Capacitor Voltage Divider

26 Feb, 2020 | Quest Components
Capacitive Voltage Divider

Capacitor Voltage Divider

Voltage dividers are one of the fundamentals when it comes to understanding electronics and circuits. There are a few different types of voltage dividers in electronics, but the basic concept behind all of them is that they are all passive linear circuits that produce an output voltage that is less than the input voltage. In short, they do exactly what their name implies, taking a larger amount of voltage and dividing it for a smaller output. The voltage divider distributes the input voltage, thus decreasing the output. There are resistive dividers, low-pass RC filters, and inductive dividers, but today, we’re going to talk more about the fourth type of voltage divider: the capacitive voltage divider.

What Is a Capacitive Voltage Divider?

Capacitive voltage dividers use capacitors as a means of dividing voltage. Specifically, this is accomplished by connecting capacitors in series; the input voltage is applied across each of the capacitors. The voltage each individual capacitor in the network receives may be either equal or unequal, depending on the capacitance values. Like resistive circuits, capacitors in series used as a voltage divider network are not affected by changes in supply frequency; each capacitor in the network is affected equally by any change in the frequency.

A capacitor divider is a network of series connected capacitors. Each of the capacitors in series have an AC voltage drop across it. Capacitive voltage dividers use the capacitive reactance value of the individual capacitors to determine the voltage drop, which means this type of voltage divider works only on frequency driven supplies. This is why a capacitance voltage divider cannot be used to divide DC voltage; capacitors block DC, so no current is able to flow.

The ratio of the voltages across each capacitor is the inverse of the ratio of the capacitance values of each individual capacitor in the series. When capacitor values differ, the larger value capacitor charges itself to a lower voltage than the smaller value capacitor. Capacitive dividers are limited in current by the capacitance of the elements used, which is the opposite effect of resistive division and inductive division.

Applications for Capacitive Voltage Dividers

There are many applications for capacitive voltage dividers, both in everyday electronics and specialized uses. These include:

  • Colpitts oscillators
  • As a substitute for mains transformers
  • Capacitive touch-sensitive screens that change output voltage when touched by a finger
  • Audio equipment

If you’re looking for network capacitors to use as a capacitance voltage divider, Quest Components has a wide array of options for you to choose from. Our team can help you choose the best solution for your application.

Learn More About Quest Components Capacitors

Quest Components’ network capacitors can be used as capacitance voltage dividers. If you have questions about capacitors, our expert electricians are available to help. Call (623) 333-5858 today to inquire about a product or place an order or search and order capacitors here. We look forward to working with you.

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