Condition Capacitors

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When you use larger electrolytic capacitors, it's a good idea to condition them first. This is especially true for capacitors which have been in storage for a while, but isn't a bad idea for new ones either (because even though they're new they'll start to degrade if they've been on the shelf for a while). Conditioning helps to lower the leakage currents caused by degraded electrolytic material.

Condition the caps by applying your supply voltage through a 1k ohm resistor. Keep the voltage applied until the voltage drop across the resistor drops to within 1-2% of the supply voltage for about an hour. This could take up to 24 hours. Repeat using a 100 ohm reistor. If you're going to condition multiple capacitors at the same time (as shown in the picture), use a separate resistor for each one. Bigger...

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Copyright 2008 by Dave Hylands