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  FAQ - Frequently Asked Questions

What is ESR?
ESR is an abbreviation for Equivalent Series Resistance, the characteristic representing the sum of resistive (ohmic) losses within a capacitor. While ESR is undesirable, all capacitors exhibit it to some degree. Materials and construction techniques used to produce the capacitor all contribute to the component's ESR value. ESR is a frequency dependent characteristic, so comparison between component types should be referenced to same frequency. Industry standard reference for ESR is 100kHz at +25°C. Power dissipation within the capacitor, and the effectiveness of the capacitor's noise suppression characteristics will be related directly to the ESR value.

[ For more information see: Web Exclusive: "An Introduction to Low ESR Capacitors"  - version ]

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What is an E-Cap?
E-Cap is an abbreviation for Electrolytic Capacitor. Electrolytic capacitors include Aluminum E-Caps (SMT and Leaded Types) and Tantalum E-Caps (link). E-Caps feature high capacitance value in relatively small component sizes. All E-Caps are polarized with anode (+) and cathode (-) terminals.  

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What is the difference between a "Solid" or "Polymer" or "Organic" or "Organic Semiconductor" Aluminum Electrolytic Capacitor?
These terms essentially refer to the same thing... All of these terms (when applied to aluminum electrolytic capacitors) refer to the electrolyte composition. The use of a solid (polymer - organic semiconductor) electrolyte (in place of a more common liquid electrolyte) in aluminum electrolytic capacitors, results in improvements of greatly reduced ESR, higher ripple current ratings and extended operational life.   [ more info ]

* NIC Solid Aluminum Electrolytic Capacitors: Liquid - Hybrid - Solid Electrolyte Materials Comparison

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What are the differences between "Liquid", "Hybrid" and "Solid" Type Aluminum Electrolytic Capacitors?
These terms (when applied to aluminum electrolytic capacitors) refer to the electrolyte type composition. The electrolyte acts as an electrical connection between the (-) cathode and the dielectric. Different forms (liquid - hybrid - solid) electrolytes have been developed over the years. Each type has benefits (PROS) and undesirable (CONS) characteristics. Development of better electrolytes has primarily focused on reducing the ESR and increasing the ripple current rating, by using higher conductivity materials. Improving the capacitor's electrical characteristics over temperature (specifically at low temperature) and extending operational life have also been driving R&D in electrolyte development.  

[ For more info, see Liquid - Hybrid - Solid Electrolyte Materials Comparison ]
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What is the difference between a "Polymer" or "Polymer Cathode" and standard Tantalum Electrolytic Capacitor?
Standard tantalum electrolytic capacitors have a cathode of MnO2 (Manganese Oxide). Polymer type tantalum electrolytic capacitors have the MnO2 cathode replaced by a highly conductive polymer (typically polypyrrole). Polymer cathode tantalum electrolytic capacitors feature reduced ESR, higher ripple current ratings and suppression of combustion (improved safety factor) as compared to MnO2 cathode types.  [ more info ]

* NIC Polymer Cathode Tantalum Electrolytic Capacitors: [ NTP cross reference ]

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Who is NIC?
Since its 1982 inception, NIC Components Corp. [ ™] has grown to become a leading supplier of surface mount (SMT) and leaded Capacitors, Resistors, Magnetics, Varistors and Diodes. From it’s Melville, NY  and San Jose, CA operations, NIC has expanded it’s sales and warehousing operations into Europe and Asia (Singapore), providing the means to support OEM and CEM customers worldwide.

*See NIC Company Profiles at link & link

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For whom is this website intended?
This Website is intended for use by NIC customers, potential NIC customers, NIC distributors and NIC personnel. Information provided covers NIC low ESR products and helpful tools.

To request additional information, please contact NIC.

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Who can I contact for technical assistance or information on NIC's products?
For immediate assistance:
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Who do I contact for a price - delivery quote on NIC's products?
Contact one of our franchised distributors at link
Contact one of our sales representatives at link
Contact NIC directly at link

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How can I get samples of NIC products?
On-line sample order entry at link
or fax request (pdf form) to closest NIC office link

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How can my company participate in NIC's SADU program? 
NIC's Strategic Account Development Unit (SADU) expertise is in customized support solutions to the OEM or CEM with PCB assembly operations in multiple locations. 

To find out how your company can benefit from this program, contact SADU at e-mail:  
fax (USA): 1-631-396-7575, phone (USA): 1-631-396-7500 x 1598

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Where can I find information on NIC product changes or discontinued items?
  • On-line product change notices (PCNs) are posted at link under [PC].
  • Old discontinued products and alternate - substitutions are shown at link under [ EOL ].
  • PCNs are also found at
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What is the breakdown of the date coding systems (on component and / or packaging)? 
NIC uses industry standard 4 digit (YYWW) date code system ("0116" = 16th week of year 2001) on the majority of our products. Date code can be found on either the component packaging (reel or box) label or printed on the component itself. In the case of leaded aluminum electrolytic capacitors, the date code appears on the component sleeve. (see pdf document).

On small SMT components, where marking space is minimal, abbreviated date coding systems are used:
  • SMT Tantalum Electrolytic Capacitors (link, see page 3)
  • SMT Aluminum Electrolytic Capacitors (link)
  • SMT Rectifier Diodes (link)
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What are the recommended storage conditions for NIC's products?
Recommended storage conditions:
  • Indoors
  • Temperature: +5°C ~ +35°C (41°F ~ 95°F)
  • Relative humidity: 40 to 75%
Conditions outside these limits may adversely effect the packaging materials and/or the components’ solderability characteristics. (pdf document version)
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Is NIC ISO-9001 certified?
Yes, NIC has ISO-9001:2000 certification from UL-Underwriters Laboratories Inc. 
A copy (.jpg image) can be found at link
A pdf document copy can be found at link

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How can I get directions to NIC facilities?
On-line driving directions to NIC (Melville, NY) at link

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I can't open your pdf documents... or I need a copy of the pdf reader.
Download up-to-date pdf reader at link
If you continue to have difficulty, please contact NIC at 

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