Condenser 104: what does this mean?

Very often from beginners and from people far from radio electronics, but for some reason or other faced with the repair of electronic devices, you can hear such questions: "Condenser 104 - what does this mean? How to understand the meaning of marking capacitors? "In this article, we will try to popularize this question.

Such marking of capacitors (104) can only be for ceramic products. This is due to the fact that they, unlike electrolytic ones, have rather small overall dimensions, and accordingly there is simply no place on their case for full and detailed recording of all necessary information, such as product capacity, type and so on.

The ceramic capacitor (104) is a natural part of any radio electronic circuit. These products are used wherever it is necessary to work with signals that change their polarity. Ceramic capacitors have excellent frequency characteristics, low leakage currents, insignificant losses, small size and low cost. In those schemes where the characteristics described above are required, ceramic capacitors are simply indispensable, but until recently the problems associated with the technological process of their production have given these devices a niche of devices with small capacity. More recently, ceramic capacitors with a capacity of 10 μF were perceived as exotic, the cost of such products was unreasonably high. The development of modern technologies has allowed several firms to reach 100 μF capacity in ceramic capacitors to date, and to announce the imminent achievement of even greater values. In addition, prices for all groups of these products are constantly decreasing.

Now we turn to the labeling of ceramic capacitors. It can be of two types: three and four characters. At us marking "104", the condenser with such form of record has to do with the three-character coding. The decoding of this type is quite simple: the first two characters indicate the capacitance in picofarads, and the last one - the number of zeros. Let's see what the "104" capacitor means. It turns out that the first two digits (10) mean capacity, and the last (4) - the number of zeros. Hence, labeling 104 means 100,000 pF (100 nF, or 0.1 μF). As you can see, everything is very simple. This form of writing can encode a minimum value of 1.0 pF, it will have the following form: 010. If it is necessary to write the capacitance value less than one picofarad, use the Latin letter R. This record will have the following form: 0R5, which means 0.5 pF. If the capacitance value is less than 1.0 pF, then the last digit is set to 9, this does not mean that 9 zeros must be appended. Here is an example of such a record - 109 (1.0 pF), 159 (1.5 pF) and 689 (6.8 pF).

Now consider the four-character marking of ceramic capacitors. In this form of recording, the first three digits mean the capacity in picofarads, and the fourth the number of zeros.

So we dismantled what the capacitor "104" means. Now, if you need ceramic capacitors, you can easily figure out what the capacitance value is written on one or another element. And you do not have to seek help from specialists.

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