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Old 10th March 2011, 10:19 PM   #1
phrarod is offline phrarod  United States
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Default Anyone with experience breaking in capacitors out of circuit?

I've read people use small transformers to break in capacitors. This would be especially handy with 1000 hour black gates as well as just cutting down the normal 100 hour break in for circuit testing.

Anyone have experience with this?
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Old 11th March 2011, 12:32 AM   #2
tomchr is offline tomchr  United States
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Has anybody ever measured a difference in capacitor parameters before and after this burn-in? If so, what would a plausible explanation of the difference be?

I find myself to be highly skeptical of break-in of electronic components unless there's documented scientific data showing a difference before/after. I would also be rather skeptical of the "engineering" that would have gone into a system that is so sensitive to component drift that break-in would even be relevant.

~Tom
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Old 11th March 2011, 12:38 AM   #3
phrarod is offline phrarod  United States
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I don't want this to veer off into one of the well traveled debates. For me I'll always heard break in and even manufacturers will state that. I've done audio shows for 25 years and we're always getting gear too close to the show and frantically breaking it in 24 hrs/day. This is sadly typical which is why the last day of all these show - RMAF, CES, etc the rooms sound best the last day because everyone's equipment has had time to break in and settle.

Black Gates take 1000 hours. Well documented and very painful to have to run a piece of gear 24/7 for a month before it sounds great.

But we digress.
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Old 11th March 2011, 01:23 AM   #4
tomchr is offline tomchr  United States
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I would still like to see data before and after. But I don't want a religious flame war either...

1000 hours, eh? At what frequency? Could you cut the break-in time by a factor of 100 by breaking in at 6 kHz rather than 60 Hz?

~Tom
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Old 11th March 2011, 01:34 AM   #5
phrarod is offline phrarod  United States
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Dunno. Its an interesting though.
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Old 11th March 2011, 02:20 AM   #6
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Some capacitor values change over time from the date they are manufactured, think film caps but my memory is vague at the moment. It is due to the heat involved in manufacturing. The change goes on in an exponential rate, again can't remember exactly (boy am I a lot of help) but most of the change occurs in a time period of 30-60 days. The manufacturers account for this when they make them and by the time the parts get put in a circuit they are pretty much stable.

Some capacitors can have weaker areas between the dielectric and with rated voltage they can short out at this point. They normally have a self-healing function and life goes on after that area is 'fixed'.

As far as burning-in, I have not found any good information on tests done to measure the 'effect'. Have found some interesting tests on different types of capacitors distorting the signal going through them in relation to the polarizing voltage put across them.

Did a search a while back, this combination of words come up with some relevant hits. 'bias voltage capacitor distortion test'

Not an answer to your question but audio capacitor related.
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Old 11th March 2011, 03:42 AM   #7
cerrem is offline cerrem  United States
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Cap makers have internal memos and data and it is well known the effects of break-in....
You need to understand the chemistry and physics of the dielectric and it's behavior in electric fields... AC and DC and at different temperatures...
You can use a network analyzer to see the caps curvature....before and after break-in...there is a difference and this complex plot can be electricaly modeled...
Nobody is going to hand you data....You will need to get off the couch and do the characterizations yourself....

cerrem
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Old 11th March 2011, 04:43 AM   #8
Pano is offline Pano  United States
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Let's keep it pleasant, please
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Old 11th March 2011, 04:51 AM   #9
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Hello,
I have noticed that the sound of things change as the circuit/system warms up (daily break in?). I think that it more than the tubes!
Capacitor values shift with tempature in the Riaa stage?
DT
All just for fun!
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Old 11th March 2011, 06:27 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by phrarod View Post
I don't want this to veer off into one of the well traveled debates. For me I'll always heard break in and even manufacturers will state that.
Yeah - why would that be I wonder?

Quote:
Originally Posted by phrarod View Post
I've done audio shows for 25 years and we're always getting gear too close to the show and frantically breaking it in 24 hrs/day. This is sadly typical which is why the last day of all these show - RMAF, CES, etc the rooms sound best the last day because everyone's equipment has had time to break in and settle.
Or alternatively, you are too knackered to care or remember what it sounded like three days earlier...

Quote:
Originally Posted by phrarod View Post
Black Gates take 1000 hours. Well documented and very painful to have to run a piece of gear 24/7 for a month before it sounds great.
says who? Where is the data? And when then is the manufacturers do it before sale?

Quote:
Originally Posted by phrarod View Post
But we digress.
No, its the core of the request - to first give any advice you have to buy into the whole fallacy.

I guess that the ONLY area the discussion makes sense is in electrolytics, and even then any handwaving over 100 hours (let alone 1,000) of break-in is, well, onanism of the first order.
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