Wound Film Capacitors

Screen Shot 2015-10-14 at 4.55.54 PM

Wound Film Capacitors
Source: Arizona Capacitors, Inc.

Wound film capacitors are classified as passive electronic components that can store an electrical charge. They consist of a pair of conductors separated by a dielectric. The dielectric stores the charge when an electric static field is created between the two conductors. This capacitance that is stored is measured in a unit called farads.

Wound film capacitors are wound with a machine much like a wirewound resistor or a transformer. They can have many different types of dielectrics. These capacitors can be wound on paper, plastic, polystyrene, Teflon, polypropylene, polycarbonate, or polyester. The configurations can vary just as much as the dielectrics and they can be purchased as a standard product or custom designed to a customer’s specifications or requirements. They can be manufactured in the form of a wrap and fill, preformed case, tubular hermetic, molded, a welded case, and many more.

The capacitance can range from 50pf to 500uf and the voltages can range from 30 to 250 KVDC. So, the wound film capacitors can fill the needs of many different specific applications and for many different industries.

Some of the industries Arizona Capacitors, Inc. serves, for example, includes: railroad, audio, communications, power generation, medical equipment, aerospace, electronic controls, automotive, just to name a few. The wound film capacitor has been around for decades and will be a staple for energy storage for many decades to come.

Microwave SMA Terminations

Screen Shot 2015-10-14 at 2.10.09 PM
Res-net Microwave SMA Terminations

RF and Microwave SMA terminations are a type of high frequency passive electronic component. With most RF and microwave systems operating in 50 Ohm characteristic impedance, the need to insure maximum power transfer and minimize signal reflections is evident. This can be accomplished with an SMA termination. Just like an SMA connector, they screw into place and are thus also referred to as a connectorized or coaxial termination.

They are similar to all terminations, in that their purpose is to terminate a signal in any given circuit. In essence, they are absorbing the incident power. If unused ports, such as a test instrument, are not “terminated” they can cause interference by having the signal reflected back from the end.

The physical part consists of the connector type, SMA body, as well as a rod resistor, but disk resistors are also sometimes used as a substitute. The rod resistor is a cylindrical thin film type resistor that usually operates up to 26.5 GHz in frequency range, depending on the size of the rod.

The metal work or connector body can come in a variety of metals, but brass and copper are very popular. The SMA termination can also be plated in silver or gold and sometimes tin, depending upon the application and the customers’ preferences. Since it is a connector with threads, it is easy to install. It screws on just as a nut would on a bolt.

Air Coils

Screen Shot 2015-10-13 at 12.42.46 PMAir Coil

Screen Shot 2015-10-13 at 12.42.31 PMFour Lead Air Coil

Air coils are actually inductors that do not contain a core, but instead use the surrounding air. Being classified as an air coil or an inductor means they are considered a passive electronic component.

Air coils are sometimes referred to as “self supporting” coils because there is no core to hold their shape. They are wound on a fixture or mandrel. Usually a special bondable wire must be used with either an electric current being passed through the wire to heat and cure the coating, or a solvent is used to activate it. These methods enable the wire to adhere to itself and thus hold its shape. In order for this to work, the heat or applied solvent must be applied while the winding is still on the metal mandrel. They are then removed once the wire “cures”.

Some air coils are wound by hand, but most are done on an automatic winding machine. This minimizes the about of direct labor and thus the component’s cost. This is one of the major benefits to using an air coil.

There are several other benefits to using an air coil in a design, if the electrical parameters allow for it. One of these benefits, as mentioned above, is the price. Not just because of the reduced labor, however, but a minimum amount of raw material as well helps to keep this product at a lower price than many of its counterparts.

A second advantage is that the inductance’s are unaffected by the current that is being carried. This benefit is due to the lack of an actual core.

A third benefit is the lack of iron or core losses. This, as one might imagine, is also due to the fact that there is not an actual core present to create these losses in the winding.

Finally, the fourth benefit is that they can operate at higher frequencies than those with a physical core. This ties back to the core losses, as they go higher in frequency the losses become greater. As electronics go higher and higher in the frequency spectrum, this becomes a tremendous advantage for using air coils in future circuit board designs.

1553 Data Bus Transformers

Raycom 1553 Data Bus Transformers

The first MIL-STD-1553 data bus specifications were published by the United States Air Force in 1973 for the F-16 Fighting Falcon. Now, however, it is used extensively by many branches of the United States military, as well as for NATO.

The “Bus” itself is a wire pair that operates with an impedance of between 60 and 85 ohms at a frequency of 1 MHz. The actual data bus transformers are used in this specification where the transmitters and receivers couple. The transformer is used in tandem with a resistor to ensure that the bus does not conduct current through the aircraft. Also, it is used to reduce any impact from a short circuit.

There are only a few transformer manufacturers that are certified to produce the MIL-STD-1553 data bus transformers. This is mainly because it is a difficult specification to meet and an even more difficult one to become certified to build. Since this is used in flight applications, quality must be the primary focus in the manufacture and testing of these parts.

Furthermore, there are only about three companies that produce a transformer that can actually interface in all the various 1553 data bus circuits. There have been some compatibility issues identified with transformers and transceivers and Raycom Electronics has redone their design to address these specific issues. It is one thing to meet a specification, but quite another to have a product that will work in all the various types of applications. Raycom Electronics, is one of these companies.

There has been discussions over the years that fiber-optics would eventually make the 1553 data bus obsolete. but time has proved this to be incorrect. One of the main reasons being that fiber-optics would be almost impossible to repair. It is more likely that RF would eventually supplant the 1553 data bus, but that appears to be very far off in the future.

EMI Filters

CS-EMI-FilterCustom Suppression EMI Filter

EMI Filter by Custom Suppression


EMI filters (Electromagnetic Interference), also known as RFI filters (Radio Frequency Interference), are vital passive electronic components. Filters in general, as the name implies, are used to “filter” out the unwanted frequencies in an electronic circuit.

EMI filters are used more specifically to suppress the electromagnetic interference, which is essentially just a high frequency noise. This noise is an undesired emission that can cause the malfunctioning of a circuit or equipment. These types of EMI/RFI (interference) can be found in power supplies, microprocessors, and AC motors. This interference can be generated inside an electrical device by impedance and voltage variances in the conductors. It can also be generated outside the device via telephone lines and power cords, just to name just a few.

EMI filters can be further categorized as “Low Pass” filters. This means that they block out the high, and in this case, unwanted electromagnetic frequencies and allow only the lower frequencies to pass through.

Two of the most important components of an EMI filter are inductors and capacitors. They are critical in the reduction of the interferences that are being suppressed. The capacitors that are used are referred to as shunting capacitors because they feed the current in a specific range into the inductors that reduce the voltage as the pass through.

The EMI filter reduces the EMI or RFI by restricting the flow of high frequency signals thereby attenuating the unwanted signal strength. Without these critical components certain circuits wound be unable to function properly, making EMI/RFI filters a vital part of many electronic circuits.