Capacitor or condenser?

K urgess
19th September 2008, 12:17
Is there a proper definition of difference? (?HUH)
Or is it an age-related thing? (Whaaa)

mikeg
19th September 2008, 13:47
Yes I think it's an age thing Kris. When I was a lad it was condensers, labelled and sold as such. I don't know quite when the turnaround came but guess it was in the fifties. Remember a colleague saying 'its not a condenser you need, unless you want to turn steam into water - its a capacitor!'

However I'll always think of those early builds as using condensers, my first was a three valve amp built on a biscuit tin to boost a xtal set output to a speaker :-)

Since then things got better - I've still got a hifi system from the 80's (when I was in that business) it still sounds wonderful today. Was listening to Beethovens Piano Concerto No.4 in G Major (Boston Sym Orchestra) last night.

www.lurcher.org/ukra/mike_g/mike_g.html

K urgess
19th September 2008, 14:30
Helluva rig, Mike.
A little beyond the capacity of my ears I think. [=P]
I will say you can't beat valves for sound quality even if it's only a 50 year old Bush or Cossor radio. Too much noise from any sort of semi-conductor. Especially in older circuits.

Thinking about it I always called tuning caps condensers.
I do a bit of refrubishment on old radios (valves is best) and usually anything big is a condenser and anything small is a capacitor.
1913 Yearbook of Wireless Telegraphy has only condensers but they have capacity. (Whaaa)

mikeg
19th September 2008, 15:07
Kris, I've got a book here by G.A. Briggs & H.H. Garner published by the Wharfedale Wireless Works dated March 1952. All through the book they talk about 'Condensors' not a mention of capacitors.

Yes I also love the valve sound, prefer FM to DAB, Wav to MP3's etc so guess I'm just an old dyed in the wool fusspot...

forthbridge
19th September 2008, 15:09
When I started as an apprentice in the mid fifties they were called condensers, around 56 or 57 we were told to call them condensers as a result of some international agreement. This was at the time that there were a lot of changes in electrical units at that time. The Naval Electrical Pocket Book published by the Admiralty in 1953 refers to them as capacitors, formerly condensers. Newnes Electrical Pocket book 11th Edition 1952 refers to them as condensors while their 15th Edition 1960 refers to them as capacitors.

charles henry
19th September 2008, 15:10
Whats all this valve thing?

Give me a good Condenser with sufficient Capacity and by the use of Tubes
I can have a steam powered biCycle.

Couldn't resist the sudden urge de chas(Pint)

benjidog
19th September 2008, 21:34
Books by G.A.Briggs turned me into a hifi fanatic in my teens. Well written - great background information about loudspeaker design etc. I think I still have one somewhere in the attic. I bought one of the first transister amps by Leak to drive my Wharfedale W2 and W3 speakers.

I thought condensers went out with the steam engine though. :)

BobClay
24th September 2008, 11:00
I used to call them condensers as a kid, but call them capacitors now. In all fairness the term condenser is not a good description.

(Especially since I did a couple of years as a fireman in enginerooms, mostly on steam ships).

mikeg
24th September 2008, 16:49
I used to call them condensers as a kid, but call them capacitors now. In all fairness the term condenser is not a good description.

(Especially since I did a couple of years as a fireman in enginerooms, mostly on steam ships).

Any ideas why the name condenser was used? I wonder if this harks back to the Leyden Jar capacitors....errm sorry condensers.

mikeg
24th September 2008, 16:54
Little bit of Googling came up with this:

http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_qa3726/is_/ai_n13643083

It was linked to Leyden Jars apparently

K urgess
24th September 2008, 17:46
Good find, Mike. (Thumb)

So now we know!

M29
24th September 2008, 18:17
Hi all
You may recall that the motor trade persisted in using "Condensor" for the component associated with the "make & break" contacts in vehicle ignition systems.
When I commenced college in 1964, we were taught "Capacitor" although some of our older books used condensor.
Also electricians often refered to "Suppressor", the component used to quench motor sparking

Regards

Alan

mikeg
24th September 2008, 18:21
Hi all
You may recall that the motor trade persisted in using "Condensor" for the component associated with the "make & break" contacts in vehicle ignition systems.
When I commenced college in 1964, we were taught "Capacitor" although some of our older books used condensor.
Also electricians often refered to "Suppressor", the component used to quench motor sparking

Regards

Alan

Sometimes with a resistor in series it's called an RC Snubber (nice word).

Regards,

Mike

charles henry
24th September 2008, 19:42
Hi all
You may recall that the motor trade persisted in using "Condensor" for the component associated with the "make & break" contacts in vehicle ignition systems.

Alan

"Vehicle ignition" whats that? Having been driving diesel engined cars for the last twenty odd years I find the term familiar but as something from the past
Regards Chas(Pint)

Shipbuilder
24th September 2008, 20:34
They started off as condensers, but they still had capacitance, so I suppose they changed it to simplify matters. As most of us know, Mhz were once know as Mc/s (A much more sensible term in my view). Also, anodes were once referred to as "plates." Terminology often gets mixed up over time.

One consistency is that radio officers usually attract the title "radio operators" & any objection would be dismissed as "snobbish, or nitpicking, but try calling
Deck Officers - Map readers,
Engineers - Fitters,
Pursers - secretaries,
Catering officers - Grocers,
& see what happens.

Also, affecting us all, most of the general public (UK) think anything that floats is a "boat" even if it is quarter of a million tons!

BUT I DON'T CARE ANY MORE!

Bob

mikeg
24th September 2008, 23:23
Our American friends still refer to the anode as plate and valve as tube so guess it could be a regional thing as well?

Never minded being called sparks, it wasn't that demeaning to the position but my hackles went up at 'radio operator' - I still care some though Bob

Shipbuilder
25th September 2008, 08:03
Hi Mike,
I didn't know they still called it a plate in the USA, although I know they call them tubes. I didn't mind being called Sparks either. Neither was I referred to as Radio Operator very much at sea, it has usually come from people ashore (You were radio operator on a boat weren't you?).
Many years ago, captain on a passenger liner (who had served in the RN during the war), sent a message down to us in an envelope addressed "P.O. Telegraphist." Chief R/O promptly stamped it with our rubber stamp "Unclaimed on board," & sent it back - never happened again!
Bob

K urgess
25th September 2008, 10:50
The 1913 Telegraphist's handbook has a glossary section the most of which I don't recognise at all. Have to read the description to figure out what they're talking about.
I always get Leyden Jars and Leclanche Cells mixed up. (?HUH)
I remember being called radio operator by a shoreside wallah in the States while on a Bankboat.
Didn't bother me 'cos he probably didn't know better but the Old Man tore a right royal strip off him.
Mind you the Old Man was affectionately known as "Dad" by most of us. [=P]