Electrolytic Capacitor and Potentiometer question

  • Thread starter jbord39
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  • #1
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Main Question or Discussion Point

Hey guys,

I have two quick questions:

Is the outside of an electrolytic capacitor conductive? (Should I worry about it touching some other circuit components)?

I have a 5kOhm potentiometer that for some reason began to smoke once while testing a circuit. I powered off the circuit and tested the potentiometer (the resistance decreased from 0-1.3kOhm). After about an hour I retested the potentiometer and it was at 0-5kOhm again!! I replaced it in the SAME circuit, powered it up, and left it on for about 10 minutes. No smoke and it has worked since. Is this common?
 

Answers and Replies

  • #2
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It should be easy enough to test with a multimeter. You mentioned measuring resistance so I assume that you have one. Just measure the resistance between two points on the outside of the cap. I'm going to guess that they're coated in non-conductive enamel.

I'll tell ya whats common. Bugs. Lot's and lot's of bugs. Especially when you're just starting to build circuits/write software. Over time you'll develop a knack for doing it in an organized way that isn't so error prone.

Are you using a breadboard? Pro tip: breadboards get filled up broken bits of wire and metal dust. They can become unreliable in certain spots. I can't tell you how many times I fixed a circuit by simply taking it all apart and putting in a new spot. Don't put things too close together if you can help it. The leads of the components can touch and cause problems.
 
  • #3
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Thanks.

I do have a breadboard but I was not using it when this happened (the pieces were soldered).
 

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