How to Read a Capacitor
How to decipher capacitor codesWhen working with electronics, one of the more daunting and tedious – yet necessary – tasks is figuring out. There are many different types of capacitors, but typically most do not have color coding like resistors. Some capacitors will have their capacitance and voltage ratings printed directly on the component, but some may have a three or four digit code. Here's a clear explanation of what these codes mean and how to read them.
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Electrolytic CapacitorThese polarity-sensitive capacitors are the easiest to decipher because their value and maximum voltage ratings are listed directly on the metal component "can". The negative side (-) is usually clearly marked with the negative side being the shorter lead and the positive side (+) being the longer lead.
Tantalum CapacitorThese brightly colored "gumdrop" capacitors are polarity-sensitive, where the positive lead (+) is longer than the negative (-). Tantalum capacitors usually have the capacitance value, maximum voltage rating and polarity printed right on the component.
Monolithic CapacitorThese non-polar capacitors have equal length leads that can be installed in either direction and come in many colors. The chart illustrates how to determine their value using the three-number and letter code found on most monolithic capacitors.
General Capacitor Codebreaker
|Common Capacitor Code||PicoFarad (pF)||NanoFarad (nF)||MicroFarad (mF/.µF/mfd)|
|102||1000||1 or 1n||0.001|
|152||1500||1.5 or 1n5||0.0015|
|222||2200||2.2 or 2n2||0.0022|
|332||3300||3.3 or 3n3||0.0033|
|472||4700||4.7 or 4n7||0.0047|
|682||6800||6.8 or 6n8||0.0068|
|103||10000||10 or 10n||0.01|
|153||15000||15 or 15n||0.015|
|223||22000||22 or 22n||0.022|
|333||33000||33 or 33n||0.033|
|473||47000||47 or 47n||0.047|
|683||68000||68 or 68n||0.068|
|104||100000||100 or 100n||0.1|
|154||150000||150 or 150n||0.15|
|224||220000||220 or 220n||0.22|
|334||330000||330 or 330n||0.33|
|474||470000||470 or 470n||0.47|
Capacitor Code Chart with Tolerances
|Value (First and Second significant figures)||Multiplier||Letter||Tolerance|
|9||0.1||Z||±80% / -20%|