Other brands of Capacitors?

Discussion in 'Amps/Cabs Tech Corner: Amplifier, Cab & Speakers' started by aortizjr, Feb 2, 2005.


  1. aortizjr

    aortizjr Member

    Messages:
    144
    Joined:
    Nov 24, 2004
    Location:
    Santa Fe, NM
    I am re-capping a Mesa MKIII...

    For that I am hunting down some 220uF 300V (or higher V) caps. In that search I started seeing other brands running around.

    I have always gone with Sprague/Vishay since they sound good and have long life-spans. Sprague doesn't make the 220uF anymore and Powerlytics (another Vishay company) you can't find a place that has them in stock.

    So how do these compare. I am more concerned with longevity. I don't want to have to re-cap for a while.

    Illinois Capacitors
    F&T Capacitors

    Those two are pretty much the only ones that have the 220uF in 300+ VDC that are axial. I could go radial and add some leads, but that is going to mean I will have to glue them in place and such. Eck!

    However, what about these others just for comparision:

    Xicon
    Nichicon
    LCR
    Auricap
    Solen
    JJ
    Weber

    What are your experiences? Sound, reliability, longevity, price? Any other brands out there?
     
  2. TheAmpNerd

    TheAmpNerd Member

    Messages:
    1,063
    Joined:
    Sep 23, 2004
    Location:
    Tejas
    Why don't you just call Mesa Engineering and purchase
    the caps from them. They probably have what you are
    looking for.

    They will probably also tell you, you don't need a cap
    job yet, unless you are really retentive. Mike is not
    recomending any MkII C+ for caps jobs yet and
    I presume the MKIII is right there too.

    Call and see: 707.778.6565.

    That is what they say though. I have an acient Alembic
    F2B pre which Alembic says didn't need caps either.
    Though new caps really made it come alive!

    Avoid IC caps.

    Nichicon makes great caps! So does Panasonic.

    Good luck and let us know what you decide and
    how it works out.
     
  3. ekp

    ekp Member

    Messages:
    402
    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2003
    Location:
    Berkeley Springs, WV
    I use Cornell Dublier (spelling??) Have had no problems. I did an amp for PRS and used some sort of radial. Try the Mouser catalog or website.

    As far as small caps go, I tested them for harmonic creation and ceramic was the only one, although of the electrolytics I only tested aluminum ones.

    Have a great day.
     
  4. TheAmpNerd

    TheAmpNerd Member

    Messages:
    1,063
    Joined:
    Sep 23, 2004
    Location:
    Tejas
    So, to clarify, the only caps testing positive for harmonics
    were ceramics?

    AND

    You also tested aluminum electrolytics, and they tested
    negative for harmonics?

    Just checking.
     
  5. aortizjr

    aortizjr Member

    Messages:
    144
    Joined:
    Nov 24, 2004
    Location:
    Santa Fe, NM
    I thought of that actually. But I am assuming that Mesa caps will be expensive (considering their tubes are through the roof).

    You are right, I may not need a cap job. All of the filter caps test out ok. But I have one of the 30uF 500VDC caps that tests at 0uF and is leaking. Plus I have a few smaller ones on the board that have drifted beyond tolerance. Oh and the amp sounds pretty weak.

    So I figure spend the extra $30 or so and time to recap the filter caps as well. The amp is pushing 20 years (early no-stripe MKIII) and I got it used so I am not sure what use it was under. Plus if I loose a PT, that will be much more expensive than spending the time now to work on it.

    Plus newer caps often sound better.
     
  6. aortizjr

    aortizjr Member

    Messages:
    144
    Joined:
    Nov 24, 2004
    Location:
    Santa Fe, NM
    Also for the filter caps, I am debating using 250uF since they are a bit easier to find. Going up usually gives better bass response.

    However, it is actually 2 in parallel. So I wonder if that would be too much of a bump. So that would be basically 440uF to 500uF. Maybe I will see if I can get some that are in the -% area :)
     
  7. aortizjr

    aortizjr Member

    Messages:
    144
    Joined:
    Nov 24, 2004
    Location:
    Santa Fe, NM
    Any reason why to avoid IC caps? Bad sound, short life?

    I will definitely let you know what I decide.
     
  8. RussB

    RussB low rent hobbyist Silver Supporting Member

    Messages:
    10,877
    Joined:
    Jul 3, 2004
    Location:
    connecticustan
    Lord Valve at NBS Electronics sells a UCC 220uf/500v cap...but it's radial. He says they're quite small for their rating. I went ahead and bought 2 for my newly-aquired Mesa 50cal+

    Callin Mesa might be a great idea. They have always been very good to me with requests in the past.
     
  9. ekp

    ekp Member

    Messages:
    402
    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2003
    Location:
    Berkeley Springs, WV
    To be precise, I was primarily interested in signal caps, like paper and polyester, mylar, polystyrene, ceramic and I did an aluminum electrolytic too. I got old paper ones from Angela and new polyesters and some older caps that I had laying around from the 60's, and I bought some new tiny ceramics. Of the bunch only the ceramics produced harmonics.

    Also, if the ceramic has no bias it will produce odds only, if it has bias it will produce both. However, since this was a spectrum analyzer and not an synchronized FFT, I have no idea about phasing on the odds...

    So when you consider that the ESR of the caps is quite low realtive to the circuit impedance, any of those other caps work quite well. Also, if you only use small ceramics the harmonics sill be quite high frequency. So I use aluminum electrolyics for the big ones, polyesters over their available range and fill in the rest with ceramics.

    Have a great day, Eric
     
  10. aortizjr

    aortizjr Member

    Messages:
    144
    Joined:
    Nov 24, 2004
    Location:
    Santa Fe, NM
    Just an update, for my specific application

    I really wanted to stick to Axial and avoid Radial. I couldn't find anything on F&T, so I got Ruby Caps from Parts Express. Kind of expensive, but I trust Ruby (I think their tubes are decent) over some place I have never heard of.

    We shall see how they work out.
     
  11. Hwoltage

    Hwoltage Member

    Messages:
    9,367
    Joined:
    May 6, 2010
    Location:
    Corvallis, Oregon
    So... How did it turn out?

    :D
     
  12. TweeDLX

    TweeDLX Member

    Messages:
    3,778
    Joined:
    Mar 24, 2008
    Location:
    Port Angeles, Washington
    I use both F&T, and IC caps with no problems FWTW. Just because stuff costs more, doesn't always make it "better". Filter caps don't affect tone like coupling and tone caps do. They mainly affect the "feel" of an amp. IC's tend to get a bad rap because they're inexpensive, and used in so many production amps (Peavey, Fender, etc). These wave-soldered amps tend to fail and develop problems more frequently because the solder joints break. Just my $.02
     
  13. big mike

    big mike Fixed Bias Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
    19,898
    Joined:
    Oct 31, 2003
    Location:
    Raider Nation
    Revenge of the zombie threads....

    F&T are fine BTW.
     
  14. Chrome Dinette

    Chrome Dinette Silver Supporting Member

    Messages:
    14,460
    Joined:
    Aug 4, 2005
    Location:
    Pittsburgh, PA
    I have never had a problem with Illinois caps, either.
     
  15. TweeDLX

    TweeDLX Member

    Messages:
    3,778
    Joined:
    Mar 24, 2008
    Location:
    Port Angeles, Washington
    I didn't realize this was an ancient thread... sheesh! I need to drink more coffee before I post here. :bonk Oh well...the info might help someone else.
     
  16. zzmoore

    zzmoore Member

    Messages:
    6,476
    Joined:
    Sep 22, 2006
    Location:
    USA, California, 94585
    Nobody has.....other than Fender,,,,but those were OEM parts that never got involved with the "consumer" market.
    Xicon
    F&T
    IC
    Nichicon.....
    Those brands have held up fine for me, in guitar amp PS for the last 4-5 years.
    Best
     

Share This Page