van Musschenbroek developed what are widely considered to be the first examples of capacitors. One of the first designs was conceived by Musschenbroek and was called the Leyden Jar.

Benjamin Franklin even experimented with capacitors, the Leyden Jar, specifically, and was the first of the experimenters to realize that the electrical charge being stored in the early designs was actually being stored on the glass that made up the jar rather than in the water within the jar. These jars were later adapted by putting metal foil on the interior and exterior surfaces, similar to the design of modern capacitors.

Capacitors remained in low demand up until the invention of radio. Radio requires capacitors to allow smooth tuning between frequencies. The advent of radio also resulted in the creation of capacitors that were much more compact than the original designs.

The term condenser is sometimes used as a synonym for capacitor, though its usage is very infrequent in modern electronics.

What are Capacitor Codes?

Capacitor codes are alphanumeric values, but they are oftentimes indicated on capacitors by colored bands or dots. There are many capacitors that have the numerical and alphabetical values stamped onto them, however, as well.

Who Defines Capacitor Codes?

Where color bands are concerned, the international standard is defined by the IEC 60062.

What are Capacitor Codes used for?

Capacitor codes are simply used for the sake of convenience. They provide a useful shorthand way of defining the capacitance and tolerance characteristics of a capacitor component right on the device, ensuring that those values can be determined whether the original documentation for an electronic device is available. They also make it remarkably convenient to repair electronic devices by replacing capacitors, as it’s easy enough to determine which capacitor is needed.

How to Read Capacitor Codes?

A capacitor code generally consists of three numbers. The first number, reading from the left, is called the first significant figure. The second number is called the second significant figure. The third number is the multiplier and that number corresponds to the number of zeros to be added after the first and second significant figures to get the capacitance of the device, in farads. For example, a capacitor with the code 142K would have a capacitance of 1.4 nF and a tolerance of +/- 10%. A capacitor with a 25-microfarad capacitance and +/- 20% tolerance would have a code of 256M.

Following the number is a letter. The letter describes the tolerance of the device in a percentage value.

In cases where color bands are also used, extra bands indicate the temperature coefficient and the voltage rating class of the device. On capacitors where a black band is present, it indicates the end of the capacitor that is intended to be hooked up to the chassis ground.

What are Dielectric Codes?

If you look at the capacitors on a piece of electronic equipment, you’re likely to see additional numbers. As an example, you may see the number X2A or something similar. These are dielectric codes. There are two types, Class 1 and Class 2.

The first letter in these codes corresponds to the low temperature requirement of the capacitor. X stands for -55°C, Y stands for -30°C and Z stands for 10°C. The second symbol will be a number and it will correspond to the high temperature requirement. Two corresponds to 45°C, 4 corresponds to 65°C, 5 corresponds to 85°C, 6 corresponds to 105°C, 7 corresponds to 125°C and 8 corresponds to 150°C. The third character will be a letter. The letter corresponds to a maximum change in capacitance over temperature. Those symbols are read as follows:

A: +/- 1%
B: +/-1.5%
C: +/-2.2%
D: +/-3.3%
E: +/-4.7%
F: +/-7.5%
P: +/-10%
R: +/-15%
S: +/-22%
T: +22%, -33%
U: +22%, -56%
V: +22%, -82%

What is the Difference between Class-1 and Class-2?

Class 1 and Class 2 are both terms used to refer to the type of dielectric in a capacitor. Class 1 capacitors have a capacitance that can be easily and accurately predicted by the temperature of the device. In a Class 2 capacitor, the device is capable of operating at a higher voltage than Class 1 capacitors. These tend to be much more expensive than Class 1 capacitors, however.

What are Color Codes and What Do They Mean?

Reading numerical codes on capacitors is easy enough. Where color-coding is concerned, however, the color and the position of the band determine the actual value.

In the first and second positions, the color bands determine the significant digits. In the third position, they determine the multiplier.

In the first and second positions, the value of the color bands correspond to the following numbers:

  • Black = 0
  • Brown = 1
  • Red = 2
  • Orange = 3
  • Yellow = 4
  • Green = 5
  • Blue = 6
  • Violet = 7
  • Grey = 8
  • White = 9

In the third position, the colors correspond to the multipliers as follows:

  • Black = 1
  • Brown = 10
  • Red = 100
  • Orange = 1,000
  • Yellow = 10,000

In the fourth position, which defines the capacitance tolerance, the colors correspond to the percentage values as follows.

  • Black = +/- 20%
  • Brown = +/- 1%
  • Red = +/-2%
  • Green = +/-0.5%
  • Gold= +/-5%
  • Silver= +/-10%

Color bands can also describe the DC working voltage, operating temperature and EIA/vibration of the capacitor.

The aforementioned meetings of special bands on capacitors are not quite as relevant, as the bands are not used as frequently. If there are extra bands, they either describe the voltage rating class of the capacitor or they indicate the outer electrode.

On some capacitors, rather than bands, colored dots are used for the same purpose. These dots are red left to right, just as are the bands, and the meanings of the dots correspond to the meanings of the bands described above.

What are EIA Part Number Codes?

EIA part number codes are an older form of code that indicates the manufacturer, the year of manufacturer and the week of manufacture. For example, 274 was the EIA code for RCA. If you had a capacitor with the following imprint on it:

274 6106

The number would indicate that the device was made by RCA in 1961 during the sixth week of the year. This was widely employed as a means of quality control, making it possible to figure out who manufactured a component and when.

What are Military Part Number Codes?

Military part number codes, also called page numbers, are the designations used by the military to identify various electronic components, including capacitors. They are their own system of identification, separate from that used widely by civilians.

What are Ceramic Caps and Why Do They Have Many Non Ideal Qualities?

Ceramic capacitors are devices that utilize ceramic as the dielectric component within the capacitor itself. These capacitors are the most widely produced worldwide and are used in a variety of different types of electric equipment. There are four different classes of ceramic capacitors.

Ceramic capacitors have lacking temperature characteristics. This means that, when the temperature of the capacitor is changed, the capacitance itself can vary considerably. This makes them difficult to rely upon, and in some cases, they may have very high percentage capacitance changes based on temperature changes. They are also prone to having their effective capacitance change when a DC voltage is applied to them.

Certain types of ceramic capacitors also have their own problems. For instance, there is a voltage dependency factor that is calculated along with the other issues related to temperature. In some cases, operating at the highest voltage allowable can reduce the capacitance significantly.

Why does it make it difficult to calculate the total tolerance?

The temperature changes make it difficult to calculate the total tolerance. Because ceramic capacitors can change significantly in terms of their overall capacitance based on their temperature, this makes it difficult to determine the exact tolerance of a capacitor in use.

What are Imperial and metric case size codes?

The Imperial – or legacy – case size can be converted to the metric defined size if necessary. This corresponds to:

ImperialMetric
SizeSize
102
2010603M
2040510M
3030808M
3060816M
4021005M
5041210M
5081220M
6031608M
6051613M
6121632M
8052012M
10050402M
11113427M
12063216M
12103225M
14103524M
3528M
18054512M
18084520M
18124532M
18254564M
20105025M
22205750M
22255664M
25126432M
28167140M
36409110M
imperial and metric size codes

Source: http://wiki.xtronics.com/index.php/SMT_Case_Size_Codes

What is milli, micro, nano, pico?

Milli, micro, nano, and pico are all prefixes attached to farads to define their actual values. These prefixes are as follows:

  • Pico = 1 trillionth
  • Nano = 1 billionth
  • Micro = 1 millionth
  • Milli = 1 thousandth

These prefixes are very easily used. For instance, one milli-farad is one-thousandth of a farad. This is a common metric system utilized in electronics to define values.

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