Capacitors in Series

22 Jan, 2020 | Quest Components
Capacitors in Series

Capacitors in Series

When a group of two or more identical capacitors are daisy-chained together, the resulting capacitor bank is classified as capacitors in series or capacitors in parallel. Generally speaking, capacitor banks are used to improve the power factor of electricity consumed in bulk. Capacitor banks reduce losses by mitigating the effect of inductance from heavy loads. While the most common association people have with capacitor banks is the fenced in rows of capacitors at their local public power stations, if you’re reading this blog post on a smartphone, you’re likely holding a capacitor bank in your hand right now.

What is a Capacitor Bank?

Just like individual capacitors, capacitor banks are used to store electrical energy and condition its flow. By linking two or more capacitors of the same rating together in series or in parallel, the capacity of energy that can be stored on a single device is increased.

Capacitors in parallel have the same applied voltage and their total capacitance is calculated by simply adding together the capacitor values for each individual unit. Capacitors in series are able to achieve a higher working voltage, but the total capacitance is less than that of a single capacitor’s capacitance.

Whether a capacitor bank is comprised of capacitors in parallel or in a series depends on the application.

Typical Uses for Capacitor Banks

Whenever energy must be stored electrically for easy access, capacitor banks are an option. Some of the most common uses for capacitor banks include:

  • Shunt capacitors , a mechanism in which an electric current is allowed to pass around a different point in a circuit by creating a low-resistance path. High-frequency noise can be redirected to ground by capacitors used in electrical noise bypass applications. These capacitor banks improve the overall quality of an electrical supply, boosting the efficiency of power systems.
  • Power-factor correction, in which capacitor banks correct power-factor lag or phase shift in AC power supplies in electric motors and transformers. Capacitor banks do the job of correcting power-factor by counteracting inductive loading from motors and transmission lines. With the addition of capacitor banks, additional load can be added to a system without changing the apparent power.
  • Storing energy, just as individual capacitors do. Capacitor banks store electric energy when they’re connected to charging circuits, then release this same energy when discharged. Any electric device that maintains a power supply while being charged is using a capacitor bank.

Sizes of Capacitor Banks

As mentioned above, a common type of capacitor bank is that used by a power station. Capacitor bank applications can be much bigger than this, and also much smaller. One particularly large capacitor bank is that of the Lincs Wind Farm, off the coast of the United Kingdom. Mobile phones and other rechargeable devices use tiny tunable capacitor banks.

Capacitor Bank Fusing

Capacitor bank fusing may be:

  • Internally fused, in which the individual can that contains the bank is made from series groups of parallel capacitor elements, with each individual element being used within the can.
  • Externally fused, in which groups of parallel capacitors operate with a single shared external fuse.
  • Fuseless, which uses an external fuse and more elements than fused capacitors. This prevents a single element from causing cascading failures.

Learn More About Capacitor Banks

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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