What are trimmer capacitors? Trimmer capacitors are variable capacitors which serve the purpose of initial calibration of equipment during manufacturing or servicing. They are not intended for end-user interaction. Trimmer capacitors are almost always mounted directly on the PCB (Printed Circuit Board), so the user does not have access to them, and set during manufacturing using a small screwdriver. Due to their nature, trimmer capacitors are cheaper than full sized variable capacitors and rated for many fewer adjustments. Trimmer capacitors are used to initially set oscillator frequency values, latencies, rise and fall times and other variables in a circuit. Should the values drift over time, these trimmer capacitors allow repairmen to re-calibrate equipment when needed. There are two types of trimmer capacitors: air trimmer capacitor and ceramic trimmer capacitor. Trimmer capacitor definition A trimmer capacitor is a variable capacitor used for initial calibration and recalibration of equipment. It is commonly mounted directly on a PCB and accessed only by professional repairmen, not the end-user. Characteristics Voltage rating, capacitance range, polarity Trimmer capacitors can be rated for voltages up to 300 volts, although voltage ratings of up to 100 volts are much more common. Since trim caps are variable capacitors, they come in a capacitance range rather than a single capacitance value. The minimum capacitance is usually between 0.5 pF and 10 pF, while the maximum capacitance is usually between 1 pF and 120 pF. The actual capacitance value can be varied between the minimum and maximum capacitance values for a given trimmer capacitor, but it can never be set to zero. It is worth noting that trimmer capacitors are not polarized. Tolerances and accuracy Trimmer capacitors do not boast a good capacitance value tolerance. Sometimes, the tolerances can be as high as -0 to +100%. This means that a trimmer...
What are air capacitors? Air capacitors are capacitors which use air as their dielectric. The simplest air capacitors are made of two conductive plates separated by an air gap. Air capacitors can be made in a variable or fixed capacitance form. Fixed capacitance air capacitors are rarely used since there are many other types with superior characteristics. Variable air capacitors are used more often because of their simple construction. They are usually made of two sets of semicircular metal plates separated by air gaps. One set is fixed and the other is attached to a shaft which allows the user to rotate the assembly, therefore changing the capacitance as needed. The larger the overlap between the two sets of plates, the higher the capacitance. The maximum capacitance state is achieved when the overlap between the two sets of plates is highest, while the lowest capacitance state is achieved when there is no overlap. Variable air capacitors are used in circumstances where the capacitance needs to be varied. They are sometimes used in resonant circuits, such as radio tuners, frequency mixers or antenna impedance matching applications. Another use for variable capacitors is while prototyping an electronic circuit design. Sometimes, it is simply easier to find the appropriate capacitor value by trial and error instead of calculating it exactly. Air capacitor definition Air capacitors are capacitors which use air as the dielectric medium located between conductive plates. Characteristics The dielectric constant value of a material is a measure of the amount of electrical energy stored in a material for a given voltage. Since capacitors are devices used to store electrical energy, higher dielectric constants are favorable. However, the dielectric value of air is approximately that of vacuum, which is the lowest dielectric constant possible for a material and equals εo = 8.854 * 10-12...