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Question electrolytic capacitor

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I have electronic devices from 1990 and I know that these devices that have not been used for a long time cause faults and depolarization in the electrolytic capacitors, is it necessary to use these devices in the interval of 1x a month to preserve the electrolytic capacitors from failing due to disuse? are used electrolytic capacitors manufactured since 1990 and assembled in electronic circuit

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I would think that  using the devices, as you suggest, once a month would be a good idea.

Also you could do a quick test on the capacitors if you have not used the device in some time.

I often check the capacitor with a multi-meter using the ohmmeter range without disconnecting it. The reading will start low then rise as the capacitor charges indicates a good capacitor. If this fails I disconnect one lead and try again. If the reading stays low it could be shorted. If no capacitance it will often just show a high reading.

see: https://www.wikihow.com/Test-a-Capacitor

If you doing many capacitors perhaps a tester would be worth the monies:



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Modern aluminum electrolytic capacitors have longer shelf lives then the old ones, usually around 2 years.

Perhaps powering up  old equipment a couple of times a year would be sufficient. Once a month is perhaps unnecessary. I have never found any good information on that subject. I have an old audio amplifier I power up a couple of times a year. I keep thinking someday I will use it - perhaps.

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using the electronic device 1x in the year will have chemical reactions inside it leak, explode depolarize lose capacitance? the electrolytic capacitors in my case are mounted in electronic circuit are used and made in 1990


did you say 2 years of use they die or two years of storage?

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Folks that restore old radios say do not power them up until replacing the capacitors. It is difficult to find information on failing due to disuse.

Wikipedia has some  information related to storage. See "Performance after storage" here:


Years ago, okay many years ago when I was in HS, I used to repair radios and bw televisions. I repaired a radio that a mouse had chewed into a wax coated  capacitor.

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I take it if one is not going to use something often one should power in up say once a year or so. The question is if one is not going to use something often enough to keep the electrolytic capacitors refreshed why keep it at all?  I keep my old audio amplifier thinking I will use but I may never use it.

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No, the information is not  readily available.  From  page 29   section 7.3.2  "Storage condition" in:


"If not otherwise specified, our aluminum electrolytic capacitors can be stored voltage-free at above stated conditions (from +5°Cto+35°C, relative humidity≤75%) for at least two years; capacitors of the SIKOREL series can be stored for as long as 15 years under these conditions. Within these storage periods the capacitors can be operated at their rated voltage directly after being taken out of storage. It is recommended to mount the capacitors in the application within one year of delivery in order to prevent any problems with solder ability of capacitors on PC "

There is some information at: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electrolytic_capacitor#Reliability_(failure_rate)



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The epcos informaion is only valid for epcos 🙂

Electrolytic capacitors from 1990 is generally something to beware of. They contain liquid or gel electrolyte which basically dries out over time. from 1990 up to now its 30+ years, I'd say that failure is quite certain. Moreover, the failure can damage other areas in your circuit.

I would just replace these..

Good luck 


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