Top 5 Things to Look for When Buying Vintage Capacitors

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Electronics enthusiasts often enjoy the sound produced by antique devices, which is unique and difficult to reproduce through other means. Due to the breakdown of the electrical components over time, these devices often require replacement of the capacitors. It is also possible to upgrade equipment and performance by replacing the capacitors, which generally improves sound quality and reception. Vintage capacitors in antique radios, microphones, amplifiers, and other electrical devices often need replacement. eBay is a reliable resource for antique replacement items. The wide variety of different types of capacitors found on eBay and in local high street shops makes it quick and easy to find the required component.
1 Types of Vintage Capacitors
Types of Vintage Capacitors

Begin researching the type of capacitor needed. Make sure to obtain the appropriate voltage capacity. Capacitors are electrical devices that store a charge to power electronics. One of the most common types is the paper capacitor, which is 20 mm to 40 mm long. These round or flat capacitors have a covering of yellow wax-coated paper. Flat capacitors are brown or black and are 15mm long. The smaller tubular capacitor resembles a tube with wires attached at both ends. Some less common capacitors include the ceramic or mica versions. These are normally square shaped. Learn more about the different types of capacitors from online sources use the pictures as a guide.


2 Voltage Rating
Voltage Rating

The voltage rating is the highest voltage the capacitor holds. Most capacitor brands list the voltage on the case. You may need to remove some of the wax coating to read the voltage. Others are color coded according to voltage. In order to identify the color coding system for these types, use a schematic or chart that lists voltage for a variety of models.


3 Capacitance Value

Vintage capacitors list a capacitance value, which is the amount of electrical charge the unit holds. Newer capacitors list ratings with Nano-Farads values, while vintage capacitors use Micro-Farad and Pico-Farad values. When purchasing a vintage capacitor, refer to the schematic to check these values. Conversion charts help identify the proper value.


4 Effectiveness of the Vintage Capacitor
Effectiveness of the Vintage Capacitor

The effectiveness of a vintage capacitor depends on its condition. If there are cracks in the casing, it is likely the unit cannot work properly. If there is corrosion or build up on the terminals, scrape, or clean debris from the capacitor. Some vintage capacitors are salvageable with just a bit of work. Using a capacitor meter to test the function level is the only way to be sure the capacitor still works properly. When replacing capacitors, replace one at a time so that if there is a failure, the faulty component is easily identified.


5 Condition

As with anything vintage, time takes a toll on electrical components. Some capacitors have damage to the outer casing, but still work properly. Although it is impossible to determine functionality from a visual inspection, there are some things to watch for that may affect performance. Examine the unit for cracks or damage to the casing. Check for loose terminals and missing pieces. Leakage is the most common issue with vintage capacitors. Test for leakage with a capacitor meter. Capacitors in poor condition lead to short circuits, drifts in capacitance value, and opens. Any of these issues lead to failure of the equipment and damage to other components. Experts recommend fully testing components prior to installation to protect other components from damage. As with anything vintage, even testing cannot guarantee the unit operates properly once installed.


How to Buy Vintage Capacitors on eBay

When searching for vintage capacitors, eBay is an excellent resource. First, determine the type of capacitor required and the voltage requirements. Review the results carefully and make sure the seller tests the capacitor, as this is the only true way to know if it holds a charge. Request a photo of the meter reading of the test from the seller before purchasing. Consider the condition and test results listed before making a purchase. If the meter test indicates 80 per cent of the listed voltage, the capacitor is in good condition. It would be wise to purchase extras in case of failure. Always check out eBay Deals just in case that perfect item is the deal for the day. Daily deals on specific items result in significant savings. Check out the deals for the day before searching the listings for vintage capacitors.
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