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Capacitor Codes | Capacitor Markings | Radio-Electronics.

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Capacitor Codes & Markings


- capacitors have a variety of codes and markings which not only provide information
about their values, but also other parameters including tolerance, voltage, etc . . . ceramic
capacitor code, capacitor colour code, capacitor polarity marking . . . .

CAPACITOR TUTORIAL INCLUDES

Capacitor types overview (capacitor_types.php) Uses and applications (applications-uses-usage.php)


Electrolytic capacitor (electrolytic-capacitor.php) Ceramic capacitor (ceramic-capacitor.php)
Tantalum capacitor (tantalum-capacitor.php) Polycarbonate capacitor (polycarbonate-capacitors.php)
Polyester capacitor (polyester-capacitor.php) Silver mica capacitor (silver-mica-capacitor.php)
Glass dielectric capacitor (glass-dielectric-capacitors.php)
Polypropylene capacitor (polypropylene-film-capacitor.php)
Polystyrene capacitor (polystyrene-film-capacitor.php) Supercap (supercapacitors.php)
Capacitor codes (capacitor-markings.php)

Capacitors are marked in a variety of ways. The actual format of the capacitor code or marking depends upon the
type of capacitor.
Latest news
There are different codes used dependent upon whether it is a traditional leaded component, or surface mount and
Premier Farnell and IDT announce new
the capacitor dielectric or technology. Size also plays a major part as it determines the space available for the
global franchise (/news/distribution-
marking.
supply/premier-farnell-and-idt-announce-
Some of the marking systems have been standardised by the EIA - the Electronic Industry Alliance, and these new-9132)
provide commonality across the industry. First profile 35b bonding CPE released
(/news/telecoms-networks/first-profile-
Capacitor marking basics 35b-bonding-cpe-released-9131)
26 GHz 5G mmW reconfigurable 256-
Capacitors are marked in many different ways. There are a number of basic marking systems that are used and
element active antenna array
different capacitor types and different manufacturers use these as needed and best fits the particular product.
(/news/antennas-propagation/26-ghz-5g-
mmw-reconfigurable-256-element-9130)
Note that on some occasions the abbreviation MFD is used to denote µF and not a MegaFarad.
Nokia, Deutsche Telekom & Hamburg Port
Normally a knowledge of these basic capacitor codes and capacitor marking systems enables codes on most Authority collaborate in 5G research
capacitors to be easily decoded. (/news/cellular-telecoms/nokia-deutsche-
telekom-hamburg-port-9129)
Non-coded markings: The most obvious way of marking a capacitor parameters are to directly mark them
onto the case or encapsulation in some way. This method works best on larger capacitors where there is Compact step-down µModule meets PCB
sufficient space for the markings. area constraints (/news/power-
management/compact-step-down-
Abbreviated capacitor markings: Smaller capacitors may only have room for a few figures printed as a module-meets-pcb-area-9128)
code for the value. This capacitor marking code uses three characters. It bears many similarities to the colour
code system adopted for resistors, but without the colour part of the coding scheme. The first two figures . . . . More News (http://www.radio-
refer to the significant figures, whereas the third one acts as a multiplier. The value of the capacitor is electronics.com/news.php)
denoted in picofarads for ceramic, film, and tantalum capacitors, but for aluminium electrolytics the value is
denoted in microfarads. FOCUS ON WIRELESS (/TECH-
ZONE/DIGIKEY/)
MULTIPLIER USED ON EIA CAPACITOR MARKING CODE
Select and Apply the Right Low-Power
THIRD FIGURE MULTIPLIER
Microcontroller for the IoT
0 1 (https://ad.doubleclick.net/ddm/clk/413031238;21397211

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Capacitor Codes | Capacitor Markings | Radio-Electronics.Com 06/02/2018, 01)37

1 10 https://www.digikey.com/en/articles/techzone/2017/dec/
2 100 and-apply-the-right-low-power-
3 1000 microcontroller-for-the-iot)
4 10 000 Develop Real-Time Microcontroller-Based
5 100 000 Applications Quickly Using MicroPython
6 1 000 000 (https://ad.doubleclick.net/ddm/clk/411419961;21221031
https://www.digikey.com/en/articles/techzone/2017/sep/
For small values the letter R is used to denote a decimal point, e.g. 0R5 is 0.5, 1R0 is 1.0 and 2R2 is 2.2, etc.. real-time-mcu-based-applications-
micropython)
This scheme is widely used with surface mount capacitors where space is very limited. Wireless Modules Operating in the Sub-
GHz Bands Offer a Simpler Route to
Market for Sensor Networks
(https://ad.doubleclick.net/ddm/clk/411477151;21221031
https://www.digikey.com/en/articles/techzone/2017/nov/
modules-operating-in-the-sub-ghz-bands)
Selecting the Right FCC/CE Compliant
Abbreviated capacitor code Wireless Module
Colour code: Some older capacitors use a form of colour code. This type of capacitor marking is used less (https://ad.doubleclick.net/ddm/clk/411424308;21221031
these days but may be seen on some components. https://www.digikey.com/en/articles/techzone/2017/nov/
the-right-fcc-ce-compliant-wireless-
Tolerance codes: Some capacitors have a tolerance code. The code used is actually the same as that used module)
with resistors, but for completeness this tolerance capacitor code is included here:
More Focus on Wireless (/tech-
EIA TOLERANCE CAPACITOR MARKING CODE
zone/digikey/)
LETTER TOLERANCE
Z +80%, -20% - this is used with electrolytic capacitors
FOCUS ON TEST (/TECH-
where the minimum value is the major issue.
ZONE/FOCUS_ON_TEST/)
M ±20%
K ±10% Pre-5G-NR Signal Generation and Analysis
J ±5% (https://www.rohde-
G ±2% schwarz.com/applications/pre-5g-nr-
F ±1% signal-generation-and-analysis-
D ±0.5% application-note_56280-493057.html?
C ±0.25% WT.mc_id=site_com_mc_141_re_17-
B ±0.1%
18__1ma308_ros_text-link___)
Characterization of SIGFOX Devices
Capacitor working voltage codes: One key parameter of any capacitor is its working voltage. This is widely (https://www.rohde-
marked on capacitors and particularly in situations where there is space for alphanumeric coding. In many schwarz.com/applications/characterization-
instances where the capacitor is small no voltage coding is provided and care must be taken if there is no of-sigfox-devices-from-lab-to-production-
marking on the reel or other storage container. line-application-note_56280-
502083.html?
WT.mc_id=site_com_mc_143_re_17-
EIA CAPACITOR VOLTAGE CODES 18__1ma294_ros_text-link___)
0G = 4.0VDC 1J = 63VDC 2D = 200VDC *
Increase the IP connection security of
0L = 5.5VDC 0k = 80VDC 2P = 220VDC
your IoT device (https://www.rohde-
0J= 6.3VDC * 2A = 100VDC * 2E = 250VDC * schwarz.com/applications/increase-the-
1A = 10VDC * 2Q = 110VDC 2F = 315VDC ip-connection-security-of-your-iot-device-
1C = 16VDC * 2B = 125VDC 2V = 350VDC application-card_56279-391458.html?
1E = 25VDC * 2C = 160VDC 2G + 400VDC * WT.mc_id=site_com_mc_143_re_17-18__ip-
1H = 50VDC * 2Z = 180VDC 2W = 240VDC connection-security-appcard_ros_text-
Voltage codes marked * are preferred rating values link___)
Characterization of LoRa Devices
On some SMD electrolytic and tantalum capacitors a one character code is used. This occupies much less (https://www.rohde-
space and bears many similarities to the EIA system. schwarz.com/applications/characterization-
of-lora-devices-application-note_56280-
507458.html?
SMD ELECTROLYTIC CAPACITOR VOLTAGE CODES WT.mc_id=site_com_mc_143_re_17-
LETTER VOLTAGE 18__1ma295_ros_text-link___)
e 2.5
More Focus on Test (/tech-
G 4
zone/focus_on_test/)
J 6.3
A 10
C 16 INDUSTRY CURRENTS BLOG (/INDUSTRY-
D 20 CURRENTS/)
E 25
V 35
H 50

Temperature coefficient codes


It is often necessary to mark a capacitor with a marking or code that indicates the temperature coefficient of the
capacitor. These capacitor codes are standardised by EIA, but also some other generally used industry codes may
also be seen in common use. These codes are typically used for ceramic and other film type capacitors.
Andrew Adams | ETAL Group

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Capacitor Codes | Capacitor Markings | Radio-Electronics.Com 06/02/2018, 01)37

The temperature coefficient is quoted in terms of parts per million per degree C; PPM/°C. A little thought on magnetics can save a
lot of energy (/industry-
currents/posts/a-little-thought-on-
COMMON TEMPERATURE COEFFICIENT MARKINGS
magnetics-can-save-a-lot-of-energy)
EIA INDUSTRY TEMPERATURE COEFFICIENT (PPM/°C)
Electromagnetic components like
C0G NP0 0
transformers and chokes are considered
S1G N033 -33
unglamorous, so frequently insufficient
U1G N075 -75
thought is given to their selection.
P2G N150 -150
Engineers will often simply re-use a device
S2H N330 -330
or even a power supply from a previous
U2J N750 -750
project, ignoring the fact that new and
P3K N1500 -1500
better components are available, allowing
them to save weight, improve efficiency or
Capacitor polarity markings reduce size. This article reviews some
recent developments that are creating new
One important marking for polarised capacitors is the polarity. Great care must be taken to ensure the polarity
optimised solutions across a range of
markings are observed when inserting these capacitors into circuits otherwise damage to the component, and more
applications.
importantly to the remainder of the circuit board can result. Polarised capacitors effectively mean aluminium
electrolytic and tantalum types.
TRAINING COURSES (/LEARNING-TRAINING-
Many recent capacitors are marked with the actual + and - signs and this makes it easy to determine the polarity of
COURSES/)
the capacitor.

Another format for electrolytic capacitor polarity markings is to use a stripe on the component. On an electrolytic Online - Effective
capacitor the stripe indicates the negative lead. Spectrum Analyzer
Measurements
If the capacitor is an axial version having leads at both ends of the package, the polarity marking stripe may be (/learning-training-
accompanied by an arrow that points to the negative lead. courses/courses_item.php?
For leaded tantalum capacitors the polarity markings indicate the positive lead. A "+" sign is placed close to the id=radio-
positive lead. When new, a further polarity making may be used because it may be seen that the positive lead is engineering/online---
longer than the negative one. effective-spectrum-
analyzer-
measurements-172)
Markings for different types of capacitor Learn how to make
Many larger capacitors like electrolytic capacitors, disc ceramics, and many film capacitors are large enough to have spectrum analyzer
measurements at RF and
their markings printed on the case.
microwave frequencies
On a larger capacitors there is sufficient space to mark the value, the tolerance, working voltage, and often other More training courses
data such as the ripple voltage. (/learning-training-
courses/)
There are a number of subtle differences in the capacitor codes and markings used for different types of leaded
capacitors:

Electrolytic capacitor markings: Many leaded capacitors are quite large, although some are smaller. As
such it is often possible to provide the complete value and details in a non-abbreviated format. However Forthcoming Events
many smaller electrolytic capacitors need to have coded markings on them as there is insufficient space. Mobile World Congress (/event/mobile-
world-congress-8)
A typical marking may fall into the format 22µF 50V. The value and working voltage is obvious. The polarity is Embedded World (/event/embedded-
marked by a bar to indicate the negative terminal. world-65)
Leaded tantalum capacitor markings: Leaded tantalum capacitors generally have their values marked in ElectroTestExpo (/event/electrotestexpo-
microfarads, µF. 81)
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electronica (/event/electronica-6)

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Typically the markings on a capacitor may give the figures like 22 and 6V. This indicates a 22µF capacitor with Mobile World Congress 2018: what will
a maximum voltage of 6V. we see? (/articles/cellular-
telecoms/mobile-world-congress-2018-
Ceramic capacitor markings: Ceramic capacitors are generally smaller than types like electrolytics and what-will-222)
therefore the markings need to be more concise. A variety of schemes may be used. Often the value may be
Long-range wireless networks can get a
given in picofarads. Sometimes figures such as 10n will be seen and this indicates a 10nF capacitor. Similarly
bandwidth boost from picocells
n51 indicates a 0.51nF, or 510 pF capacitor, etc . .
(/articles/wireless-technology/long-range-
SMD ceramic capacitor codes: Surface mount capacitors are often very small and do not have the space wireless-networks-can-get-a-221)
for markings. During manufacture the capacitors are loaded into a pick and place machine and there is no Beam forming for 5G communication
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SMD tantalum capacitor markings: Some tantalum capacitors like many of their ceramic counterparts do
not have a value marking ont hem. Possibly they only have the polarity marking to ensure that the capacitors
are inserted the correct way onto the circuit board.

Bar across one end of this tantalum provides the capacitor polarity marking

On the occasions that there is space for a marking or code, the simple three figure format like that shown
below is often used, especially for capacitors such as ceramic formats. For the example of the capacitor code
shown in the diagram, the two figures 47 indicate the significant figures and the 5 indicates the multiplier of
5, i.e. 100 000, i.e. 4.7µF.

Tantalum SMD capacitor code

In some cases the only marking shown on the capacitor may be a bar across one end indicating the polarity.
This is particularly important because it is necessary to be able to check the polarity and to have a marking to
identify the polarity of the capacitor. It is particularly important to have a capacitor polarity marking because
reverse biasing tantalum capacitors leads to their destruction.

Being able to read the value of a capacitor is particularly important. With so many different capacitor codes, it is
often necessary to have a basic understanding of the codes and apply them as appropriate for a particular
capacitor.

Although examples for capacitor markings have been given for different capacitor types, these can only be
examples of the more likely variants, and experience and a little practice will enable the values of most capacitors
to be determines.

By Ian Poole (https://plus.google.com/104687638164370436625?rel=author)

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