Identifying the Markings
The main problem is that capacitors don’t carry a “Made in” or similar phrase printed on their bodies. This makes the whole process of discovery the country of origin very hard. Several manufacturers won’t even print their names, only their logos. Sometimes not even that! Some logos have the name of manufacturer on it (e.g., Sanyo), but in most cases they haven’t (see real example in Figure 2)! Some manufacturers will only print the capacitor series, and you will have to be smart enough to know that the number printed is a series and you will have to find the manufacturer by yourself!
If you are able to decode the manufacturer logo or to know which company carries a particular capacitor series, you will be able to find out the country of origin, by knowing where in the world that particular manufacturer is based. Sounds complicated? It is. For most people it is an unsolvable detective work.
But don’t worry. Our goal with this tutorial is to provide you with a table containing the most common Japanese manufacturers and how to identify their capacitors. Of course there are more Japanese manufacturers around, but we are listing only the ones typically found on PC hardware parts, especially power supplies and motherboards, which are the two components where people are more concerned about the quality of electrolytic capacitors. We are also going to publish tables with the most common Taiwanese and Chinese capacitors in order to avoid questions like “hey, I have a capacitor with XXX marking, it isn’t in your list, is it Japanese?.”