[time-nuts] Replacement A9 boards for the HP 5065A

Charles Steinmetz csteinmetz at yandex.com
Sat Feb 24 22:45:45 EST 2018

The key properties relevant to long-TC integrator capacitors are 
insulation resistance (leakage) and dielectric absorption (DA).  (One 
response on this thread opined that DA is not important in this circuit, 
but that is not correct.  DA is most definitely a factor in long-TC 
integrators, including this one.)  If maintaining an absolute time 
constant is important, then tempco enters the picture (but the absolute 
time constant of the A9 integrator is not a critical parameter).

Consider polypropylene (PP) capacitors as the baseline for long-TC 
integrator applications.

Polycarbonate (PC) capacitors are very scarce these days, because the 
sole source of PC capacitor film discontinued it over 15 years ago. 
Even if they were available, the advantages of PC over PP in this 
application are small.

PPS has a lower tempco than PP, and may have lower leakage (depending on 
construction and processing).  They are generally not so easy to find, 
particularly in larger values, but Robert already directed you to the 
Kemet SMR series, which are available in suitable values and are 
conveniently packaged.

Polystyrene (PS) is the best dielectric for long-TC integrators except 
for Teflon (PTFE), but PS caps are extremely hard to find in large 
values, are generally huge compared to PP and PPS, are easily damaged 
during soldering, and are not conveniently packaged.

PTFE is the best dielectric for long-TC integrators, but PTFE caps are 
expensive and huge, and they are unnecessary for this application.

Your best choices are PP and PPS.  The DA of PP and PPS are similar. The 
leakage depends as much on the construction and processing of particular 
caps as on the bulk resistivities of PP and PPS, so look at the 
datasheets carefully to see what is guaranteed by the manufacturers.

Best regards,


On 2/24/2018 8:40 PM, cdelect at juno.com wrote:
> Well I hunted up the change pages for the A9.
> The cap is polycarbonate, the original A9 was polyester.
> If I can't find the polycarbonate I'll look into the PPS.
> Cheers,
> Corby
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