Close this search box.

How to Combine Nonpolar Capacitors?

How to Combine Nonpolar Capacitors

Table of Contents

Unlike polarized capacitors, such as electrolytic capacitors, non-polar capacitors can be connected in any orientation. Anyhow, you’re required to combine nonpolar capacitors in series or parallel configurations to achieve a desired capacitance value. This must be done strategically, so if you’re not sure how to do it, read our article.

Here’s a complete guide on how to combine nonpolar capacitors. But before we move to discuss the method, let’s gather some insights about capacitors, covering capacitor types and capacitor polarities.

Understanding What are Capacitors 

Capacitors are electronic components designed to store and release electrical energy. They consist of two conductive plates separated by an insulating material known as a dielectric. The capacitance of a capacitor determines its ability to store charge, with a higher capacitance indicating a greater charge storage capacity.

The significance of capacitors lies in various applications such as smoothing power supplies, filtering signals, controlling timing in circuits, and serving as essential elements in electronic devices like amplifiers and oscillators. They are indeed versatile components integral to the proper functioning of electronic systems.

Capacitor Types

Capacitors come in various types, each distinguished by specific characteristics, leading to diverse applications and functions within electronic circuits. The different types of capacitors are designed to meet varying requirements, and their uses can differ based on factors such as dielectric material, construction, and intended applications.

Here are some of the major types of capacitors based on:


  • Polar Capacitors: Aluminum Electrolytic Capacitors and Tantalum Capacitors.
  • Nonpolar Capacitors: Ceramic Capacitors and Film Capacitors (Polyester, Polypropylene, Polycarbonate, etc.

How to Combine Nonpolar Capacitors

Dielectric Material

  • Ceramic Capacitors: Class 1 (NPO, X7R, X5R, Y5V, etc.) and Class 2 (Z5U, Y5V, etc).
  • Film Capacitors: Polyester Film Capacitors, Polypropylene Film Capacitors, Polycarbonate Film Capacitors
  • Electrolytic Capacitors: Aluminum Electrolytic Capacitors and Tantalum Capacitors
  • Mica Capacitors: Silver Mica Capacitors and Ceramic-Mica Capacitors

How to Combine Nonpolar Capacitors


  • Fixed Capacitors: Ceramic Capacitors, Film Capacitors, Electrolytic Capacitors, and Mica Capacitors.
  • Variable Capacitors: Air Variable Capacitors, Trimmer Capacitors.

How to Combine Nonpolar Capacitors


  • Filter Capacitors: Used for filtering noise and ripples in power supplies
  • Timing Capacitors: Used in timing circuits and oscillators
  • Coupling Capacitors: Used for coupling AC signals between different stages of a circuit
  • Decoupling Capacitors: Used to decouple DC and AC components in a circuit
  • Motor Start Capacitors: Used for starting electric motors

How to Combine Nonpolar Capacitors

Learn How to Combine Nonpolar Capacitors

Combining non polar capacitors allows designers and engineers to tailor the electrical properties of the circuit to meet specific needs, such as increased voltage handling, customized capacitance, efficient use of space, and cost-effectiveness.

Here’s how to combine non nonpilar capacitors in real-time:

Gather the Required Material

  • Non-polar capacitors of desired capacitance values.
  • Soldering iron and solder.
  • Breadboard or Printed Circuit Board.
  • Connecting wires.
  • Multimeter (optional, for measuring capacitance).

Determine the Desired Capacitance

Begin the process of combining nonpolar capacitors by identifying the required capacitance for your specific application. For this, evaluate the capacitance values needed to meet the circuit’s specifications. You can calculate the total capacitance by adding up the individual capacitance values of the capacitors slated for combination.

This step ensures that the combined capacitance aligns with the intended purpose and performance criteria of your circuit.

Check Voltage Ratings

Make sure to verify the voltage ratings for the capacitors as it helps to confirm compatibility with your application. Check that the combined voltage across the capacitors does not surpass their individual voltage ratings.

This precautionary step is essential to prevent potential overvoltage issues and ensures the capacitors can safely operate within their specified limits.

Series or Parallel Connection

It is time to combine nonpolar capacitors either in series or parallel.

  1. For series connection, carefully use the following formula to calculate the total capacitance ((C_{text{total}})) for capacitors connected in series:  [ frac{1}{C_{text{total}}} = frac{1}{C_1} + frac{1}{C_2} + frac{1}{C_3} + ldots ]
  2. Connect the positive terminal of the first capacitor to the negative terminal of the second capacitor without any mistakes. Continue this pattern until all capacitors are connected. The remaining free terminals will be the overall positive and negative terminals.
  3. If required, you may also combine nonpolar capacitors in parallel. Use the following formula to calculate the total capacitance ((C_{text{total}})) for capacitors connected in parallel: [ C_{text{total}} = C_1 + C_2 + C_3 + ldots ]
  4. Connect all positive terminals together and all negative terminals together. The combined positive and negative terminals are the overall positive and negative terminals, respectively.


Once the capacitors are arranged in the desired configuration, solder the connections to make them permanent. Ensure that the solder joints are secure and free from any shorts.

Here are some tips for soldering capacitors in the best way possible:

  • Ensure precise terminal alignment before soldering.
  • Apply solder evenly for a robust connection, avoiding uneven heating.
  • Use a temperature-controlled soldering iron to prevent damage.
  • After soldering, inspect joints carefully for proper bonding and shorts.
  • Apply flux sparingly to facilitate solder flow without excess residue.

Test the Combined Capacitor

It is best to use a multimeter to measure the capacitance of the combined capacitors to verify that it matches the calculated or desired value.

Application Considerations

Consider the physical size and space requirements, especially if using this combined capacitor in a compact circuit. Take note of the equivalent series resistance (ESR) of the combined capacitors, as it may affect the performance in certain applications.

For instance, in high-frequency circuits, a lower ESR is often preferable for optimal signal integrity. Therefore, when combining capacitors, be mindful of these factors to ensure compatibility and effectiveness within the intended application.

Installation of Combined Capacitor on Circuit Board

Install the combined capacitor in your circuit, observing proper polarity if there is any, and make sure it meets the voltage and capacitance requirements.

Here are some tips for the proper installation of combined nonpolar capacitor on circuit board:

  • Verify the total capacitance aligns with the circuit’s specifications for optimal functionality.
  • Ensure secure and stable mounting on the circuit board, avoiding mechanical stress.
  • Inspect soldered connections post-installation, checking for integrity and absence of shorts.

Frequently Asked Questions

What capacitor for circuit board do?

Capacitors on a circuit board store energy, smooth voltage fluctuations, and stabilize power supplies. They decouple circuit components, set frequencies in oscillators, and couple AC signals while blocking DC components. Moreover, they contribute to signal processing, voltage regulation, and motor starting.

How to choose between series and parallel connections for a circuit?

The choice between a series or parallel configuration depends on the specific requirements of your circuit. Opt for a series connection when increasing the overall voltage rating while maintaining capacitance is necessary. Moreover, this approach is advantageous when working with capacitors of lower voltage ratings and aiming to handle a higher voltage. On the other hand, choose a parallel connection when seeking to increase overall capacitance while keeping the voltage rating constant. This is especially beneficial when a higher capacitance value is needed beyond what a single capacitor can provide.

What are Printed Circuit Board Capacitors?

When we refer to PCB capacitors, we are essentially talking about capacitors that are used on printed circuit boards (PCBs). The printed circuit board capacitor selection depends on the specific circuit needs, space constraints, and considerations for cost and performance. PCBs commonly use ceramic capacitors for compact and stable performance in decoupling and filtering, while they choose electrolytic capacitors such as aluminium electrolytic and tantalum variants for power supply applications. Film capacitors, including types like polyester and polypropylene, find use in coupling, filtering, and timing circuits. Surface mount capacitors, suitable for automated assembly, are prevalent on modern PCBs.


Contact Us

    Get Your Free Quote Now.