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Old 2nd Oct 2012, 9:00 am   #1
Station X
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Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: Ipswich, Suffolk, IP4, UK.
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Default Replacement non-electrolytic capacitor values.

A question which frequently arises in the forums is "What value of capacitor do I use to replace this one from my vintage radio? They don't seem to make this value any more".

Confusion arises firstly because preferred values of capacitors have changed and secondly because today the value of capacitors is frequently expressed in nF rather than uF.

A bit of terminology. The unit of capacitance is the Farad named after Michael Faraday and given the symbol 'F'. However the Farad is far too large a unit for practical purposes. Therefore the microfarad is used and given the symbol uF. A uF is one millionth of a Farad. Nowadays there is a tendency to use nanofarads which are given the symbol nF. A nanofarad is one thousand millionth of a Farad or one thousandth of a microfarad.

You can replace Hunts and similar waxed paper capacitors with the following values. As well as capacitance, capacitors also have a working voltage. You must make sure that the working voltage of a new capacitor is equal to or greater than that of the capacitor it replaces.

Replace 0.001uF with 0.001uF or 1nF.
Replace 0.01uF with 0.01uF or 10nF.
Replace 0.1uF with 0.1uF or 100nF.
Replace 1uF with 1uF

Replace 0.015uF with 0.015uF or 15nF.

Replace 0.002uF with 0.0022uF or 2.2nF.
Replace 0.02uF with 0.022uF or 22nF.
Replace 0.2uF with 0.22uF or 220nF.

Replace 0.003uF with 0.0033uF or 3.3nF.
Replace 0.03uF with 0.033uF or 33nF.
Replace 0.3uF with 0.33uF or 330nF.

Replace 0.004uF with 0.0047uF or 4.7nF.
Replace 0.04uF with 0.047uF or 47nF.
Replace 0.4uF with 0.47uF or 470nF

Replace 0.005uF with 0.0047uF or 4.7nF.
Replace 0.05uF with 0.047uF or 47nF.
Replace 0.5uF with 0.47uF or 470nF

Service sheets for vintage radios sometimes do not show a 0 (zero or nought) to the left of the decimal point. The value of the capacitor is still the same though. So 0.01uF is the same as .01uF.
Graham. Forum Moderator

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