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Charging in Parallel and discharging in series capacitors? Answered

Most people (okay, well tech guys :P) know that if you put 2 identical capacitors in series you can double the voltage they can handle and you cut in half the capacitence. These 2 capacitors together have 2x the Joules as one capacitor alone. But if you charged them each seperatly, and then connected them in series, would they have 4x the joules as original? For example, lets say I have a 16 volt 100uF capacitor, if each was charged in parallel to 16 volts and then connected in series, when discharged would it have the same amount of power as a 32 volt 100uF capacitor, or would it still have the same power as 2 capacitors charged in series (from a 32 volt power supply)? This question seems kind of stupid, but using what seems like good logic (or bad if your on the other side) you could argue this both ways. But there's only 1 right answer.

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frollardBest Answer (author)2009-07-17

As kelseymh says: conservation of energy - you can have more 'pressure' (voltage potential) at a cost of 'volume' (amperage) total capacitance (equivelant to wattage) would remain the same. You can have twice the energy for half the time, or half the energy for twice as long. Placing them in series makes them cancel each other's 'total volume' gain out by operating at a higher voltage.

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lamont.cutler (author)2016-01-08

I understamd where you are going with that question. I believe your logic is correct instead of having 32v 50uf you would indeed have 32v100uf if charged separately.

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kelseymh (author)2009-07-17

"Joules" are units of energy. You should be able to answer the question yourself just from energy conservation :-)

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guyfrom7up (author)kelseymh2009-07-17

that's what i thought, or maybe that capacitors are just fun like that xD thanks

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