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Choosing and using bypass capacitors

Posted: 11 Mar 2009 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:capacitors bypass? circuits? components?

Bypass capacitors are found in every working piece of electronic equipment. Most engineers know that systems, circuits and individual chips need to be bypassed. The methods for choosing bypass capacitors typically follow decisions of tradition instead of optimizing for any particular circuit. This application note aims to bring the design aspect back to this seemingly simple component.

After discussing the motivation for using bypass caps, we form a vocabulary around the basics; equivalent circuit, dielectrics and types of available capacitors. The next step is identifying the primary function and environment of the bypass capacitor. Circuits that exhibit large current spikes have different bypassing needs than ones that solely operate at high frequencies. A few special options are discussed like scaling multiple bypass capacitors, as well as the importance of board layout.

Finally, we present four application examples. These represent circuits with high and low currents as well as those with high and low frequencies.

View the PDF document for more information.

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