Capacitor Colour Codes

Generally, the actual values of Capacitance, Voltage or Tolerance are marked onto the body of the capacitors in the form of alphanumeric characters.

However, when the value of the capacitance is of a decimal value problems arise with the marking of the “Decimal Point” as it could easily not be noticed resulting in a misreading of the actual capacitance value. Instead letters such as p (pico) or n (nano) are used in place of the decimal point to identify its position and the weight of the number.

For example, a capacitor can be labelled as, n47 = 0.47nF, 4n7 = 4.7nF or 47n = 47nF and so on. Also, sometimes capacitors are marked with the capital letter K to signify a value of one thousand pico-Farads, so for example, a capacitor with the markings of 100K would be 100 x 1000pF or 100nF.

To reduce the confusion regarding letters, numbers and decimal points, an International colour coding scheme was developed many years ago as a simple way of identifying capacitor values and tolerances. It consists of coloured bands (in spectral order) known commonly as the Capacitor Colour Code system and whose meanings are illustrated below:

Capacitor Colour Code Table

 Band Colour Digit A Digit B Multiplier D Tolerance (T) > 10pf Tolerance (T) < 10pf Temperature Coefficient (TC) Black 0 0 x1 ± 20% ± 2.0pF Brown 1 1 x10 ± 1% ± 0.1pF -33×10-6 Red 2 2 x100 ± 2% ± 0.25pF -75×10-6 Orange 3 3 x1,000 ± 3% -150×10-6 Yellow 4 4 x10,000 ± 4% -220×10-6 Green 5 5 x100,000 ± 5% ± 0.5pF -330×10-6 Blue 6 6 x1,000,000 -470×10-6 Violet 7 7 -750×10-6 Grey 8 8 x0.01 +80%,-20% White 9 9 x0.1 ± 10% ± 1.0pF Gold x0.1 ± 5% Silver x0.01 ± 10%

Capacitor Voltage Colour Code Table

 Band Colour Voltage Rating (V) Type J Type K Type L Type M Type N Black 4 100 10 10 Brown 6 200 100 1.6 Red 10 300 250 4 35 Orange 15 400 40 Yellow 20 500 400 6.3 6 Green 25 600 16 15 Blue 35 700 630 20 Violet 50 800 Grey 900 25 25 White 3 1000 2.5 3 Gold 2000 Silver

Capacitor Voltage Reference

• Type J  –  Dipped Tantalum Capacitors.
• Type K  –  Mica Capacitors.
• Type L  –  Polyester/Polystyrene Capacitors.
• Type M  –  Electrolytic 4 Band Capacitors.
• Type N  –  Electrolytic 3 Band Capacitors.

An example of the use of capacitor colour codes is given as:

Disc & Ceramic Capacitor

The Capacitor Colour Code system was used for many years on unpolarised polyester and mica moulded capacitors. This system of colour coding is now obsolete but there are still many “old” capacitors around. Nowadays, small capacitors such as film or disk types conform to the BS1852 Standard and its new replacement, BS EN 60062, were the colours have been replaced by a letter or number coded system.

Generally the code consists of 2 or 3 numbers and an optional tolerance letter code to identify the tolerance. Where a two number code is used the value of the capacitor only is given in picofarads, for example, 47 = 47 pF and 100 = 100pF etc. A three letter code consists of the two value digits and a multiplier much like the resistor colour codes in the resistors section.

For example, the digits 471 = 47*10 = 470pF. Three digit codes are often accompanied by an additional tolerance letter code as given below.

Capacitor Tolerance Letter Codes Table

 Letter B C D F G J K M Z Tolerance C <10pF ±pF 0.1 0.25 0.5 1 2 C >10pF ±% 0.5 1 2 5 10 20 +80-20

Consider the capacitor below:

The capacitor on the left is of a ceramic disc type capacitor that has the code 473J printed onto its body. Then the 4 = 1st digit, the 7 = 2nd digit, the 3 is the multiplier in pico-Farads, pF and the letter J is the tolerance and this translates to:  47pF * 1,000 (3 zero’s) = 47,000 pF, 47nF or 0.047uF the J indicates a tolerance of +/- 5%

Then by just using numbers and letters as codes on the body of the capacitor we can easily determine the value of its capacitance either in Pico-farad’s, Nano-farads or Micro-farads and a list of these “international” codes is given in the following table along with their equivalent capacitances.

Capacitor Letter Codes Table

 Picofarad (pF) Nanofarad (nF) Microfarad (uF) Code Picofarad (pF) Nanofarad (nF) Microfarad (uF) Code 10 0.01 0.00001 100 4700 4.7 0.0047 472 15 0.015 0.000015 150 5000 5.0 0.005 502 22 0.022 0.000022 220 5600 5.6 0.0056 562 33 0.033 0.000033 330 6800 6.8 0.0068 682 47 0.047 0.000047 470 10000 10 0.01 103 100 0.1 0.0001 101 15000 15 0.015 153 120 0.12 0.00012 121 22000 22 0.022 223 130 0.13 0.00013 131 33000 33 0.033 333 150 0.15 0.00015 151 47000 47 0.047 473 180 0.18 0.00018 181 68000 68 0.068 683 220 0.22 0.00022 221 100000 100 0.1 104 330 0.33 0.00033 331 150000 150 0.15 154 470 0.47 0.00047 471 200000 200 0.2 254 560 0.56 0.00056 561 220000 220 0.22 224 680 0.68 0.00068 681 330000 330 0.33 334 750 0.75 0.00075 751 470000 470 0.47 474 820 0.82 0.00082 821 680000 680 0.68 684 1000 1.0 0.001 102 1000000 1000 1.0 105 1500 1.5 0.0015 152 1500000 1500 1.5 155 2000 2.0 0.002 202 2000000 2000 2.0 205 2200 2.2 0.0022 222 2200000 2200 2.2 225 3300 3.3 0.0033 332 3300000 3300 3.3 335

The next tutorial in our section about Capacitors, we look at connecting together Capacitor in Parallel and see that the total capacitance is the sum of the individual capacitors.

• G
Gboinzo Gblorso

How to determine a particular values of a resistor, transistors, diod, capacitors, that should be used in building a circuit, that has a specific voltage and current

Thank you.

• a
amanullaha

thank u 4 the color code of capacitors information

• A

healo im newbe here.i m building somthing but the capacitor and resistor color code it make me confused

• l
laxman singh panwar

Nice making show to capacitor

• B
Bruce Long

Hi, Can you help id a ceramic disc cap? Its red and has no markings.

• C
Chris Hutton

I have been asked to build a unit for a practical exam.

The exam board specification stipulates: Two capacitors whose value is marked with a colour code.

Does anyone still use colour codes?
All the caps I buy have the values printed on them.

I haven’t seen colour coded caps for decades!!

Chris

• Wayne Storr

Colour coded capacitors are no longer common, so they may be hard to find. Try your local electronics components shop.

• r
reynaldo arellano

i have 1.5 hp ac motor what is the exact start and run uf capacitor tobe use or mutch beter

• A
APJ

Thank you for this tutorial, its very useful and extremely informative. I also found this android app that automatically calculates capacitance from the code.
I think it might be useful to those visiting this tutorial.

• N
Nyunt Lin

Good. Wetsize

• D
Danno

I’ve got silver mica capacitors with the code CM05FD 271J03AE on them.

I believe these are 270pf at +/-5% (J) can you tell me what the rest means? Thanks for the site

Looking for the latest from TI?