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Doubts about electrolytic capacitor

cloudff7

New Member
Electrolytic capacitor kept unused for many months or year suffers depolarization, short circuit and loss of capacitance?

I have a technical friend in electronics and he instructed me to use my old electronic devices once a month for 30 minutes because if I do not follow this guidance, electrolytic capacitors can depolarize, short circuit and lose capacitance

is this information true or false?
 

Nigel Goodwin

Super Moderator
Most Helpful Member
Electrolytic capacitor kept unused for many months or year suffers depolarization, short circuit and loss of capacitance?

I have a technical friend in electronics and he instructed me to use my old electronic devices once a month for 30 minutes because if I do not follow this guidance, electrolytic capacitors can depolarize, short circuit and lose capacitance

is this information true or false?
Neither really - it's a gross exaggeration though.

If you've got a 70 year old radio, that's not been used for 30 years - then it's quite dodgy just 'plugging it in' - you should 'reform' the antique electrolytic's by applying a 'gentle' low current feed to them, to allow them to reform slowly. If you just plug them in, then they can explode.

But certainly months shouldn't be an issue, and only multiple years is likely to be, and mostly on VERY old electrolytics.

Electrolytics do have finite lifespans though, and some modern ones are really crap - with VERY short design lives.
 

cloudff7

New Member
I don't have any device to apply a low current to a stopped electrolytic capacitor for 20 or 30 years. My only option is to turn the device on but I don't want it to explode so what would be the maximum period without using the electrolytic capacitors without them exploding? , do not lose capacitance, do not short circuit, do not depolarize


I have old electronics since 1989 until today all have electrolytic capacitors
 

JimB

Super Moderator
Most Helpful Member
The answer is the same as those you received on the other website (AAC).

JimB
 

unclejed613

Well-Known Member
Most Helpful Member
i worked for a TV shop that had a re-forming setup, which consisted of several variable power supplies and a connection board with 1 and 2 megohm resistors on it. we would dial a power supply to the rated voltage of the cap, then connect the cap to the supply in series with the 1 or 2 meg resistor. then we would check the voltage drop across the resistor daily.. when the voltage indicated that the current was at or below the acceptable leakage current for that cap (usually on the order of a few nanoamps, translating to a voltage of a few millivolts across a 1Meg resistor), the cap was ready for use. a discharge switch on the board would disconnect the 1 meg resistor and connect a 10k resistor across the cap to safely discharge it. another use of the setup was if you couldn't get a particular high voltage cap, such as 1uF/500V, you could re-form a 4.7uF/100V into the required value (didn't always work, as differences in the formulation and construction might severely limit the extent that this could be done)
 

cloudff7

New Member
I need to find a maximum interval to use the devices and preserve the useful life of the electrolytic capacitors, my friend said to use every month for 30 minutes
 

Nigel Goodwin

Super Moderator
Most Helpful Member
I need to find a maximum interval to use the devices and preserve the useful life of the electrolytic capacitors, my friend said to use every month for 30 minutes
Do whatever you wish, but there's no such requirement, and even if there was it would vary wildly depending on exact circumstances. But any such possible requirement would be years, not weeks.
 

cloudff7

New Member
the manufacturers of electrolytic capacitror have no suggestion for my question? use 1x electrolytic capacitors per month for 30 minutes or longer than this to avoid depolarizing capacitor, short circuit and drying out
 

gophert

Well-Known Member
Most Helpful Member
I would simply plug it in when you need it and replace the bad caps if the caps ever fail. The most I would do is turn down the volume knob before I plug it in and let it sit for a while to "heal" any electrolytic cap holes that may form over time.

The most you can find on a capacitor datasheet is the lifetime (total hours) of usage. Each of those 30-minute episodes your "friend" recommended will contribute to the cap lifetime. The colder/cooler you can store the devices the better. As others have said, datasheets don't tell you how to recondition them on a reoccurring basis because it is BS.

And, no, it is not a big capacitor conspiracy where they don't list the interval because it is a secret and they want your device to fail... or is it?
 

gophert

Well-Known Member
Most Helpful Member
Also, I've heard on the dark web that a former Employee of a large capacitor manufacturing company said you should power up your device every 29 days for 29 minutes for "good results". For "even better results", he said you should hop on your left foot while plugging and unplugging the the device. He declined to say what would lead to the "best possible" results.
 

shortbus=

Well-Known Member
Most Helpful Member
The answer is the same as those you received on the other website (AAC).

JimB

And was found to be a troll that had been banned and came back under a new name. The same question and "doubts" on the same subject before.
 

JimB

Super Moderator
Most Helpful Member
And was found to be a troll that had been banned and came back under a new name. The same question and "doubts" on the same subject before.
Yes, someone who is a member of both ETO and AAC commented to that effect in a Report, that is why I am aware of posts on AAC.
I am not a member there, but I do "look over the fence" now and then.


No they don't - because your question is complete nonsense!.
I agree with that statement.

JimB
 

unclejed613

Well-Known Member
Most Helpful Member
use 1x electrolytic capacitors per month for 30 minutes or longer than this to avoid depolarizing capacitor, short circuit and drying out
1 hour every 5 years would probably work just as well... 30 minutes every month sounds better as a way to not forget how to operate the unit...
 

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