# Understanding the color code of a capacitor

In the design of capacitors today, almost all of them have their actual values of capacitance, voltage, or tolerance marked onto their body in form of alphanumeric characters. Today you’ll get to know the color codes of a capacitor in tabular and also the voltage color code of a capacitor.

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## Capacitor color codes

The color codes of capacitors are marked on their body so that they can be easily characterized and understand by electricians. These color codes indicate the value of capacitance, voltage, and tolerance of the capacitor. When a value of capacitance is marked as a decimal value, the decimal point will not be easily noticed. This will result in a misreading of the actual capacitance value. Instead of letters like p (pico) or n (nano), decimal points are used to identify the position and the weight of the number.

Let take for instance, a capacitor can be marked as, n47 = 0.47nF, 4n7 = 4.7nF or 47n = 47nF and so on. Also, capacitors are sometimes marked with the capital letter K to signify a value of one thousand pico-Farads, so, a capacitor of 100K would be 100 x 1000pF or 100nF. The confusion of the labeled letters, numbers, and decimal points can reduce by using the international color-coding scheme. It was developed many years ago as a simple way of identifying capacitor values and tolerances. It consists of a color band, that is in spectral order, known as the capacitor color code system.

## Capacitor color code table

The table below shows the color code of capacitors:

 Band Colour Digit A Digit B Multiplier D Tolerance (T) > 10pf Tolerance (T) < 10pf Temperature Coefficient (TC) Black 0 0 x1 ± 20% ± 2.0pF Brown 1 1 x10 ± 1% ± 0.1pF -33×10-6 Red 2 2 x100 ± 2% ± 0.25pF -75×10-6 Orange 3 3 x1,000 ± 3% -150×10-6 Yellow 4 4 x10,000 ± 4% -220×10-6 Green 5 5 x100,000 ± 5% ± 0.5pF -330×10-6 Blue 6 6 x1,000,000 -470×10-6 Violet 7 7 -750×10-6 Grey 8 8 x0.01 +80%,-20% White 9 9 x0.1 ± 10% ± 1.0pF Gold x0.1 ± 5% Silver x0.01 ± 10%

Read more: Understanding capacitance in AC circuits

## Capacitor Voltage Color Code Table

 Band Colour Voltage Rating (V) 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

Read more: Understanding the charge in a capacitor

## Capacitor Voltage Reference

Type J – Dipped Tantalum Capacitors.

K – Mica Capacitors.

L – Polyester/Polystyrene Capacitors.

M – Electrolytic 4 Band Capacitors.

N – Electrolytic 3 Band Capacitors.

The use of capacitor color code is given as:

### Disc & Ceramic Capacitor

Read more: Understanding Capacitor Voltage Divider

However, the capacitor color code system is not present in use. It was employed a long time ago on unpolarized polyester and mica molded capacitors. But there are still many old capacitors around which is why the color code system is still necessary. Nowadays, capacitors such as disk and film types conform to the BS1852 standard and its new replacement, BS EN 60062. The color system has been replaced by a latter or number-coded system.

Normally, the code is of 2 or 3 numbers and an optional tolerance letter code to identify the tolerance. When two number code is used, the value of the capacitor is given in picofarads, for example, 47 = 47pF and 100 = 100pF, etc. For a three later code, it consists of two value digits and a multiplier just like the resistor color codes in the resistors section. Let take for instance, the digits 471 = 47*10 = 470pF. You should know that three-digit codes are often accompanied by an additional tolerance latter code.

### Capacitor Tolerance Letter Codes Table

The table below shows the capacitor tolerance latter codes:

 Letter B C D F G J K M Z Tolerance C <10pF ±pF 0.1 0.25 0.5 1 2 C >10pF ±% 0.5 1 2 5 10 20 +80 -20

Consider the capacitor below, it is a ceramic disc type that has the code 473J labeled on its body. So, the 4 is the 1st digit, 7 is the 2nd digit, and the 3 is the multiplier in pico-Farads, pF, and the letter J is the tolerance. This can be translated to 47pF * 1,000 (3 zero’s) = 47,000 pF or 0.047uF and the J represents tolerance of +/- 5%.

Now you can see using numbers and letters as codes on the body of capacitors makes it easy to determine their value. Their capacitance values are either in pico-Farad’s, Nano-farads, or Micro-farads. All of these international codes are given in the following table and their equivalent capacitance.