According to Pete - June 6, 2011

You got questions about capacitors, we've got answers!

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Yet another Monday - but this one will hopefully be slightly better than average. It's the first Monday of June, which means "According to Pete" is back!

In this installment, Pete explores the electrifying world of capacitors! Watch as Pete surges through common questions about these nifty little components! Yup - you pay for the whole seat but you'll only need the edge. Enjoy!

Comments 62 comments

  • coopersnout / about 12 years ago / 14

    The Sparkfun web guys need to definitely start working on a like button, because I would totally like this.

    • BB / about 12 years ago / 17

      Ew, I don't want Sparkfun tainted by Facebook.

    • MoriFi / about 12 years ago / 5


      • Erik-Sparkfun / about 12 years ago / 4

        I'll keep my personal opinion out of this, but the person you responded to is talking about the "Like" button that posts it to your facebook page.

        • MoriFi / about 12 years ago / 3

          oh like that type of like...yuck.

          • coopersnout / about 12 years ago / 1

            Well, just something showing opinion on a post instead of having to comment on the post. For instance, a star rating system or something similar.

            • Erik-Sparkfun / about 12 years ago / 1

              Ah, I see what you're saying. We'll at least discuss it. However, IT's beyond swamped at the moment (understatement of the century), so unless somebody needs a break from their backbreaking projects, it might take a while for anything to happen.

    • sephers / about 12 years ago / 2

      facebook sucks add a tweet button :D

  • SomeGuy123 / about 12 years ago * / 9

    You should have more physical examples. For example, blowing up a few capacitors, showing the physical circuit, etc.

    • eewestcoaster / about 12 years ago / 4

      Use the half-second clip of a capacitor going "BOOM" as a cutscene every time you caution us on the dangers of doing something wrong.

    • Eric15 / about 12 years ago / 3

      I, also, was disappointed that he didn't blow up a electorlytic cap or two. Nothing like an object lesson to drive the point home. And to demonstrate that caps store energy, charge up a couple big ones and toss them to coworkers.

    • MoriFi / about 12 years ago / 1

      Just pumped 32volts into a 25volt cap. (and reversed it to) it was beautiful sparks flew every where, it made an nice loud POW sound to. FUNNNNN

  • No-one / about 12 years ago / 6

    You need to do some explanation on op-amps (I may hide behind the sofa from them)

    • WilliamHenryHarrisonsGhost / about 12 years ago / 4

      I second that! I also move that the b/g music is made available because it's a damn right catchy tune!

    • Yeah, we gotta do op amps. But it's a really big subject, and compressing it to 10 minutes would really test me to do it clearly. Sometime. Maybe next.

  • brmellor / about 12 years ago / 4

    If at all possible... Biweekly instead of Monthly!
    (Every two weeks please!)
    It's all a good review and I'm curious to see how the project turns out.

    • MatthewR / about 12 years ago / 2

      I love these, thanks so much for making them. However, I would also really like to have a new one every 2 weeks.
      Indeed. Please do such a project.

      • You guys flatter me, but I think it would take away from my regular work a bit much. Might take an act of God to make it happen every two weeks.

  • Pinkerton / about 12 years ago / 3

    According to Pete RULES!

  • Brodie / about 12 years ago / 3

    Thanks again Pete!
    I've been working in the world of electricity for quite some time now and even though these first 2 videos have been on the very basics I've managed to learn something each time! It's amazing what looking at things from another point of view can do.
    Keep up the good work!

  • JohnD. / about 12 years ago / 3

    What?! there's actually math and formulas in electronics? I usually go by the if it smokes it ain't right principle.

    • Brodie / about 12 years ago / 1

      On many occasions, so do I, but sometimes you just keep getting caught out by the "there is no smoke coming out, but it still aint working" situation, progression from this point can sometimes be quite a pickle...

  • customer207 / about 12 years ago / 3

    Hey Kids, learn yer lectronics from ol' uncle Pete!
    I think its wise that Sparkfun HR keeps Pete's "lab" parked out in the back lot.

  • WillWD / about 12 years ago / 2

    I too would like to see Sparkfun selling some 10k motorized pots :)

  • tiagofumo / about 12 years ago / 2

    this one was a lot better... and the idea of the project making was fantastic... almost hated the last one... enjoyed this one ideas for upcoming videos... I mean... you will make a video per month... if you do this resistor, cap, diode, etc... after 5 months we will have covered the 5 basic components... which is a long time :S

  • Ekisu / about 12 years ago / 2

    I personally hardly notice the music that seems to be driving everybody mad. If anything its better then the droll of teaching in silence that I had to put up with through school.

  • Member #33490 / about 12 years ago / 2

    Don't you mean impulse response rather than transfer function on the graph? Transfer function is frequency domain analysis.

    • You're absolutely correct. And here I thought I wasn't going to get pinned for anything.

  • SD / about 12 years ago / 2

    The background music is funky but it is very distracting (at least for this guy whose brain doesn't multitask like many claim to be able to do). It would be nice if it was left off for something technical like this.

  • Member #183234 / about 12 years ago / 2

    I love these segments but you've gotta kill the music. 15 minutes of that is just TOO much.

  • wm1995 / about 12 years ago / 2

    So far your tutorials have been brilliant, and I'm sure they'll continue to be very helpful. Could you cover inductors, transistors and possibly the 555 timer at some point?

  • Tekati / about 12 years ago / 2

    You have my vote on the garage audio project! This is along the lines of a project I was thinking about but at a different level where you are putting larger pieces already made together. Even gave up a $1K bounty for Dave Jones (EEVBlogger) to do it but he turned me down.

  • sultanblender / about 12 years ago / 2

    It's great to learn!

  • Tanders82 / about 12 years ago / 2

    Excellent! More more !!

  • brian_f / about 12 years ago / 2

    I found the background music too loud relative to the soundtrack and very distracting... could you leave it out or have an alternate YouTube posting so we can view this without getting a headache? Thanks

    • Personally, I'd prefer Motorhead. Or Zeppelin.

      • HessiaNerd / about 12 years ago / 1

        you could always compromise:
        also, +1 Cover op-amps next.

    • Richard Hart / about 12 years ago / 1

      I third that! Many of your viewers are hearing impared. Conflicting sounds (especially in the frequency of the human voice--like that danged organ in the soundtrack) make it hard for those of us who spent our formative years working in recording studios in Hollywood during the golden age of rock to focus on what the lecturer is saying.
      Please, please, please; cut the music.

  • Robban / about 12 years ago / 2

    For the love of magic smoke please kill that background music. It drives me nuts.
    Also, while I realise I'm not on the same level as most people here at sparkfun it seemed like this episode was like a merge of very basic principles and quite high level principles. I completely zoned out at the end there because it was simply way out of my league. Explaining what one of the simplest components of electronics does by using that opamp example seemed a bit silly to me.

  • ChuckT2 / about 12 years ago / 1

    Did he ever explain why capacitors pass AC current but not DC current?
    If this was a classroom, he would have been interrupted about a dozen times or more for students to ask questions. There are a lot of questions that could have been asked and answered.

  • MoriFi / about 12 years ago / 1

    The music reminds me of the Mythbusters. (not the opening theme but the thinking parts)

  • hadesto / about 12 years ago / 1

    AWESOME Vid.
    For all N00bs watching and wondering what a transient is:
    A transient in layman's terms is a signal irregularity. We tend to think of AC as a perfect sine, and DC as a perfect flat signal but in reality it takes some time (very small) to get there. The signal irregularities happening until you get the "regular shape" of the signal is what a transient is. :)
    Some info :
    ESR = Equivalent Series Resistance
    quiescent = stable
    AC and DC coupling:

  • sephers / about 12 years ago / 1

    Did anyone else hear the squeal at 4:08 ?? :D

  • It'd be great if the SIK included a cap and a small tutorial. They're so useful but there's no example for them! :P

  • Bunk / about 12 years ago / 1

    your workshop music station sounds interesting, and I might have some useful input. You could attach the frequency visualizer to an LED cube. I've made a tutorial on how to do so on my projects blog, This LED cube is controlled by a custom shield I developed. The videos on there right now aren't great because the resistors are too high (I forgot about the PWM effect due to use of Persistence of vision) and I'm not about to order $1.50 worth of resisters and pay $8 for shipping!

  • BennytheJet / about 12 years ago / 1

    That was awesome. Thanks. Much better than studying.

  • Tacroy / about 12 years ago / 1

    What I liked the most about this episode was that Pete talked about some of the engineering reasons behind the setup on a kit I've assembled (the through-hole breadboard power supply). I liked finally understanding why I had to solder in two different capacitors that looked pretty much the same :)
    I think it would be interesting to go over the reasons why some other SparkFun kits are assembled the way they are, especially for ones where it might not be completely obvious.

  • Member #207687 / about 12 years ago / 1

    I have to say this was a little over my head after the intro. Liked the video though. I also think that if you are going to be using this project to talk about different aspects of electronics, the videos should be every coupe weeks instead of every month so it won't take too long in between videos.

  • Member #98770 / about 12 years ago / 1

    Could you show in your project how you attach iny tiny small SMD parts on a PCB?

  • eewestcoaster / about 12 years ago / 1

    14:17 - you want to run it ........ ? SPEAK UP, MAN! :)

  • I just realized—Pete looks frighteningly like my Rec soccer coach, Mike.

  • DMKitsch / about 12 years ago / 1

    Personally I think to start with i think it would be best to keep to a simple project to start with or at least to it in a certain area of electronics, It isn't the best idea to talk from op-amps into micro controllers and all that, I love your video's though

  • Member #218348 / about 12 years ago / 1

    For your project, you could def use the android ioio board and the fez domino to control the basics of it(since they both work directly with the android os). How big of an area are you working with? Your prob going to have some high power/amperage requirements driving audio equipment especally speakers and amplifiers.

  • Agreed on those slidepots, I've got one on my desk here and I don't know if I'll ever use it in a project but I'm having a great time playing with it, lol

    • mmgunner / about 12 years ago / 1

      I am looking forward to the slidepots, they are just too expensive to get on digikey or mouser. Hopefully you can have them at a better price.

  • c30630 / about 12 years ago / 1

    I had my volume up way to loud for that intro.

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