I'm back! (plus power component questions)

Tony Duell ard at p850ug1.demon.co.uk
Sat Oct 28 17:57:36 CDT 2006


> The first one is what I have dubbed the "power
> towers" and they look like vertical batteries.
> Usually come in groups of 5. Can anyone tell
> me there name and/or what they do?

Sound like electrolytic capacitors. They act as energy storage devices, 
to smooth out fluctuations in voltage (for example the output of a 
rectifier cricuit is pulsating DC, a capacitor will smooth that out). An 
electrolytic capacitor has a high value of capacitance for its size, but 
it also has other characteristics (for esample, it's 'polarised', one 
side must be positive wrt the other or the capacitor will be damaged. And 
a eelatively high self-inductance) that make it less suitable for some 
other applications.

> 
> The second thing is the erm... plastic(?) "polo

I owuld think that's actually ferrite (a magnetic material)

> mint" that has what appears to be copper
> wire wrapped around it. Can anyone give me
> (or send me in the right direction to find)
> any information on it.

Sounds like a torroidal inductor. Used for filtering DC power lines, as 
the energy storage device in switching regulators, etc.

I recomend you read a book called 'The Art of Electronics' by Horrowitz
and Hill. While it won't specifically answer these questions, it's a 
very good introduction to electronics. The only downside is that it's not 
cheap.

-tony



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