Recapping Can Capacitors in Antique Electronics

The number one component failure in antique electronic devices is old electrolytic capacitors. Most troublesome are the “can” type multi-segment capacitors. These are hard to find and can be quite expensive. More importantly, even if you find a replacement, it’s likely to be “old stock” and not certain to last since the some aspects of their “clock” started ticking when they were made, not when you start using them.

My approach has been to “re-cap” failed can capacitors with modern capacitors of equal or better ratings. This is cheaper, and also more reliable as long as high quality caps are used. Many think this can’t be done without cutting or damaging the can and impacting the appearance of the equipment. This would, of course, not be desirable in equipment where the can caps are visible, such as old McIntosh power amplifiers.

The rest of this post will show how to re-cap cans so they look completely original when done.

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