Name that Ware, January 2015

The Ware for January 2015 is below.

“I love capacitor”

but why?

Been in Shenzhen the past two weeks, trying to beat Chinese New Year deadlines, improve my Chinese, and learn more about manufacturing and supply chains. So far, so good. Will have more updates soon!

28 Responses to “Name that Ware, January 2015”

  1. nes says:

    Are there diodes on the back? Is it a (or several) voltage multipliers?

  2. Jeff Epler says:

    It’s a machine for burning out fuses. Insert a good fuse and press the button. The inrush current of the capacitors burns out the fuse.

    More seriously, capacitor banks similar to this seem to be used both in amplifier power supplies and in solar electric systems. In either case, they’re just used to smooth a power rail. Since there are a variety of capacitor values, I am going to guess that they are arranged for a variety of frequency rejection characteristics. So my best guess is power conditioning for an audio amplifier.

  3. t0bY! says:

    That looks like a PCB from an electronic flash. A lot of energy needs to be stored and released in fractions of a millisecond to the flash tube.

  4. Jon says:

    It’s a board to blow up shorts on PCBs! Charge up and connect to the power rail of a PCB and *poof*, any shorts will be gone.

  5. Joe R. says:

    DIY ultracapacitor?

  6. Temia says:

    I’m going to wager… some manner of capacitor bank!

  7. ingo says:

    Neat, stacked capacitors.

    Based on the construction it’s unlikely to be a high voltage board because the distance between the two screw terminals is too small and placing a button right next to the exposed metal of the fuse would be a recipe for disaster. This should also rule out any use as energy storage for an electronic flash, but those I’ve seen use a small number of high capacity, high voltage caps anyway.

    The fuse appears to have a high current rating as the fusible link looks like a small metal bar instead of a fine wire. That current is most likely not routed through the button next to it though because there is probably a lot more metal in the fuse than in the contacts of the button – so if it is a fuse blower, someone put in a fuse that it probably can’t handle. ;)
    I’m guessing that the button and the LED are used to check if the capacitor bank is still charged or possibly to slowly discharge it via the LED.

    Since there are only two (visible) contacts, smoothing some kind of power supply could be an application for this board, although I wonder how well it would do this job if everything is located away from the supply on this board, connected over some length of wire. The increased lead length of the stacked capacitors would also be a source of additional inductance, so if it’s meant for power conditioning the frequencies involved are probably somewhere in the (low?) audio range.

    Another use could be as a short-time “UPS” for some device with a low current consumption, but the I would wonder why there is such a high-current fuse in the holder. This capacitor array probably has quite a bit of inrush current, but I assume that protection against this would be at the power source. Also, if it really is meant as small-scale “UPS”, it’s probably a one-off or small-scale board whose capacitors were selected based on available stock since such an application wouldn’t need a mixture of four different capacitor sizes.

  8. Supply smoothing for a distant micro on a large (or multi-segment) vehicle.

  9. Anton Shumskyi says:

    Looks like voltage rectifier for an audio amplifier or for a medical/lab something =)

  10. coryus says:

    a lovely family of capacitors <3

  11. John Miles says:

    Looks like a “super regulator” for audio applications, similar to . It’s the sort of thing you build when you don’t have a way to measure the resulting noise but you do have a lot of capacitors.

    It’s especially funny when people build these things with high-Q inductors between the capacitors.

  12. banjaxed says:

    First of all, these appear to be polarised aluminium electrolytic caps, so the application must be DC, not AC. That rules out things like power-factor correction capacitors for AC supplies with inductive loads (e.g. motors, induction heaters).

    Could be a capacitor bank as used in an AC-DC-AC converter? Typically, switch-mode converters are used for both the rectifier (AC-DC) and inverter (DC-AC) stages, so the DC capacitor is required to have very low ESR (high ripple current rating), and good performance over a fairly wide frequency (up to 1MHz).

  13. Hash says:

    I would bet the button just completes the connection to the LED to test if the capacitors are charged or not.

  14. MoPower says:

    Wow! 3D capacitor technology.

    Possibly part of some low voltage power conditioner?

  15. Gautam Morey says:

    Going by the clues provided by all the learned men, I’ll take a shot at this to be the delivery stage of an Automatic External Defibrillator (AED).
    From elsewhere on the web -The capacitor bank in an AED can hold up to 7 kV of electricity. The shock that can be delivered from this system can be anywhere from 30-400 joules. 

    • Jack says:

      Not nearly enough prominent unique serial numbers and manufacturers labels to be an “approved” medical device.
      Something shocking but non-medical?

  16. Bunnie, for the purposes of talking with suppliers, manufacturers, etc… Is Mandarin the most useful dialect to learn? I’ve been studying for a while, but I don’t know things well enough yet to identify what dialect someone may be speaking. This makes me shy of trying to say hello to someone speaking Chinese, for fear of offending by assuming the wrong dialect. And, I figure I should direct studies based on what would be the most practical for the field. So Mandarin? Traditional or simplified for writing? And in your experience, are people generally friendly with a poor Westerner struggling to learn Chinese?

    • bunnie says:

      A little off topic, but…

      The “official” language of China is Mandarin, with simplified writing. I don’t think you’ll offend any Chinese person by trying to speak Mandarin to them. Most of them will take it quite favorably, much more so than when I try. Have a look at this video, it’s funny and true:

      You might offend a Korean or Japanese person if you mistook them as Chinese, but that’s part of a different problem; and again, they’ll probably forgive you more easily for the mistake if you don’t look Asian.

      Almost everyone in China speaks at least one dialect other than Mandarin. It’s not uncommon for groups to switch to their alternate dialect so you can’t understand what they are saying about you, even if you were fluent in Mandarin.

  17. SteveM2 says:

    This looks like a smoothing & rectification PCB, as can be seen in
    without the bridge & inductors.
    Unless I miss some diodes under the pcb, in which case it could be a high
    voltage ladder for some kind of tesla coils or mosquito killers…
    The switch would be used to discharge the caps, the led telling when it’s
    safe to handle.
    Could also imagine it being a custom-made, dangerous device to test the pcbs
    during manufacturing for shorts, bad clearances, or weak traces…
    Or test small wires or bonding wires ?
    Or a device to ignite small amateur rocket engines, or dyna ?

    Mumble mumble, your riddles are always fun, disappointing & challenging !
    Thank you for entertaining my mind :-)

  18. Jeff says:

    I think I’ve seen what looks like those exact boards in Guanghua Market in Taipei. They were being sold as capacitor banks for (car) audio amps.

  19. lame says:

    either a taser or defibrillator or a camera flash

  20. Pusalieth says:

    It might a replacement or cheaper design for the super-capacitors used in high amp driving for subwoofer amplifiers in automotive electronics.

  21. Mikael says:

    Teaser Gun.
    The control unit is hide beneth the top layer of Capacitors.

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