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10 Minute Variable Capacitor


by dloranger on May 13, 2010 Table of Contents 10 Minute Variable Capacitor . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Intro: 10 Minute Variable Capacitor . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Step 1: PREPAIR "PLATES" . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Step 2: Prepair the Holder . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Step 3: Finish second plate assembly . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Step 4: Assembly . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Related Instructables . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Comments . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1 2 2 3 4 4 6 7

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Intro: 10 Minute Variable Capacitor


Supplies you will need: 1.) Sharpie 2.) Superglue 3.) CD case (slim) 4.) 2 CD's 5.) Wire (26 AWG) 6.) Heavy Paper 7.) Glue Stick 8.) Tinfoil sheet 9.) Pocket or Exacto knife 10.) Plastic bottle cap

Image Notes 1. Basic pieces

Step 1: PREPAIR "PLATES"


a.) Turn both CD's upside down and cover them half-way with glue from the glue stick b.) Place CD's glue side down on tinfoil so only the glue covered part of the CD is on the tinfoil c.) Wait for Glue to dry and then trim excess foil of with the knife d.) Cut desired length of wire off and remove insulator about 1/4 inch e.) pass wire thru center opening from non-tinfoil side to tinfoil side and tape exposed portion to foil e.) Set aside for now

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Step 2: Prepair the Holder


a.) Place 1 CD in the jewel case and close lid b.) Center the Bottle cap on the lid open side up c.) Use the sharpie to trace the outline of the bottle cap d.) Remove the lid from the jewel case e.) VERY CAREFULLY use the back of the knife tip to scrap the plastic away under the sharpie line until the center piece falls out

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Step 3: Finish second plate assembly


a.) Use point of knife to open a small hole in the center of the top of the bottle lid b.) add a ring of superglue to the top of the lid and attach to the second CD on the non-tinfoil side c.) cut off piece of wire and strip the insulation off for 1/4 inch and pass thru hole in lide d.) Tape exposed portion of wire to tinfoil

Step 4: Assembly
a.) install first plate tinfoil side up in the CD holder with wire hanging out one side b.) Use superglue to permanently attach the CD to the holder c.) trim Sheet of paper to completely cover the CD and be easily installed into holder d.) reattach the jewel case lid e.) pass bottlecap of plate 2 thru the opening in the jewel case and close the lid. f.) You should be able to easily spin the top CD now, but it should not spin on its own g.) tape the lid closed (loose enough for cd to still spin)

http://www.instructables.com/id/10-Minute-Variable-Capacitor/

Image Notes 1. Trim and install paper insulator

http://www.instructables.com/id/10-Minute-Variable-Capacitor/

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Comments
12 comments Add Comment

Phil B says:

May 13, 2010. 4:31 PM REPLY This is an interesting use of old CDs. Have you done any readings with a capacitance meter of any kind? Would readings be in picofarads? Would there be enough capacitance that the readings would be in microfarads? It would be great if you could utilize the metallic layer already in the CDs.

psychotron says:
the metal layer is beneath a very thin lacquer layer, so paint thinner might do it.

Aug 12, 2011. 7:34 PM REPLY

dloranger says:

May 14, 2010. 7:15 PM REPLY I wish I had access to an LRC, would make my life much easier! I would be interested in getting some approximations as I am trying to build a completely "home brew" radio receiver for a 20 MHz AM signal for school

psychotron says:

Aug 12, 2011. 7:31 PM REPLY capacitance depends on the area of the plates and inversely to the thickness of the dielectric and also the dielectric constant of the dielectric. http://www.daycounter.com/Calculators/Plate-Capacitor-Calculator.phtml http://members.gcronline.com/cbrauda/0007.htm using wild guesses I get about 750 pF

Phil B says:

May 15, 2010. 8:56 AM REPLY Capacitors pass AC current. How about lighting a small bulb with low voltage AC current through capacitors of known values and comparing the brightness of the bulb when the same current passes through your capacitor? It would be crude, but it could give you an idea of the values.

drbill says:
Or you could measure the Farads with a meter that measures capacitance.

Aug 14, 2011. 2:58 AM REPLY

Snappy83 says:
Ha ha, ok thats scary! I thought about using cd's to make a variable cap, good minds think alike! nice job!

Jun 9, 2011. 12:15 AM REPLY

7654321 says:

Jan 17, 2011. 9:08 PM REPLY I tried making a capacitor with aluminum foil and press n seal. It didnt work at all lol. Before I try this, can you give any kind of rough estimate? Like 100500uf? Aug 24, 2010. 12:12 PM REPLY

35Timmy says:
if your looking for a crystal radio check out am radios at http://electronics.howstuffworks.com/radio9.htm & use resonance & use the capacitor to tune into the fequncy & radio station you want

meddler says:
I have been trying to find plans to build a crystal radio. Would this work as a station tuner?

May 25, 2010. 10:23 AM REPLY

dloranger says:

May 26, 2010. 8:42 AM REPLY It should work for your needs, just need to find out what value of capacitance it creates so you can build your inductors appropriately.

rimar2000 says:
Clever!

May 14, 2010. 5:10 AM REPLY

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