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Components and Circuits For discussions about component types, alternatives and availability, circuit configurations and modifications etc. Discussions here should be of a general nature and not about specific sets.

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Old 10th Oct 2019, 1:47 am   #1
Join Date: Mar 2019
Location: Wigan, Lancashire, UK.
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Default Capacitors to stock?

Hello everyone, I'm very new to this game with not much knowledge in either practical or technical. So my question is a very basic one. By knowledge, I mean just the odd cap changed here and there. But recently I've acquired a couple of sets which need more than the odd cap change. So my question would be, "what would be the best comprehensive multi buy of capacitors, to give me the most assortment of choices of what I'm likely to need?" I ask because the choices of what's out there is many.
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Old 10th Oct 2019, 6:48 am   #2
Radio Wrangler
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Default Re: many choices

There are so many, you might as well buy as needed, though you may pick up bargain collections at radio rallies and fleamarkets. Every now and then people on here may offer boxes of them when they're having a bit of a clear out.

Don't worry, your collection of bits will grow, and your need will swing round into identification

Everyone started out with no knowledge whatsoever. Unfortunately some people forget this and can be a bit of a pain, but I find the people on here have their feet planted firmly on planet Earth and understand how they grew their knowledge. It gives them the patience to spend the time to explain things at whatever pace someone needs. As a source of advice or learning, the only time the forum fails is when someone asks "Which xxxxxx should I buy?" and then the drown under a thousand replies, all different

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Old 10th Oct 2019, 7:31 am   #3
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Default Re: many choices

You don't say whether they are valve or transistor sets. Companies like Justradios sell sets of high voltage capacitors for valve radios but quite likely there will be a lot there that you will never use. Probably two or three values will cover most of your needs.

The golden age is always yesterday - Asa Briggs
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Old 10th Oct 2019, 7:49 am   #4
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Default Re: many choices

BVWS have a swap meet in Golborne 3rd of Nov. They usually have a stall selling capacitors and lots of radios.
Worth a trip there, your location states Wigan so you are not far from there. Its not a big event but friendly and you may feel like joining.
Has David says buy as you need, 5 pack when you need 4, you will soon have a good store.
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Old 10th Oct 2019, 8:11 am   #5
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Default Re: many choices

It would also depend on which brand you adopt, as the excellent (previous) advice has mentioned, you may only need a few capacitor values, and a few packs of resistors, as in some sets the various chassis/models share identical parts.

Gathering wire can be useful, but you'll soon find your 'stash' will grow and soon be offering the excess right on this very forum.

It's great fun coupled with a wealth of expertise.

Slowly turning the 'to-do', into 'ta-dah'
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Old 12th Oct 2019, 7:43 am   #6
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Default Re: Capacitors to stock?

If you ask ten people "Which widget should I get?", you probably will get 20 different answers. In which case, that just means they probably are all as good as each other, so you needn't get too worked up about the differences between them -- use "availability" as the final tie-breaker.

If ten voices are singing the same name in concert, though, there probably is a clear winner.
If I have seen further than others, it is because I was standing on a pile of failed experiments.
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Old 12th Oct 2019, 9:39 am   #7
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Default Re: Capacitors to stock?

To begin buy only what you need!! David in Fife said what you needed to hear.
A year or two and the other half will be wailing about "all the junk".
Buy what you need for now.
My best wishes for your education in your new career.

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Old 12th Oct 2019, 10:01 am   #8
Diabolical Artificer
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Default Re: Capacitors to stock?

As David says, your cap stash will grow because you often have to buy 5 caps when ordering and often buy more than needed to round your bill up. Also it doesn't matter how many caps you have, you never have the one you need.

That said if working on valve stuff, 10u 350v axial caps are in loads of circuits, like the 1k/10k/100k resistors, 47u 25v and 47u 350v also. Also grab a few 0.01u 630v axial, the yellow ones, they are used extensively as coupling caps. With transistor stuff the cap value range is a lot wider, as is the voltage range, but a few 1u, 10u, 100u, 1000u in various voltage values will come in handy. However if you get 63v rated caps, these will cover most applications, EG you can use a 63v rated part instead of a 35v one, sort of.

When buying caps, try and get those made by manufacturers with a good reputation, like Vishay, Sony, Panasonic, Rubicon etc and if you can afford it use 105 degree specked parts.

Another wrinkle is to grab any old TV's or other old stuff and take out the PCB's and unsolder the caps and any other decent parts. On the whole the poly and ceramic caps will still be ok and the electrolytics can be used for prototyping or as a stopgap substitute, once you've checked they're ok.

Curiosity hasn't killed this far.
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Old 12th Oct 2019, 11:20 am   #9
David G4EBT
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Default Re: Capacitors to stock?

You don't say where your interests lie, which obviously has a bearing on the type of components you'll need, and their working voltages.

For valve radios, the favoured replacement capacitors for tubular axial lead 'waxy' paper ones tend to be the yellow 630V polyester film ones. They're avaiable from a wide range of suupliers - Farnell, RS, Rapid Electronics, etc. Theyr'e often sold in lots of five, ten or more, so if you buy them as needed, you usually have them by return of post, and over time, you tend to build up stocks of the more commonly used valuers, without ending up with some that you'd never use.

I generally get mine from a UK supplier on eBay - 'Dunkselectroshop':

630V polyester axial lead capacitors, 5% tolerance in a range of values in packs of ten, typically 3.50 - 4.50 plus 99p post:

Cricklewood, sell them, typically 1.50 - 2.00 each plus 1.50 post.

They're also available at BVWS events to anyone, or by mail to members only.

Some restorers seem to prefer radial leaded 'box' shaped Metallised Polyester Film Capacitor, which are a little more compact. They're usually 10% tolerance and come in a range of voltages, 100V 250V 400V 630V. To cover most needs, the 630V ones are the best choice. Available from several UK suppliers. I get mine from an eBay shop, typically 1.49 for ten post free, so over time, a personal stock of the most commonly used values tends to build up:

For low voltage use on homebrew projects or transistor radio repair/restoration, I usually use 'Mylar' polyester film capacitors with radial leads. You can get them in packs of several useful values. I bought one of these packs some time ago and still have lots left. The packs are so cheap that it hardly matters if there are some in the assortment that never get used: 700pcs of 24 Values, Mylar Polyester Film Capacitor Assortment Pack Kit DC 100V C4R7 11.71 UK supplier:

As well as capacitors, when restoring vintage valve radios, resistors are often well outside of tolerance, which originally tended to be either 10% or 20%. I generally replace any that are much over 20%. Valve radios commonly used half-Watt and a few 1Watt resistors, but modern half-Watt replacements are so tiny that they look out of place and not up to the task, even though they are. As replacements, as with other restorers, I use 2 Watt carbon film ones, which look more in keeping and cover most eventualities as there are few resistors in most radios above 2 Watts.

I know that some restorers prefer to steer clear of aBay and use only companies such as CPC/Farnell and RS, and are wary about buying components from China. It's a personal choice, (but where else do they suppose that components are manufactured, whoever sells them?). I recently bought a pack of 150 carbon film 2 Watt 5% tolerance resistors in 30 useful values from 1K Ohm to 2M Ohm 5% from a supplier in China. There may be some I never use, but at 5.09 & 1.00 p&p for a pack of 150, it doesn't really matter. They arrived in 25 days and on a sample that I've checked, they're well within the 5% tolerance, in fact mostly spot on:

Hope that's helpful.
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Old 12th Oct 2019, 11:46 am   #10
Station X
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Default Re: Capacitors to stock?

Here's my stock of capacitors used to repair valve gear. Mainly polypropylene types rated at 1000VDC on the basis that they can be used anywhere in a circuit.

Lower values are seldom needed. Larger values, which will of course be electrolytics, I buy as needed.
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Old 12th Oct 2019, 12:11 pm   #11
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Location: Hereford, UK.
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Default Re: Capacitors to stock?

For valve radios this is what I like to have available.Polypropylene , or even old polyester 400v or 630v, 0.001uf, 0.0022, 0.0047, 0.01, 0.022, 0.047, 0.1 , 0.2. 0.47. You will get through lots of the 0.047 and 0.01. You may also need class X2/Y1 safety capacitors to go across the mains or for mains isolation, most commonly used values 0.1, 0.01. Electrolytics 10, 22,33, 47uf at 350 volts, sets with an energised speaker may need 450v. You can use lower voltage , 50v for cathode bypass. You need to consider the ripple current rating when buying Electrolytics to be used as the reservoir capacitor, 100ma should be adequate for a typical 5 valve domestic set. Post crossed with above.
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