Farad Cap explodes!!!! Anyone else have this happen? - Chevy Impala SS Forum
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post #1 of 5 (permalink) Old 08-13-2003, 09:55 AM
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O.K. audio experts I just had a farad cap explode in my wifes wagon, damn scary loud noise and smoke to boot. I have talked to a couple of local shops including the one that installed the system for me and they all say they have heard of it but had never seen it hppen!
So, I guess my question is....has anyone else had this happen? And, what the hell? The system has been in the car a couple of years now, but, not had that much use as it is a weekend/show car.
Thanks in advance for your input and advice.
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post #2 of 5 (permalink) Old 08-13-2003, 10:13 AM
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Extremely rare for sure.

I know at one of the audio schools, the trainer sticks a one farad cap in his pants, and puts a screwdriver across the terminals, and it doesn't explode.

We were taking about this the other day at the shop, and no one we know of has ever seen it either. The vent on top of the cap is there to let "the smoke out", but they aren't supposed to explode.
post #3 of 5 (permalink) Old 08-13-2003, 10:35 AM
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I've seen my share of exploded caps in industrial applications, mostly due to overvoltage. Most of them vent, but occasionally one will build pressure fast enough to explode. Fortunately they've all been inside enclosures, so nobody got hurt when they went.
post #4 of 5 (permalink) Old 08-13-2003, 03:42 PM
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We used to have a game called toss the quarter at the cap, because we were told by the streetwires rep that a quarter contacting both points on a charged cap would make the cap explode. Anyway, we were horrible shots & finally someone hit it...it did nothing. Then we talked this dumb kid into touching both points with a screwdriver....it did nothing. Then a bunch of us were caravaning down to Indy from MI for a car show, and my buddy had turned his alternator up to 18 volts for the stereo competition before the drive. he was listening to his system really loud on the way down. I just remember seeing him swerve and pull over really fast to the side of the road, open his door and run out of the truck. His 4 farad cap exploded from over voltage. Luckily his box was made of 1" plexi, but it blew a small hole & a huge dent into the back of his cab. It was some pretty mean stuff. That's the only time I've ever seen it, or heard about it where I knew it was real. From what I understand it is pretty rare and is usually from overvoltage, or from a faulty or plugged vent on the cap, which is what I would assume happened in your case budnikguy.
post #5 of 5 (permalink) Old 08-13-2003, 04:31 PM
Aaron D
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Overvoltage is the probable cause. It's been a while since I looked into it but some of the cheaper caps used to be rated at 16 volts while the better ones were 20V (the next standard voltage up). As relatively cheap as they are now, I'm not sure if both kinds are used still or not. I have no idea how much/long a cap can handle a slight overvolt condition, it's funny that I only remember reading once where someone recommemded using only 20V caps (years ago). With the introduction of Accuvolt type devices I can see how it might be even easier to push the limits of a 16 volt cap. I have a 16V Scosche cap and an Accuvolt I was planning on using someday, looks like I won't be putting those together.

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