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KEMET ID Reference on KEMET SMD Tantalum Capacitors

Paul V. Bolotoff
Release date: April, 2010


1. Identification
2. PDF Reference


KEMET SMD (Surface Mounted Device) tantalum capacitors are easy to be identified by the KEMET ID symbol, the capital "K" letter above- and underlined. Just in case, it's shown in the top part of this page. KEMET is one of the world's largest manufacturers of tantalum capacitors together with AVX and Vishay, so their capacitors may be found probably in any kind of hardware ranging from consumer electronics to military/aerospace equipment. Although tantalum capacitors are expensive considerably, they're useful for various DIY projects, salvage and repair jobs, etc. Of course, if you buy a whole reel of such capacitors, you can find the series code printed on the label and pick up the respective data sheet online within a few minutes. But what to do, for instance, if you've salvaged some tantalum capacitors from some kind of old or dead equipment? You need to identify them before re-using, and your only information source is a few markings which may be found on the top side of any SMD tantalum capacitor. So, here we start.
Markings of KEMET SMD tantalum capacitors

The picofarad code refers to capacitance indeed. In particular, 226 stands for 22*10^6 picofarads, i.e. 22 microfarads. Rated voltage is in volts, and manufacturing date is in year-week format. Although SMD tantalum capacitors of different series and case sizes may feature different date formats. By the way, don't forget that 542 as illustrated above may refer to the 42nd week of either 1995 or 2005. Once finished with the initial identification, we have to find out the series a particular capacitor belongs to. It's a very important step because tantalum capacitors with the same capacitance and voltage rating but assigned to different series may have very different characteristics. KEMET assigns different polarity indicators to different series, so we have to find a visual match.
Polarity indicator Series Grade
KEMET T491 T491 Industrial
KEMET T492 T492 Military
KEMET T493 T493 Military (COTS)
KEMET T493 or T497 (both Space Grade) T493 or T497
(both Space Grade)
T493: Military and Aerospace (COTS)
T497: Military and Aerospace (High Grade COTS)
KEMET T494 T494 Industrial (Low ESR)
KEMET T495 T495 Industrial (Low ESR, Surge Robust)
KEMET T496 T496 Industrial (Fail-Safe Fused)
KEMET T496 (Space Grade) T496
(Space Grade)
Aerospace (Fail-Safe Fused)
KEMET T498 T498 Industrial (High Temperature: 150°C)
KEMET T498 T499 Industrial (High Temperature: 175°C)
KEMET T510 T510 Industrial (Low ESR, High Capacitance)
KEMET T510 (Space Grade) T510
(Space Grade)
Aerospace (Low ESR, High Capacitance)
KEMET T520 T520 or T521 T520: Industrial (Low ESR)
T521: Industrial (Low ESR, High Voltage)
[Conductive Polymer Cathode]
KEMET T525 T525 Industrial (Low ESR, High Temperature: 125°C)
[Conductive Polymer Cathode]
KEMET T528 T528 Industrial (Low ESR, Low ESL)
[Conductive Polymer Cathode]
KEMET T530 T530 Industrial (Very Low ESR, High Capacitance)
[Conductive Polymer Cathode]

COTS stands for Commercial Off The Shelf which means high reliability industrial products. These are usually more expensive than regular industrial products, but much less expensive than top quality military products (MIL-ER, MILitary - Established Reliability). The MIL-ER products must pass through a defined set of testing conditions. Their failure rates must be published and not to exceed those defined by a military standard. In particular, solid tantalum capacitors for U.S. military use must conform to MIL-PRF-39003 and MIL-PRF-49137.
Note that KEMET has acquired a tantalum capacitor business from EPCOS in December of 2005. Therefore, EPCOS capacitors which have been manufactured after the acquisition carry the KEMET ID symbol, but their marking system remains different. Well, now follow to the next page and pick up the data sheet you need.
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