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Recommendations for Capacitor Resources

If you are new to electronics, you can find a very easy introduction to capacitors in the Capacitors Chapter of Lessons In Electric Circuits (allaboutcircuits). To test your knowledge, you could look at the Capacitance Section (for the foundations) or the Capacitors Section (for the more practical aspects) of the Socratic Electronics Project.

In the Fiegenbaum Video Lectures you can also find a very easy introduction to capacitors. See Part 1 (very easy explanation what a capacitor is and the factors that affect its capacitance), Part 2 (elementary calculation of the capacitve reactance in an AC circuit, very short introduction to different capacitor types. A better explanation of capacitor types is in McLean, see the link below) and Part 3 (elementary calculations of capacitors in series and in parallel).

The Basic Electronics Tutorials contain a Capacitor Tutorial. Pages 2 and 3 contain a description of several capacitor types and capacitor characteristics. On page 5 is an explanation of capacitor color codes, but please note that these are obsolete, you might only see them on old capacitors. More useful are the explanations of the number and letter code according to BS 1852 and BS EN 60062.

If you already understand the basics, you can find a detailed discussion of all types of capacitors in chapter 4 of Analog Electronics Lecture Notes by Dr. Peter McLean, University of Technology, Sydney.

For the design of precision circuits, the app note AN348 Avoiding Passive Component Pitfalls from Analog Devices has some very valuable tips. Capacitors are covered on pages 1 - 3, including a discussion of parasitic elements, temperature effects and dielectric absorption.

You can find a more detailed discussion of dielectric absorption in Understand Capacitor Soakage to Optimize Analog Systems by Bob Pease (capacitor soakage is just another name for dielectric absorption).

One important application of capacitors is decoupling. You can find a short introduction to this in Lecture 5 by McLean (see link above) and a more detailed discussion with some warnings about what you have to avoid in SLOA069 How (Not) to Decouple High-Speed Operational Amplifiers by Bruce Carter.

On this page I have mostly listed resources that discuss the properties of real capacitors as individual passive devices. If you are more interested in calculating electric circuits that contain capacitors, you should have a look at some resources on basic linear circuit analysis.

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