Most ICs need to be decoupled from their power supply, usually with a 0.1uF capacitor between each power pin and ground. Decoupling is usually used to remove noise and to smooth power fluctuations. Every project will need a few decoupling capacitors; our mini web server project has three ICs that require a total of 11. This can be an expensive part to buy in singles, so it’s crucial to stock up online. Read more about our favorite bulk through-hole and surface mount decoupling capacitors after the break.
The capacitors we selected should be sufficient for most projects. All three parts are rated for 50volts, far more than most digital circuits. We used cheap 20% tolerance parts because it’s not critical that decoupling capacitors be exactly 0.1uF. Higher or lower tolerance capacitors will also work, but there’s no advantage to using high quality decoupling capacitors. Here’s a breakdown of the 0.1uF capacitors pictured above:
C1 through-hole 0.1uF capacitor, such as Mouser #594-K104M15X7RF53L2, ($4 per 100 ) – This cheap 0.1uF capacitor will fit almost any design that calls for through-hole decoupling capacitors. Leads are spaced 2.5mm apart, and fit footprints such as C-EU025-025×050 in the default Cadsoft Eagle rcl library. Part number -L2 has straight legs, -K2 has an outside kink as shown in the picture.
C2 1206 SMD 0.1uF capacitor, such as Mouser #77-VJ12Y50V104K, ($4 per 100) – You might be tempted to try 1206 size parts in your first surface mount experiments. We urge you to skip 1206 and head right on down to 0805. 1206 parts have very little cost benefit over through-hole parts because they’re no longer an industrial favorite. 0805 is just a bit smaller, but costs half as much. Fits Eagle footprint C-EUC1206 in the default rcl library.
C3 0805 SMD 0.1uF capacitor, such as Mouser #80-C0805C104M5R, ($2 per 100) – An 0805 capacitor fits between two pins on a through-hole DIP chip, and aligns nicely with pins on an surface mount SOIC chip. All our new designs, surface mount and through-hole, incorporate this dirt-cheap decoupling capacitor. Fits footprint C-EUC0805 in the default Eagle rcl library.