Brief capacitor charging RC time constant demonstration circuit

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When a capacitor is charging or discharging through a resistor, the voltage changes rapidly at first slows down over time. We will just look at the charging curve on this page.

Simple RC time constant charging capacitor at switch release circuit by electronzap electronzapdotcom
Simple RC time constant charging capacitor at switch release circuit by electronzap electronzapdotcom

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Video below shows how to build this circuit on a breadboard.

  • Time constant is usually indicated by it’s initials (TC) or the Greek letter tau ( τ ).
  • RC time constant is determined by the capacitance of the capacitor in farads times the resistance in ohms. τ = RC
  • First time constant changes the starting voltage to about 63% of the final voltage. Each time constant after that changes about 63% of the remaining voltage. After 5 time constants, the voltage is almost completely changed and therefore the capacitor is considered fully charged or discharged after 5 time constants.

Video

Quick RC time constant of charging capacitor schematic to breadboard build and oscilloscope

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