The Best Alternatives to High-Capacitance MLCCs

If you have been keeping tabs on the MLCC market (or have read our most recent blog post), you know there’s a massive shortage of high-capacitance multilayer ceramic chip capacitors (MLCCs) and resistors right now.

So which products are suitable alternatives for high-cap MLCCs? Keep reading to find out.

Basics of Capacitors

What can we do to achieve a high capacitance value without MLCCs?

There are three main parameters of a parallel plate capacitor that we can use to manipulate the capacitance:

  • Electrodes
  • Dielectric material
  • Distance between electrodes

Remember, there are two main types of capacitors: fixed capacitors and variable capacitors. Within the fixed capacitor realm, we can consider the main types:

  • Film capacitors
  • Ceramic capacitors
  • Electrolytic capacitors (e-caps)
  • Super capacitors
  • Mica capacitors
  • Glass capacitors

Each presents its own advantages and disadvantages according to its size.

Why Is It So Difficult to Find Alternatives for MLCCs?

When considering MLCC alternatives, you have to find one that overlaps well with different technologies. MLCCs are available from low-capacitance values to high-capacitance values, so it’s quite tricky to find a substitute that covers the same range.

When comparing capacitor technologies (especially MLCCs vs. aluminum electrolytic capacitors or film capacitors), you must consider values like maximum possible capacitance, voltage range, maximum permissible current, maximum operating temperature, and applications.

The Best Alternative to MLCCs on the Market: H-Chips

In our expert opinion, we believe the best alternative for MLCCs is the aluminum polymer capacitors (H-Chips).

H-Chips are interesting for a few reasons:

  • Miniaturization (possible to shrink by replacing MLCCs)
  • Replacement for tantalum and MLCCs (because there is no DC-bias effect and no voltage derating and because of their low profile / height critical designs)

Along with being temperature stable, H-Chips have a great voltage range and capacitance range, making them suitable for applications like DC/DC converters and storing energy.

Plus, H-Chip aluminum polymer capacitors help you optimize your integration density by saving space on your PCB. For these reasons, we highly recommend aluminum polymer capacitors (H-Chips) as a solution for your MLCC needs.

What Are Some Proper Alternatives to MLCCs?

All right, so what are some possible alternatives to MLCCs? Depending on the level of capacitance needed, here are some options:

>1 µF (High Capacitance)

  • Classic aluminum e-caps (like SMT V-Chips — also down to 3mm in size)
  • Aluminum polymer e-caps (especially H-Chips)
  • Tantalum capacitors

< 1 µF (Low Capacitance)

  • No real alternatives against conventional MLCCs
  • Film capacitors could work but are way too big and bulky

Find Your MLCC Alternatives from Würth Elektronik

If you’re searching for alternatives during this unfortunate MLCC allocation situation, we can help here at Würth Elektronik. Explore our large variety of suitable capacitor products:

And, of course, let us know if we can answer any more of your questions or provide any free samples!

Where are the equations?

-Anonymous

If you would like more information, we would be happy to get you in touch with a product specialist or an FAE. Please email us at WESupport@we-online.com

Great post!

-RozaUpholve

Good

- Anonymous

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