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LC voltage spike app. note


I used this wire size calculator:


I’ll try using 470uF @ 100v. I don’t have an oscilloscope to see if there are any voltage spikes or anything so we’ll just have to see if they fry or not. Thanks for your help.



Good luck on your project. Feel free to let us know how it goes.

- Jeremy



There is something i did not really understand.
I have also followed this doc

explaining why as low as possible ESR is better for bypass capacitors and you also say in your tuto that “extremely low ESRs are generally a benefit”

but you add :
“but do very little to dampen LC oscillations”

so there seems to be two phenomena that need to be reduced :

  • LC oscillations requiring large ESR
  • something else * requiring low ESR

The article above clarifys a little bit this something else

  • The first line of defense against unwanted perturbations on the
    power supply is the bypass capacitor. A bypass capacitor
    eliminates voltage droops on the power supply by storing
    electric charge to be released when a voltage spike occurs. It
    also provides this service at a wide range of frequencies by
    creating a low-impedance path to ground for the power supply.

It’s not so clear for me what distinguises the two phenomena and why they require completely opposite (conflicting) properties of the capacitors (Low vs High ESR)




ESR limits the current in and out of the capacitor. Low ESR allows the capacitor to give a lot of current to the local circuit if it needs it, which is generally good. (The “something else” “pheonomenon” in your second bullet point is your circuit not working because it did not get the power it needs.) However, low ESR means that the capacitor can also draw a lot of current when you initially apply some voltage to it, and when you do that with long wires, that’s where you add inductance to the system and get the oscillation problems. You don’t “require” large ESR to deal with that; there are several other things you can do. It’s just that low ESR does exacerbate the problem, and if you don’t need it that low, adding some back can be the easiest way to balance keeping the oscillations good enough while also keeping the power to your circuit good enough.



Thank you,

I recently bought this 6V 500mA polulu regulator

and use it to feed an arduino from a Lipo 4S (16.8 V max) in a quadcopter.
At the end of your page there is the recommandation:

“If you are connecting more than 20 V or your power leads or supply has high inductance, we recommend soldering a 33 μF or larger electrolytic capacitor close to the regulator between VIN and GND. The capacitor should be rated for at least 50 V.”

Though my Voltage is lower than 20V, i’m still wondering if with ~ 15cm leads (typical breadboard wires) it would be more cautious to add the electrolytic capacitor in parallel with the polulu regulator … ?



For your system, you probably do not need to add an electrolytic capacitor, but adding one would not hurt either, so if you have space for it, you might add it just as a precaution.



I have a Pololu 6V 2.5A step down regulator D24V25F6. VIN connects to 12V solar panel and OUT is connected to a CN3065 lithium battery charge module using a 2.3 metre cable.

In my project, I am finding that the CN3065 boards are experiencing problems after a few weeks of use. Normally the CN3065 would stop charging the lithium battery once the voltage reaches 4.2v. But after a while the boards are supplying higher voltage (approx 5v) to the battery. This is a problem as these batteries should not be charged higher than 4.2v.

The datasheet for the CN3065 states that the maximum input voltage is 6V which the Pololu regulator is providing, so I am wondering if voltage spikes on powerup could be damaging the CN3065. There is a mechanical switch near the lithuim charge module to switch power on/off.


It is always a risk to run at the “maximum input voltage” of a chip. The slightest spike on the input will exceed that voltage.

I suspect that your use of 6V input to the charger is the major cause of the problem, and suggest to use a 5V regulator instead.


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