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Electrolytic and Tantalum Capacitor Life?

Discussion in 'Electronic Basics' started by Bill Bowden, Aug 21, 2008.

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  1. Bill Bowden

    Bill Bowden Guest

    Capacitor specs seem a little confusing about expected lifetimes. It
    seems to depend on various factors of temperature, current, frequency,

    Just as a general rule, how many continuous hours of operation would
    you expect from a electrolytic or tantalum capacitor assuming the
    charge/discharge cycle is fairly long at maybe 1 cycle per second?

    Which will live longer, Electrolytic or Tantalum, and does packaging
    make much difference (SMD verses axial leads)?

  2. Phil Allison

    Phil Allison Guest

    "John Larkin"
    ** Aluminium electros are made with excess electrolyte inside - to allow
    for evaporation loss over lifetime. The first sign that loss has reached the
    limit is the ESR (or internal impedance) begins to rise. Not until the ESR
    has risen by a large factor, maybe 10 to 100 times, will the actual
    capacitance value drop.

    This is the reason service techs always use ESR meters to test electros,
    rather than capacitance bridges.

    Also, I have seen many electros that have good ESR readings and full
    capacitance when they are 50 years old.

    ..... Phil
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