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Y caps, also called bypass caps or decoupling caps, are a type of capacitor used frequently in electronics to decouple or bypass high-frequency noise on power supply lines.

Some key things to know about Y caps:

  • Placement: They are placed close to microchips/ICs, often right next to the power pins in a sideways "Y" shape which gives them the name.

  • Purpose: To decouple voltage spikes and filter noise from the power supply lines which could otherwise interfere with or disrupt sensitive chips.

  • Type: Usually small ceramic capacitors rated for high frequency such as multilayer ceramic chip capacitors (MLCC).

  • Values: Typically range from 0.1 uF to 10 uF depending on application and chip power needs. Higher values provide more decoupling at lower frequencies.

  • Lines bypassed: Usually placed between power supply rail (Vcc) and ground to filter noise coming in on the power line. Can also be used on analog/digital ground pairs.

  • Effectiveness: Most effective when placed as close to the IC as possible, often right under or beside the chip. Short leads are important for good high frequency bypassing.

So in summary, Y caps are bypass/decoupling capacitors placed in a sideways Y configuration close to ICs to filter high frequency noise and transients on supply lines, improving power integrity and reducing chances of malfunction.