Capacitors (historically known as condensators) are used to store a small amount of energy in an electrical field. Ideal capacitors do not dissipate their energy. The charge stored in a capacitor is known as capacitance.
The unit for capacitance is the farad. One farad is equal to 1 joule per square volt, or 1 coulomb per volt. This means that a capacitance of 1 farad at 1 volt can maintain a current of 1 amp for 1 second. The amount of energy stored in a capacitor can be calculated using the formula:
- E is the capacitor's stored energy.
- C is the capacitor's capacitance in farads.
- V is the voltage of the capacitor.
A capacitor at 50V with the max amount of redstone will have a capacitance of 1daF (10F). Using the above formula, we can calculate that it stores 12.5kJ of energy.
Capacitors can be thought of as a slow charging battery with a very rapid discharge. Capacitors can be used to smooth power output, and stabilize voltage and power flow in large networks. Capacitors can also be used to provide short bursts of backup power, such as bridging the gap between one generator failing over to another.
Series and Parallel
Opposite to the behavior of resistors and inductors, connecting capacitors in series will reduce their overall capacitance. However it will in the same time add their maximal voltages together. As an example: Running 4 capacitors rated for 50V will add up to 200V. This allows for dramatically increased energy storage over using dielectrics. As a downside, this will cause the usual reduction under-volting a singular capacitor will have, so stepping up the voltage is necessary to maintain performance. The whole capacitor line must also be treated as one and removal of any will result in large portions of the network overloading as a result.
Parallel connection adds the individual capacitances, so energy storage increases too. This is ideal for when one wishes to have the extra storage of additional capacitors but without the consequences of running them in series. It will allow the increased capacities to be scaled by installing them side-by-side. This is very advantageous when one wants to expand their capacitor bank but does not want to change the voltage requirement.
Installing your Capacitor
Once you have your capacitor placed down, you must put two ingredients in: Redstone and Dialectics. The quantity of these will determine both the nominal voltage and the capacitance. Adding redstone (up to 13) will increase the capacity while adding dialectics (up to 20) will increase its nominal voltage while also decreasing its capacity as well. For this reason, it's highly suggested that no more dialectics are used than necessary, as adding more reduces its performance.
- 10,000mF at 50V
- 625mF at 200V
- 39.1mF at 800V
- 25mF at 1000V
Tips for Use
Even though adding dialectics reduces the capacitance, as long as the voltage is stepped up to the new nominal value, the capacitor will still charge and discharge at the same rate; and also has the same max energy storage. Adding more dielectrics allows for a higher voltage and one should always use exactly as many dialectics as their current voltage input calls for, since using less than your nominal voltage is going to reduce its performance. If your input voltage needs to be above 1,000V consider using transformers to step the voltage down or increasing the max voltage by running capacitors in series. These will allow the capacitor(s) to charge with very large amounts of power while still remaining fully functional.
An easy way to use a capacitor for storage is to simply attach it to a wire connected to your network and ground the other end. The capacitor will draw power when its internal voltage is lower than the network (drained) and discharge power when its internal voltage is higher than the network (an outage or overload) allowing it to stabilize an uncertain network giving enough time for fixing.
Capacitors can be used for massive storage. Running 64 capacitors (one dielectric and 13 redstone) in a line increases the voltage to match the limit of the Very High Voltage wires, and as such can hold 800KJ of power across them.
If an inductor is used with a diode, capacitors can almost double the voltage without any side-effects. This is because using a capacitor by itself causes the voltage to match, but using an inductor forces even more electricity to go in until its absolute limit is reached and will stop accepting power instead of failing. Having an overvolted capacitor will also increase its storage capacity, allowing for a large amount of bonus charge to be added.