A guide to conformally coated tantalum capacitors
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A guide to conformally coated tantalum capacitors

Updated: Apr 27

Surface mount tantalum capacitors are available in either a molded plastic housing or a conformally coated configuration.


As its name suggests, a conformal coating "conforms" to the device topology, resulting in a more volumetric efficient component. This means that conformally coated tantalum capacitors are typically smaller than a molded tantalum capacitor at the same CV rating. (However, some manufacturers claim to nowadays produce molded versions that match the volumetric efficiency of conformally coated devices.)


Conformally Coated Tantalum Capacitors

While they may be more volumetrically efficient than a molded capacitor, they lack the dimensional uniformity of a molded package. This makes them less than fully compatible with high volume pick and place production equipment, and a less than popular choice with production managers.


Because of their small size, they have been, and continue to be, a popular choice for miniature medical devices such as hearing aids.


There are only 2 manufacturers currently producing conformally coated tantalum capacitors - AVX and Vishay - with Vishay's legacy range of Sprague devices accounting for the vast majority of series in current production.


AVX


AVX currently produces 3 series of conformally coated tantalum capacitors, two of them designed for commercial applications and one, the F95 Audio series, designed for high end audio applications.

VISHAY


The extensive Vishay range of conformally coated tantalum capacitors can be roughly divided into commercial grade types and up screened aerospace/defence grade types.


Commercial Grade Types


Up Screened Types


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