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Beginner question, but at least my Google skills didn't yield any results. Why do some capacitors have 5 terminals? Such as this one

enter image description here

What are they used for?

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Since your capacitor bears the BC components and Vishay logos, I'm surprised Google didn't at least get you close to: vishay.com/docs/28346/051053pe.pdf \$\endgroup\$ – EM Fields Sep 8 '14 at 18:53
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Check out this data sheet of the Vishay capacitors that look alike the one you showed. It seems the extra pins are for mounting, since it's a big capacitor.

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    \$\begingroup\$ +1 ; the exact datasheet for this line of Vishay capacitors is vishay.com/docs/28346/051053pe.pdf , link provided by EM Fields - it'd be nice if the answer would include that instead of TDK, since it is, in fact, Vishay's one. \$\endgroup\$ – vaxquis Sep 8 '14 at 22:13
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    \$\begingroup\$ @vaxquis You are right, I edited accordingly. I didn't notice the Vishay brand on the photo the first time, although I came accorss that data sheet as well and selected the TDK, for I liked the detailed pinout drawings. \$\endgroup\$ – Sergio Sep 9 '14 at 7:58
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Sergio: Note Fig. 7 and 8 on the Vishay data sheet. \$\endgroup\$ – EM Fields Sep 9 '14 at 21:28
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This could very well be multiple capacitors in one package, probably with a shared negative (-). The legend states "1 = 220 uF". Are there also markings like "2 = xyz uF", and are the connections by any chance marked -, 1, 2, etc?

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  • \$\begingroup\$ I don't have one, I was just looking at auctions on a local site and started to wonder. Thank you for educating a beginner, I think it probably is that, I will accept the answer if the time limit comes :) \$\endgroup\$ – Limiter Sep 8 '14 at 16:10
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For completeness, motor "capacitors" are often more than one actual capacitor bundled into a single package, and thus have more than two leads. A very common example is the start/run capacitor usually found in air-conditioning units.

I don't think your image is one of these though.

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