Trimmer Capacitors

When it is not necessary to change the value of a capacitor very often, a trimmer can be used. It consists of two plates, mounted on a ceramic base and separated by a sheet of plastic, mica, or some other solid dielectric. The plates are flexible, and can be squashed together more or less by means of a screw (following figure). Sometimes two sets of several plates are interleaved to increase the capacitance.


Trimmers can be connected in parallel with an air variable, so that the range of the air variable can be adjusted. Some air-variable capacitors have trimmers built in. Typical maximum values for trimmers range from a few picofarads up to about 200 pF. They handle low to moderate voltages, are highly efficient, and are nonpolarized.