What is a capacitor?
Capacitors are components used in electronics to store electrical charge. They store electrical energy in an electric field. These components are also known by the nickname Konka.
In hi-fi use, capacitors can be found, for example:
- crossover filters
- as well as inside other audio devices.
In such devices, they are usually in the power supply to equalize the current interference before the signal circuits.
How does a capacitor work?
Capacitors consist of two parallel electrodes, or metal plates, which are separated by a dielectric insulator . When the capacitors receive electrical energy, i.e., they are connected to a voltage source, one of the plates contained in the component is charged with an electron and particles charged with negative energy. At the same time, the second plate is positively charged and thus a homogeneous electric field is formed between these plates. The magnitude of the electric field can be controlled by the capacitor insulators .
When the power supply initially used in the capacitor is disconnected, they are still charged with energy and stored as so-called emergency power. In practice, the sheets of positive and negative energy it contains seem to “attract” each other and hold charges, even if they are no longer attached to the energy source. The materials used to insulate the capacitor keep the metal plates close together but prevent them from neutralizing by touching them.
How is the capacitor capacitance measured?
Capacitance or capacitor is one of the most important characteristics of a capacitor. Capacitance should be measured to know how much charge the element can store.
The capacitance value of a capacitor is measured in farades (F), but a large proportion of household electrical appliances contain capacitors that produce only a fraction of a single farade, such as a microfarad (µF) or, to a minimum, a picofarad (pF).
The easiest way to measure the capacitance of a capacitor is with the capacitance meter currently available in many AC multimeters. Before measuring, make sure that the measuring device has a new battery to obtain an accurate reading.
The measurement is usually as follows:
- Set the meter to read the capacitance.
- Select the measuring range of the capacitor from the measuring range.
- Connect the probes to the capacitor legs for a reading.
When measuring, the meter display should show a capacity reading that should be close to the nominal value. If this does not happen, the capacitor may be damaged.
How to connect a capacitor?
The capacitor must be charged before connecting it. Downloading Konka is easy, but it's important to keep a few things in mind:
- The larger the capacitor, the more it consumes when connected to a power source.
- When the capacitor is disconnected from the battery, it will drop its charge immediately, so it should be connected immediately after charging.
When making connections, it is important to remember to disconnect the positive terminal of the battery or, alternatively, remove the mains fuse from its fuse box.
When the power is turned back on, the capacitor will charge and may cause a spark or smoke. To avoid this, it is possible to fully charge the capacitor through the resistor before connecting it.
A fully charged capacitor is not dangerous in principle, but if it is connected in the wrong way, ie in the wrong direction, a short circuit at its terminals can cause the electrolyte to discharge from the safety valve. It is therefore very important to be careful when making connections.
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