Capacitor values vary over an enormous range. At the bottom end of the scale capacitor types such as silver mica, and some ceramic types may only have capacitances of a few pico-Farads. At the other end of the scale electrolytic capacitors may have values of many hundreds or thousands of micro-Farads. In the middle of the scale capacitor types such as ceramic, polyester and a number of other types may have values measured in nano-Farads.
Capacitor value prefixes
In view of the enormous range over which capacitor values can vary a number of different prefixes may be used. This prevents confusion with large numbers of zeros attached to the values of the different capacitors.
The main prefixes used for capacitor values are given in the table below.
SI prefixes for sub-multiples of ten
as used with capacitor values.
These prefixes are the standard SI prefixes and multipliers that are used throughout industry. They enable the significant figures of the capacitor value to be given along with the multiplier. In this way it is easier to comprehend and to remember.
Capacitor conversion table
There is a certain amount of overlap. There are many instances where two components of the same value may be quoted in different ways: one may be quoted in terms of pico-Farads and another in terms of nano-Farads. For example 100 nF is the same as 0.1 micro Farads. The chart below quickly helps show what which values are the same and how many nano-Farads makes a micro-Farad and so forth. It can be used as a quick reference guide for capacitors, or any other electronic component when looking at different items from different manufacturers.
Capacitor conversion table for pico-Farads, nano-Farads, and micro-Farads
|micro-Farads (mF)||Nano-Farads (nF)||Pico-Farads (pF)|
Using the capacitor conversion table it is possible to quickly check the relationship between two capacitors with different markings. In this way it is possible to see whether they capacitor values are the same or not.