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Different Sizes Of Electrolytic Capacitors

By on November 20, 2009


If the original size of an electrolytic capacitor is bigger than the one that you want to replace (smaller in size but with the same microfarad and working voltage), will the replacement capacitor work? Some may say that it will work but  would not last. Okay, my answer to you is that it will work and will last depending on what brand of electrolytic capacitor you are using. I have tested many (smaller size capacitor than the original) of them and so far no problem with it.

Different manufacturers produce different sizes of electrolytic capacitor, as long as the value and the working voltage is the same then you can use it. However, i came across a case where i installed a low quality capacitor (sometimes hard to differentiate between a good and a low quality capacitor) and the moment i powered On it, the capacitor produced a “pop sound” and i could see smoke coming out from the cap. I bought quite a number of it and after replacement from the same supplier, the capacitor never blow again.



  1. Bill C

    April 2, 2011 at 1:35 pm

    Hi, I have a question, I have a hafler audio power amp that I wanted to but a larger uf value capacitors in. they came with 10,000 uf 75 volt caps 51mm in diamiter,I have been told that more capacitance is better, I have room to add 1 cap in parallel to the existing caps, 13,000 mf 75v but.. they are smaller in size 35mm and a bit shorter. My question is. will this help me? sound wize , my friend just replaced his with 20,000 mf caps the same size and got great results soundwize. can I beef mine up by added a cap to each one even though they are a bit smaller? thanks

  2. Bill C

    April 2, 2011 at 1:38 pm

    Some more info on my comment.
    The caps that came with the Hafler 220 power amp(100w per ch) are Mepco/electra, the ones I was thinking about adding in parallel are Cornell Dubilier. I do not know the quality of either, it is hard to find information on this subect, I was going to just use my ears, thanks again

  3. admin

    April 4, 2011 at 12:32 am

    HI Bill,

    I personally have not done that before where adding a capacitance can improve the sound. If your friend told you that it can work better then you can try this link:


  4. Paul Sulwer

    April 8, 2011 at 3:56 pm

    Hello, I think my question is similar to Bill C's; mine doesn't apply to an audio circuit, but to something like a PC power supply or motherboard.

    I've heard different opinions and am just wondering if it's acceptable to replace an electrolytic capacitor with one of a slightly larger capacitance (if that's all that's available on hand), as long as it has the same or better voltage rating? For example, can I safely replace something like a 1000uF 10v capacitor with a 1500uF 16v capacitor?



  5. admin

    April 9, 2011 at 1:21 am

    Hi Paul,

    Yes you can. Sometimes if I'm out of the 470 uf, i will put in 1000uf cap.


  6. Paul Sulwer

    September 16, 2011 at 8:21 pm

    Thanks - I think we also are offered some leeway since the tolerance of electrolytics isn't very tight anyhow.
    Some say they're the Achilles heel of most electronics. Many companies seem to use cheaper quality electrolytics to reduce costs and they'll work fine during the warranty period, but fail shortly thereafter. It's gotten to the point where we now see manufacturers brag about using higher quality capacitors in their products!

    Best regards,


  7. Raul

    September 16, 2012 at 3:04 pm

    Hi. Great post. I have a 4700uf 10v capacitor which is 12.5mm in diameter. I need to have the same microfarad and working voltage but a smaller diameters for my circuit board. I can't seem to find any. Do you know where or if I can get hold of one? Or is there a work around as the capacitor I have a too big in terms of physical size and dimensions

    • Jestine Yong

      September 17, 2012 at 2:10 am

      Hi Raul,

      Sorry no info on such cap. I suggest that you email the electronic suppliers to see if they have any smaller diameter cap.



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