I am trying to create a capacitor bank and don't know what voltage to put through. Do i add the voltage of all the capacitors up and apply that or just provide the voltage for one.

e.g. If I have 10 16v capacitors can i apply 160v?

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Parallel or series? Parallel you can only charge to A MAX OF 16V. Even then I would not go over 10V. STacking them in series is rather more complicated. \$\endgroup\$
    – Trevor_G
    Apr 4 '18 at 18:22
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ You need to account for the capacitance tolerance and derate the voltage accordingly AND provide grading resistors in parallel. Long story short: DON’T! Buy 160 V rated caps instead. \$\endgroup\$
    – winny
    Apr 4 '18 at 19:00
  • \$\begingroup\$ What do you intend to use your cap bank for? \$\endgroup\$
    – Jason Han
    Apr 5 '18 at 2:14

If you have to lamps parallel on 230V each lamp has to be build for 230V.

Two capacitors in parallel are exactly the same. You may are speaking of calculating the capacity, which is indeed different then a parallel circuit of lamps/resistors.

Two capacities parallel are added together, whilst two in series are combined like two parallel resistors:

$$C_{series} = \frac{C_1 * C_2}{C_1 + C_2} $$ $$C_{parallel} = C_1 + C_2 $$

This can be explained as follow: Each capacitor has its plates. Two capacitors parallel are like two sets of separated plates which are connected. This builds one larger set of plates and therefor a bigger capacity since

$$ C=ε_0⋅\frac{A}{d}.$$

If you put those capacities in series, each one is only exposed to a part of the voltage. The distance from the "upper most" plate to the "lowest" plate instead grew. If you look in the formula above, one can see that a capacitie is inversely proportional to the distance.


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