NOS Glass Sealed Paper in Oil Capacitors (Vitamin Q Type)

paper in oil capacitor
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  • Item #: PIOCAP

NOS Glass Sealed Paper in Oil Capacitors (Vitamin Q Type)

Many players like the legendary tone of the Paper in Oil (PIO) Capacitors.  The best known variety is the Sprague Vitamin Q.  These haven't been made in years, and have gotten scarce and expensive.  Some suppliers have even started selling newly made reproduction versions. Even then some of the popular sizes of those have now been discontinued.  If you can find any New Old Stock Sprague Vitamin Q's anywhere near the needed sizes, expect to pay upwards of $25 each. Even the newly made reproductions are going for $12-15 or more apiece, and many of them are only oil filled polyester capacitors anyway which isn't really the same thing. And the mineral oil that is used today isn't the same as the proprietary capacitor oils of the 50's and 60's, a lot of which are now banned due to PCB's even though they are hermetically sealed inside the metal tube with a glass seal. In my opinion, the only newly made reproduction that is close to the real Vitamin Q is the Jensen version sold by Angela Instruments, which goes for about $18. (I recommend but don't stock them) You could also try the Russian military versions. (No they probably won't make your guitar sound like a balalaika.)  I do have a few of the genuine Vitamin Q variety in another listing.

But what a lot of people don't realize is that the Sprague Co. was only one of many suppliers that made Glass Sealed Paper in Oil capacitors to the very same military specification. Sprague just happened to be the best known one. A few of the other companies are Cornell-Dubilier, Gudeman, Sangamo, Aerovox, MicaMold, John E. Fast, Dearborn, General Instruments, West-Cap, and Pyramid among others. The military always kept many suppliers in those days. The less known brands do come up from time to time as New Old Stock and are the closest available equivalent to the actual Vitamin Q Hirel part, and are a closer match (not to mention a better value) than the newly made alternatives. The only real difference between these and the Vitamin Q's is the price and what's printed on the outside. Even these less known brands are becoming scarce in the values often specified. A few microfarads won't make much difference though, there isn't very much difference say between .018 and .022 uf, it's not a whole lot more than the allowed tolerance would have been anyway. As with all tone capacitors, the larger the uF value, the more highs are rolled off. These are all quite old, but have never been used and have full length leads, usually at least 2 inches per side or more.  Available sizes vary from time to time according to what I can find. I test each one to specs, clean them up as best as I can, and add a length of vintage style cloth insulation to the leads before shipping.   Make sure there is room for these in your guitar, the physical size is noted in the selection drop down box.

 Price is for a single capacitor and includes shipping.

PCB Information:  To the best of my knowledge, these capacitors do not contain PCB (Polychlorinated Biphenyl) chemicals unless specifically noted to contain a proprietary oil listed on the EPA's list of PCB containing capacitor oils.  However, due to the age of these parts, manufacturers information is difficult to obtain for certain, as there are often conflicting sources. I have made an attempt to verify the type of oil used, but it is not always possible.  PCB's are known to be an environmental hazard to ground water and a health and reproductive hazard to humans. They are not alowed to be produced or imported for new construction, but are allowed to continue in service as produced, if properly disposed of.  It is therefore recommended to treat them as though they may contain small amounts of PCB chemicals for purposes of handling and disposal.

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Price $12.95
2 or more $9.95 each
Availability In-Stock

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