Author Topic: Tantalum vs. Electrolytic Caps  (Read 4498 times)

BlackFlag1313

Tantalum vs. Electrolytic Caps
« on: February 28, 2005, 03:27:42 PM »
Anybody have a tone preference of tantalum over electrolytic or vice versa?  How about regarding noise?  Is one superior to the other, generally?     :?:

petemoore

...
« Reply #1 on: February 28, 2005, 03:36:28 PM »
Tants are used at NASA, they're very stable IIUC, and last long.
  I read all about these things and use electrolytics...unless a schematic shows a tant, probably then too,
Convention creates following, following creates convention.

Joe Kramer

Tantalum vs. Electrolytic Caps
« Reply #2 on: February 28, 2005, 04:14:51 PM »
Hi!

It's true that tantalums are stabler and don't age like electrolytics.  I don't think they have any effect on noise in the signal path.  They have lower ESR than electrolytics, which means they look like a lower resistance to the rest of the circuit, and which in a given case might work better.  The "sound" of tantalums is controversial.   Audiophiles tend to hate them, although they are used in the signal path of the most coveted Neve gear.  It's a fact that tantalums don't like to be reverse-biased,  which is what happens if they are used a coupling caps in a bipolar-powered circuit, because this causes crossover distortion.  However, in a single-supply circuit (like a stompbox) where there is a DC bias on the coupling cap, there's no problem of crossover distortion.  The only big downside of tantalums is, they cost about ten times more than the equivalent electrolytic, and the price of tantalum happens to be going up because of limited supply of the mineral.

Joe
Solder first, ask questions later.

www.droolbrothers.com

Paul Perry (Frostwave)

Tantalum vs. Electrolytic Caps
« Reply #3 on: February 28, 2005, 06:21:17 PM »
If tants ever get REALLY expensive, it will be worth getting surface mount ones out of old cell phones :wink:
There is only one place I *have* to use a tant, it calls for a high value low leakage cap (nowadays I'd redesign the circuit..)

The Tone God

Tantalum vs. Electrolytic Caps
« Reply #4 on: February 28, 2005, 06:37:20 PM »
From our beloved search function:

http://www.diystompboxes.com/sboxforum/viewtopic.php?t=23923

http://www.diystompboxes.com/sboxforum/viewtopic.php?t=16596

http://www.diystompboxes.com/sboxforum/viewtopic.php?t=16466

Search criteria used: "tantalum electrolytic" using "Search for all terms" option.

There will be other posts on the topic as well.

Andrew

Alpha579

Tantalum vs. Electrolytic Caps
« Reply #5 on: February 28, 2005, 09:57:00 PM »
i tend to use tants over electro's, but never use either as a coupling cap....
Alex Fiddes

sir_modulus

Tantalum vs. Electrolytic Caps
« Reply #6 on: February 28, 2005, 11:27:35 PM »
I agree with the above post. At my electronics store, they have them cheaper than electro's (these are bulk..electros are indiv. packaged for most values). I find them to be less noise, and more durable (have you ever ruined an electro by putting the board somewhere, and finding that someons sat on it and bent the leads outa the cap?!?!)

Cheers,

Nish

brett

Tantalum vs. Electrolytic Caps
« Reply #7 on: March 01, 2005, 02:27:59 AM »
I use tants, but only where I know the power supply will be regulated.  When tantalum caps fail they sometimes catch on fire.

I've heard that bad transformers and bad tants in small appliances (such as clock radios)are significant causes of house fires and deaths.

It sounds plausible.  Anyway, in stompboxes things are probably safe enough.
Brett Robinson
Let a hundred flowers bloom, let a hundred schools of thought contend. (Mao Zedong)

BlackFlag1313

Tantalum vs. Electrolytic Caps
« Reply #8 on: March 01, 2005, 04:19:19 PM »
Quote from: brett
I use tants, but only where I know the power supply will be regulated.  When tantalum caps fail they sometimes catch on fire.

I've heard that bad transformers and bad tants in small appliances (such as clock radios)are significant causes of house fires and deaths.

It sounds plausible.  Anyway, in stompboxes things are probably safe enough.


I had a tant cap fail once that caught on fire (9V stomp box.)  Scorched the inside of the enclosure.  Scary looking mess.

BlackFlag1313

Tantalum vs. Electrolytic Caps
« Reply #9 on: March 01, 2005, 04:26:42 PM »
I talked a bunch with Dan Armstrong (Miss him).  He said that George Meriam (Co-designer Orange Squeezer) was very insistent in the importance of tantalum caps in the original Musitronics/Armstrong boxes.   I use them but I've never noticed any considerable improvement, truth be told.  (Plus see previous post.  Anybody have any info on them catching on fire.  Why would NASA use them then?)

Paul Perry (Frostwave)

Tantalum vs. Electrolytic Caps
« Reply #10 on: March 01, 2005, 06:42:46 PM »
I've never seen a tant explode when it was used within its ratings.
here's an info sheet about caps from an EE course:
http://leonardo.eeug.caltech.edu/~ee14/lab1cds.html