Buying Guide of Aluminum Electrolytic Capacitor

The aluminum electrolytic capacitor remains a much popular choice in the power supplies because of its low cost. Today these electrolytic capacitors are used in huge quantities. They are cost effective and give a larger capacitance per volume as compared to other capacitor types. This provides many uses in circuits where low frequencies or high currents involved.

This type of electrolyte is mainly used in many applications such as in power supply circuits. However, they have limited life and sensitive to both cold & hot temperature extremes. Like other types of capacitor, it is essential to understand the pros and cons of these capacitors to make them be used effectively.

Things to consider before buying aluminum electrolytic capacitor:

Many buyers of passive components think that capacitors are interchangeable and even generic. Not like ICs, it is easy to find various manufacturers of components with the similar specification for most passives. However, some important difference in how these devices will perform in various applications and how to continue to do the task over time. It is true especially in the case of capacitors. Keep the following things in mind before buying a capacitor.

Looks are not everything:

Do not be fooled by capacitors, which look the same physically. For many years, capacitors have continued to change and improve as well as utilizing better or newer manufacturing technologies. However, it does not mean that device look outwardly different from the component replaced. It is because not all manufacturer may keep up with this improvement. Some major brands do remain with current technology that results in longer life and improved performance.

Know from whom you are buying:

Always buy capacitors from authorized distributors or purchase directly from manufacturers. All aluminum electrolytic capacitor dry out over time, weakening performance specification, and losing capacitance because of their physical nature. If you purchase from a non-franchise, then you may have a product that is near or past their date code. As like sell-by-date in grocery products, you will not determine the quality of the product with these date code. Date codes are not easy to decode.

Do not stay in the old buying pattern:

In the recent years, higher performance capacitors have become less expensive. Therefore, if you are still using a general use device, then it is time for a fresh look because higher temperature and lower ESR devices become cheap. Even some newer capacitor types have dropped in price.