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Capacitor Color Codes – How To Read Capacitor Value? Calculator

How to know the Value of Capacitance of a Capacitor using Standard & Color Codes – Calculator & Examples

Same like the resistor color codes, there are special indications like bands, dots or points are printed on different types of capacitors which are used to show the value of capacitance of a capacitor, its voltage rating and tolerance etc. The use of different colors on a capacitor to show its values and characteristics is known as capacitor color coding.

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Click on image to enlarge

How To Read Capacitor Value

Capacitor Standard Codes

Generally, the values of capacitance, voltage rating, tolerance and even the polarity (in case of polarized capacitor) are printed on the large size capacitor. On the other hand, for small capacitors like mica and ceramic capacitors, color codes are used to indicate their values (generally) in pF (picofarad).

The value of ceramic disk capacitors lower than 1000pf is printed on it in the form of digits and numbers. For example, the only number “300” is printed on a capacitor of 300pf.

Those capacitors having capacitance of 1000pf or more, their values can be read by the 3 digits numbers (e.g. 102. 103, 105 etc.) printed on it. These 3 digits color coding can be read as follows.

  • 102 = 10 x 102 = 1000 pF (picofarad)
  • 103 = 10 x 103 = 10,000 pF (picofarad)
  • 105 = 10 x 105 = 1,000,000. pF (picofarad) = 1 μF (microfarad)

Reading Value of Large Cylindrical Capacitors (Polarized & Non-Polarized)

Generally, the overall rating is written and printed on these capacitors. For example

The fig 2 (a)

  • The value of capacitance is 47 μF (microfarad).
  • The value of maximum voltage this capacitor bears is 400V DC

The fig 2 (c)

  • The value of capacitance is 1200 nF (nanofarad).
  • The value of maximum bearable voltage is 500V.
  • The value of tolerance is ± 5%. e.g. variation of capacitance in plus minus.

The fig 2 (c)

  • The value of capacitance is 1200 μF (microfarad).
  • The value of maximum voltage is 63 V DC.
  • The value of tolerance is ± 20%.
  • The value of temperature coefficient is -40 to +105°C.

The fig 2 (d)

We will show a solved example and table (see fig 3) below to show how to read the value of ceramic capacitors

  • The value of capacitance is 0.01 μF (microfarad).
  • The value of maximum voltage is “2G” (400V).
  • The value of tolerance is “J” ± 5%.

Click on image to enlarge

Capacitor Standard Coding

Keep in mind that polarized and non-polarized capacitors as well as AC and DC capacitors can only be used according to the specifications. For example, A DC capacitor can’t be operated at AC supply and vice versa until and unless mentioned in the user Manual. The VDC and VAC are mentioned on the capacitor rating nameplate with negative (-) sign for negative terminal on it.

The following symbols and units are used to represent the values of capacitance of capacitors in  Microfarad (μF), Nano-farad (nF) & Picofarad (pF).

Symbol Abbreviation Value in Numbers
μF Microfarad 10-6
nF Nano-farad 10-9
pF Picofarad 10-12

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Reading Value of Small Capacitors (Ceramic)

For small capacitors like ceramic, tantalum, film capacitors etc., the area is very small hence it is not possible to print the value of capacitance and voltage on it. This way, some special notations are used e.g. digits, numbers and alphanumeric characters which indicates the different characteristics and values of capacitors. Generally, the values of these capacitors are in pF (picofarad 1 x 10-9).

Let me show how to read the value of ceramic capacitors?

2 Numerical Values:

If the ceramic capacitor has two numerical values, or any two digits and a letter like 33P, it means the value is 33 picofarad.

  • If there is a letter in the middle of two digits like 6R2, it shows:

For example: 6R2 = 6.2 pF.

  • If the first or middle letter is “μ”, “p” or “n” instead of R, it represents the main units of capacitance such as

For examples:

  • 5μ = 5 Microfarad
  • 3μ1 = 3.1 Microfarad
  • P42 = 42 picofarad
3 Numerical Values:

Most of the ceramic capacitors have three numerical values printed on it. For example, 103, 104, 105 etc. Let’s see how to read these values. Suppose the printed value on the ceramic capacitor is “103”

  • 103 = 10 x 103 = 10,000 pF (picofarad)

Similarly, if the specials marking code on the ceramic capacitor is 105:

  • 105 = 10 + 5 Zeros = 1,000,000 pF
  • = 1000 nF = 1 µF

Tolerance of Ceramic Capacitors

There are Capital letters printed on the ceramic capacitor except the value of capacitance such as 22M.

The following table shows the tolerance for ceramic capacitors indicated by Letters.

Letters Tolerance in %
A ±0.05 pF
B ±0.1 pF
C ±0.25 pF
D ±0.5 pF
E ±0.5%
F ±1%
G ±2%
H ±3%
J ±5 %
K ±10%
L ±15%
M ±20%
N ±30%
P –0%, + 100%
S –20%, + 50%
W –0%, + 200%
X –20%, + 40%
Z –20%, + 80%

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Value of Standard Capacitor Codes

The following table shows the standard value of standard capacitor codes and letters markings printed on it.

Code Microfarad “μF” Nanofarad “nF” Picofarad “pF” Code Microfarad “μF” Nanofarad “nF” Picofarad “pF”
100 0.00001 0.01 10 225 2.2 2200 2200000
101 0.0001 0.1 100 254 0.2 200 200000
102 0.001 1.0 1000 330 0.000033 0.033 33
103 0.01 10 10000 331 0.00033 0.33 330
104 0.1 100 100000 332 0.0033 3.3 3300
105 1.0 1000 1000000 333 0.033 33 33000
121 0.00012 0.12 120 334 0.33 330 330000
131 0.00013 0.13 130 335 3.3 3300 3300000
150 0.000015 0.015 15 470 0.000047 0.047 47
151 0.00015 0.15 150 471 0.00047 0.47 470
152 0.0015 1.5 1500 472 0.0047 4.7 4700
153 0.015 15 15000 473 0.047 47 47000
154 0.15 150 150000 474 0.47 470 470000
155 1.5 1500 1500000 502 0.005 5.0 5000
181 0.00018 0.18 180 561 0.00056 0.56 560
202 0.002 2.0 2000 562 0.0056 5.6 5600
205 2.0 2000 2000000 681 0.00068 0.68 680
220 0.000022 0.022 22 682 0.0068 6.8 6800
221 0.00022 0.22 220 683 0.068 68 68000
222 0.0022 2.2 2200 684 0.68 680 680000
223 0.022 22 22000 751 0.00075 0.75 750
224 0.22 220 220000 821 0.00082 0.82 820

Capacitor Color Codes

How to Read Capacitor Color Codes?

Except marking and alphanumeric codes, different color codes are also used to identify the value of a capacitor. These colored bands (on ceramic tubular capacitors) or dots ( on Mica capacitors) are printed on the outer surface of the capacitor.

Click on image to enlarge

Capacitor Color Codes

Capacitance of Capacitor Color Code

The value of a capacitor having five color bands (or 5 dots) can be read using the following table.

In the following tables, the first three color bands show the value of capacitance, the fourth band as tolerance in percentage and the fifth band shows the temperature coefficient. For example:

  • 1st Color Band = First Number of Value of Capacitor.
  • 2nd Color Band = Second Number of value of Capacitor.
  • 33rd Color Band = The number of Zeros (as multiplier) with the first two digits of capacitor (In numbers).
  • 4th Color Band = Tolerance in percentage.
  • 5th Color Band = Temperature coefficient.

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Table for 5 bands color codes for ceramic capacitors

Band Color 1st Digit 2nd Digit Multiplier Tolerance (%) Temperature Coefficient
Above 10pf Below 10pf
BLACK 0 0 1 ± 20% ± 2.0pF 0
BROWN 1 1 10 ± 1% ± 0.1pF -30
RED 2 2 100 ± 2% ± 0.25pF -80
ORANGE 3 3 1,000 ± 3% -150
YELLOW 4 4 10,000 ± 4% -220
GREEN 5 5 100,000 ± 5% ± 0.5pF -330
BLUE 6 6 1,000,000 ± 6% -470
VIOLET 7 7 ± 7% -750
GREY 8 8 0.01 +80%,-20% ± 0.25pF +30
WHITE 9 9 0.1 ± 10% ± 1.0pF +120-750
GOLD 0.1 ± 5%
SILVER 0.01 ± 10%

Table for 4 bands color codes for ceramic & tubular paper capacitors with voltage rating (especially for dot color code for mica and molded paper capacitors).

Band Color Significant Figure Decimal Multiplier Tolerances (%) Voltage Rating
BLACK 0 1
BROWN 1 10 1 100
RED 2 100 2 200
ORANGE 3 1,000 3* 300
YELLOW 4 10,000 4* 400
GREEN 5 100,000 5 500
BLUE 6 1,000,000 6 600
VIOLET 7 10,000,000 7 700
GREY 8 100,000,000 8 800
WHITE 9 1000,000,000 9 900
GOLD 0.1 5 1000
SILVER 0.01 10 2000
No Color 20 500

* Voltage Rating for K type Capacitors

** Multiply by 10 for tubular paper capacitors.

Voltage of Capacitor Color Code

Band Color Type “J” Type “K” Type “L” Type “M” Type “N”
BLACK 4 100 10 10
BROWN 6 200 100 1.6
RED 10 300 250 4 35
ORANGE 15 400 40  –
YELLOW 20 500 400 6.3  6
GREEN 25 600 16 15
BLUE 35 700 630  – 20
VIOLET 50 800  –  –
GREY 900 25 25
WHITE 3 1000 2.5 3
GOLD  –  2000  –
SILVER  –

Note: The letters of “J”, “K”, “L”, “M” & “N” shows the following types of capacitors

  • Type “J”  =  Dipped Tantalum Capacitors
  • Type “K”  =  Mica Capacitors
  • Type “L”  =  Polyester & Polystyrene Capacitors
  • Type “M”  =  Electrolytic Four-Bands Capacitors
  • Type “N”  =  Electrolytic Three-Bands Capacitors

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The following fig shows how to read the bumblebee capacigor color codes with a solved example of 0.047µF (equivalent to 47000 pF or 47 nF).

How to Read Bumblebee Capacitor Color Code

How to Read Color Codes for Disc & Ceramic Capacitors?

Color codes for non-polarized mica molded and polyester capacitors like ceramic and disc capacitors are an old school method (BS-EN 60062) and hence replaced by the capacitor marking ( BS-1852 Standard) with alphanumeric codes. If you still find the old age color coded capacitor, you may identify the value of the ceramic capacitor using the following example (see fig 3(c) and 3(d).

Capacitor Color Codes Calculator

The following 5-bands capacitor calculator will calculate the value of capacitance of five colored strips printed on a capacitor. This calculator supports 5-colored strips and values of capacitance in F (Farad), µF (micro-Farad), nF (nano-farad) and pF (pico-farad). Just select the color codes of the capacitor and click on calculate for the desired value of capacitance, Its tolerance and maximum voltage of the (Type K) capacitor.

First Digit Second Digit Multiplier Tolerance Max Voltage
Capacitance:
Tolerance:
Max Voltage:

Capacitor Code to Capacitance Value of Capacitor Calculator

The following capacitor value calculator calculates the values of capacitance for ceramic capacitors. Just put the capacitor code marking such as “103” and click on calculate. The result will show the value of capacitance of ceramic capacitor in μF (microfarad = 1×10-6), nF (nano-farad = 1×10-9) or pF (picofarad = 1×10-12).

Enter Values
Enter 3 Digit Capacitor Code:
            
Capacitor Value:
pF – (PicoFarads)
nF – (NanoFarads)
μF – (MicroFarads)

Capacitance Value to Capacitor Code Calculator

The following capacitor code calculator calculates the code of capacitance for ceramic capacitors. Just put the value of capacitance of ceramic capacitor in μF (microfarad = 1×10-6), nF (nano-farad = 1×10-9) or pF (picofarad = 1×10-12) and click on calculate. The result will show the code of capacitance of ceramic capacitors such as “103”, “104”, “105” and so on depending on the input value.

Enter Values
Capacitance:
            
Capacitor Code:

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Capacitor Standard & Color Code Charts

The above tables are given below in images & charts for reference. (Click images to enlarge)

Value of Standard Capacitor Codes
Value of Standard Capacitor Codes
Table for 5 bands color codes for ceramic capacitors
Table for 5 bands color codes for ceramic capacitors
Capacitance of Capacitor Color Code
Capacitance of Capacitor Color Code
Voltage of Capacitor Color Code
Voltage of Capacitor Color Code
Tolerance of Ceramic Capacitors
Tolerance of Ceramic Capacitors
values of capacitance of capacitors in  Microfarad (μF), Nano-farad (nF) & Picofarad (pF)
values of capacitance of capacitors in  Microfarad (μF), Nano-farad (nF) & Picofarad (pF)

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