Break-in question on Speakers - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 76 Old 04-25-2011, 10:07 AM - Thread Starter
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I have a pair of Energy CF-70 speakers arriving soon, which will be used as main fronts in a 5.1 HT environment. Any recommendations concerning the “break-in “process, including type of music or sound to either use or avoid? Is the break-in more geared for the tweeter use?
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post #2 of 76 Old 04-25-2011, 10:16 AM
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Originally Posted by spacecoast View Post

I have a pair of Energy CF-70 speakers arriving soon, which will be used as main fronts in a 5.1 HT environment. Any recommendations concerning the break-in process, including type of music or sound to either use or avoid? Is the break-in more geared for the tweeter use?

Speaker "Break in" is part audiophile myth and part physical reality.

Every time a conventional speaker driver is used after a lengthy rest, it takes a little while, usually measured in seconds, to take on its long-term-use parameter values.

If you let the speaker sit around unused for a period of time measured in weeks or months, it takes on its at-rest parameter values.

Conventional loudspeaker drivers can be both temperature and humidity sensitive as well.

Often more significant can be listener break-in, which happens when a new combination of loudspeaker system and room, are put together and the listener gets used to how it sounds.
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post #3 of 76 Old 04-25-2011, 10:16 AM
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Just play whatever you want, you will notice a bit of a change in the sound after a few hours. It usually has more to do with the XOs than the drivers themselves.
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post #4 of 76 Old 04-25-2011, 12:01 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by arnyk View Post
Speaker "Break in" is part audiophile myth and part physical reality.

Every time a conventional speaker driver is used after a lengthy rest, it takes a little while, usually measured in seconds, to take on its long-term-use parameter values.

If you let the speaker sit around unused for a period of time measured in weeks or months, it takes on its at-rest parameter values.

Conventional loudspeaker drivers can be both temperature and humidity sensitive as well.

Often more significant can be listener break-in, which happens when a new combination of loudspeaker system and room, are put together and the listener gets used to how it sounds.
Not entirely myth.

A brand new driver does take time to break in. Epoxy is used in the construction of most drivers, to hold the spider together. When you first start using the driver the spider is fairly stiff, but over time the epoxy develops a spider web pattern (haha) of tiny cracks that loosen things up.

Bottom line is the T/S parameters of most drivers are measurably different after break in. Sometimes by a large margin.

So how should you break in your speakers? Just use them, there's no magic CD you need to play. I might avoid driving them to really high levels right off the start, but that's even debatable. You may or may not notice the changes as they break in, but there's nothing you need to do differently during that period.

Also, the few people I have talked to about this in the speaker building business actually run their speakers in the factory for 40+ hours before shipping them out. They don't want people hearing the changes and thinking something's wrong. I don't know how widespread this practice is, probably doesn't happen for cheaper speakers, but it's possible your speakers are already broken in when you unpack them.
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post #5 of 76 Old 04-25-2011, 12:36 PM - Thread Starter
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Since the Energy manual mentions that it "takes some time" for the speakers to break-in, I would assume that they were not played at the factory. It also mentions using conservative volume levels. I was just thinking of leaving my reciever on a radio station for a day or two...
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post #6 of 76 Old 04-25-2011, 12:45 PM
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I don't own Energy, but assume that the same holds true for many speakers. They run a test tone thru them at the factory to make sure they work, and to some extent I suppose it may loosen them up a bit. But I think the movable parts tend to be stiff initially and with use begin to operate more freely, hence, "broken in" or run-in.

Okay, I know, I know... the experts and the manufacturers all say that break in is not required, or deny that it even exists. It's sort of like oil changes in your car... the auto mfr wants you to believe that you don't have to do it very often, while the folks who sell oil tell you it should be done frequently.

The break-in has been discussed quite often here on AVS and a lot of people say their speakers began to sound much better after the first few weeks of use... and I tend to agree with them. But I don't think there's any special break-in method needed. Just don't try to drive them to ear splitting volume for a week or two... and do so only if you truly don't value your sense of hearing in the first place.

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post #7 of 76 Old 04-25-2011, 12:46 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by arnyk View Post
Speaker "Break in" is part audiophile myth...
This is all anyone asking really needs to know. "Break-in period" is a joke, and I've really been surprised at how much the term/subject comes up on this site (or, these days, I suppose). I've been out of it for a while, but you know, I can't recall anyone ever using this term 2 or 3 decades ago.

Bottom line: Connect your speakers, choose an audio source, press play and go take a leak. When you come back, you're golden .

This subject is seriously ridiculous.
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post #8 of 76 Old 04-25-2011, 01:01 PM
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Since the Energy manual mentions that it "takes some time" for the speakers to break-in, I would assume that they were not played at the factory.
Nobody with anything that might reasonably be termed a "factory" is going to "break in" speakers. It would defeat the purpose of mass production.

Also, many makers of audio gear (not just speakers) mention "break-in" in their manuals in order to alleviate Remorseful Buyer Syndrome. They're telling you, "Listen for a while, it'll get better!" And it will, but not because the gear changes. It'll get better because you change. You are a totally uncontrolled and largely uncontrollable variable, and you will grow to like your speakers—especially if you've been told that the speakers will get better with time!

On a technical level, Tom Nousaine once compared speaker drivers before and after break-in, and found that the measured changes were smaller than the unit-to-unit variations of the new drivers. That gives you some idea of how trivial this whole question is.

Just relax and enjoy the music. Your speakers are fine now, and they will continue to be fine.

If you can't explain how it works, you can't say it doesn't.—The High-End Creed

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post #9 of 76 Old 04-25-2011, 01:08 PM
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I believe in break in and that the sound changes for the better. I noticed this when I was into car audio with subs. Brand new yes they would get loud right away but there was something about them that was different after a few days to a week. To me they seemed smooth out and could be turned up a little louder than before. I can't prove this with articles and graphs. Just my experience. I have the same speakers as the op and I feel they have gotten better over this first week of ownership.
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post #10 of 76 Old 04-25-2011, 01:29 PM
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Originally Posted by 4DHD View Post
Just play whatever you want, you will notice a bit of a change in the sound after a few hours. It usually has more to do with the XOs than the drivers themselves.
How do the XOs change??

Mechanically the drivers will change a bit but even the changed T/S parameters do not really make a difference outside of some bass response the first small amount of time. How do capacitors, resisitors, inductors/coils change over listening time??
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post #11 of 76 Old 04-25-2011, 01:30 PM
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Originally Posted by NateFg2 View Post
I believe in break in and that the sound changes for the better. I noticed this when I was into car audio with subs. Brand new yes they would get loud right away but there was something about them that was different after a few days to a week. To me they seemed smooth out and could be turned up a little louder than before. I can't prove this with articles and graphs. Just my experience. I have the same speakers as the op and I feel they have gotten better over this first week of ownership.
Its pretty much your brain doing all the break in when it comes to time frames like "weeks"

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post #12 of 76 Old 04-25-2011, 01:30 PM
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Originally Posted by mcnarus View Post
It'll get better because you change. You are a totally uncontrolled and largely uncontrollable variable, and you will grow to like your speakersespecially if you've been told that the speakers will get better with time!
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Originally Posted by NateFg2 View Post
I believe in break in and that the sound changes for the better. I noticed this when I was into car audio with subs. Brand new yes they would get loud right away but there was something about them that was different after a few days to a week. To me they seemed smooth out and could be turned up a little louder than before. I can't prove this with articles and graphs. Just my experience. I have the same speakers as the op and I feel they have gotten better over this first week of ownership.
These two posts belong together, exactly in the order they were posted .
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post #13 of 76 Old 04-25-2011, 01:46 PM
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Originally Posted by mcnarus View Post
On a technical level, Tom Nousaine once compared speaker drivers before and after break-in, and found that the measured changes were smaller than the unit-to-unit variations of the new drivers. That gives you some idea of how trivial this whole question is.
http://www.gr-research.com/burnin.htm

The article is from Danny Ritchie, who has designed a lot of high end speakers for various manufacturers. And one of the responses is Dan Wiggins, the guy who designed the XBL^2 driver. I don't think a 20% drop in Fs is trivial.
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post #14 of 76 Old 04-25-2011, 01:52 PM
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Originally Posted by WallyWest View Post
http://www.gr-research.com/burnin.htm

The article is from Danny Ritchie, who has designed a lot of high end speakers for various manufacturers. And one of the responses is Dan Wiggins, the guy who designed the XBL^2 driver. I don't think a 20% drop in Fs is trivial.
How many drivers do you think have less then 40 Hours burn in time when they are shipped to our homes?? To me there are two different topics. Drivers are tested long before you have them in your room so the only question I have does anyone really think they have a woofer that has never been burned in?

FWIW, I do run all my subwoofers, woofers in new boxes for X hours with a 40Hz or 50Hz tone. I also posted above that the T/S parameters can change but its not as drastic as that one test. These are from driver manufacturers though and not a speaker company like Energy.

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post #15 of 76 Old 04-25-2011, 02:16 PM
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Originally Posted by penngray View Post
How do the XOs change??

Mechanically the drivers will change a bit but even the changed T/S parameters do not really make a difference outside of some bass response the first small amount of time. How do capacitors, resisitors, inductors/coils change over listening time??
Believe me they do. I had a pair of speakers that were a few years old. The surrounds on the mid-bass drivers had been replaced. So they were well used.
Then I decided to build biased XOs for them. I used quality parts, certainly not the most expensive, though. Installed them, one board or each driver, and the 9v battery.
When I first fired them up, the sound was a bit harsh compared to the old XOs.
After a couple of days the sound smoothed out, became more refined. With more air in the highs, solid defined midrange and a very full mid-bass.

Now some of it might have been due to the charging time of the capacitors from the 9v. But once they were fully charged, smooth did not even come close to describing the sound.

So they went from being something less than the original XO, to much more.
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post #16 of 76 Old 04-25-2011, 02:20 PM
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Believe me they do.
Sorry, science stops me from believing anything unproven.

In your case the battery bias might have some measured differences/issues if the battery had issues. Normal XOs will not have these differences though, I have yet to see a measurement change in a Cap or resistor over X hours. If they did then there are serious XO concerns from phase coherence to harmonic distortion.

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post #17 of 76 Old 04-25-2011, 03:08 PM - Thread Starter
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I didn't know that buying speakers would be this much fun! And as someone who last purchased main speakers about 35 to 40 years ago, I had never heard of "break-in" for speakers untill two weeks ago.

I am fairly sure that back then, I used the following process....

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Connect your speakers, choose an audio source, press play and go take a leak

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post #18 of 76 Old 04-25-2011, 03:11 PM
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Originally Posted by penngray View Post

Sorry, science stops me from believing anything unproven.

In your case the battery bias might have some measured differences/issues if the battery had issues. Normal XOs will not have these differences though, I have yet to see a measurement change in a Cap or resistor over X hours. If they did then there are serious XO concerns from phase coherence to harmonic distortion.

You then don't know how caps work in a normal audio circuit. As the voltage/frequency changes across a cap it creates distortion because the windings tighten/loosen with those changes. Placing a constant low voltage across the caps keeps them tight. But as there is a 2 megohm resistor between the battery and capacitor pairs the caps don't fully charge all at once.

If you, at a later point in time, remove the battery, or it dies, you will notice the highs loose their open, airy sound for one thing. And the overall sound of the system will diminish, reverting back to its original sound.
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post #19 of 76 Old 04-25-2011, 03:34 PM
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Originally Posted by 4DHD View Post

You then don't know how caps work in a normal audio circuit. As the voltage/frequency changes across a cap it creates distortion because the windings tighten/loosen with those changes. Placing a constant low voltage across the caps keeps them tight. But as there is a 2 megohm resistor between the battery and capacitor pairs the caps don't fully charge all at once.

If you, at a later point in time, remove the battery, or it dies, you will notice the highs loose their open, airy sound for one thing. And the overall sound of the system will diminish, reverting back to its original sound.

Bias design using a 9V battery are not normal XOs. Obviously anytime you introduce a voltage something might change that is not exactly a passive XO design. "Airy sound" type banter is purely audiophile exaggeration and I think bias designs are just another audiopihle waste of time but that is a different topic.

Im only going to say that the XOs in the Energy speakers are nothing the same wrt your posts so why even post about it??

As for not knowing how a cap works in an audio circuit, I hope I know how a cap works because I need them to protect tweeters during measurements. Show me the change in the driver response slope for X hours to prove that caps change the XO point over time. If you can not then a normal cap (used as part of a high pass filter) will not change over time and there is no "break-in" when it comes to caps.

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post #20 of 76 Old 04-25-2011, 03:46 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WallyWest View Post

http://www.gr-research.com/burnin.htm

The article is from Danny Ritchie, who has designed a lot of high end speakers for various manufacturers. And one of the responses is Dan Wiggins, the guy who designed the XBL^2 driver. I don't think a 20% drop in Fs is trivial.

Yes, but, did these people do an audibility test??? Can they hear it? Can anyone hear the difference????
Don't forget, hearing at those low frequencies the human capability is rather limited to detect small changes or even large level changes.

by the way, may want to read Richard Pierce's input on the matter:
http://groups.google.com/group/rec.a...e=source&hl=en

http://groups.google.com/group/rec.a...26f5cc57ffd849
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post #21 of 76 Old 04-25-2011, 03:49 PM
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Originally Posted by mcnarus View Post

....On a technical level, Tom Nousaine once compared speaker drivers before and after break-in, and found that the measured changes were smaller than the unit-to-unit variations of the new drivers. That gives you some idea of how trivial this whole question is.

Just relax and enjoy the music. Your speakers are fine now, and they will continue to be fine.

Here you go

Nousaine, Tom, 'Breaking Wind,' Car Stereo Review, Jan/Feb 1997, pg 90-94. (Break in myth)

Nousaine, Tom 'Test Report: Dynaudio MW 190, 12" Subwoofer,' Car Stereo Review, Oct 1997, pg 83-88.


The real question should be audibility of the changes claimed.
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post #22 of 76 Old 04-25-2011, 03:52 PM
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I don't think a 20% drop in Fs is trivial.

Might or might not be. What's the effect on FR?

If you can't explain how it works, you can't say it doesn't.—The High-End Creed

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post #23 of 76 Old 04-25-2011, 03:53 PM
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I firmly believe in break-in. I just don't know that it takes the crazy amount of hours you see mentioned by speaker manufacturers.

I have a small suspicion it's in their best interest to tell you it takes 40 hours or whatever. In that time, you are going to tend to get used to the sound. Like when I bought my current set of speakers, the mid bass did not sound quite right. But now I don't notice that. Whether I am right or wrong about it not sounding right, I am sure I am not listening as close as I did when I bought them, and am more used to their sound.

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post #24 of 76 Old 04-25-2011, 04:04 PM
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Originally Posted by mcnarus View Post

Might or might not be. What's the effect on FR?

hehe, most are XOed to a sub at 80Hz so its effect is pretty much zero

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post #25 of 76 Old 04-26-2011, 05:48 AM
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Originally Posted by WallyWest View Post

Not entirely myth.

A brand new driver does take time to break in. Epoxy is used in the construction of most drivers, to hold the spider together.

Ever done loudspeaker driver assembly? The most common adhesive that is used to assemble speakers, particularly surrounds and spiders is probably PVA. PVA generally sets to something that is too flexible to crack.

For example: http://www.enjoythemusic.com/diy/110...ker_refoam.htm

"Normal glue sold with speaker surrounds is PVA, and is non-toxic and water based." The spider is just a second surround.

Quote:


When you first start using the driver the spider is fairly stiff, but over time the epoxy develops a spider web pattern (haha) of tiny cracks that loosen things up.

I've heard this myth before: Micro-cracks. The story used to be that playing digitally mastered LPs caused micro cracks to form in turntable platters. Next!

Quote:


Bottom line is the T/S parameters of most drivers are measurably different after break in. Sometimes by a large margin.

Let's say that T/S parameters do change when a driver is first operated for whatever reason. Where does that happen? Again, ever been in a factory where they assemble speaker systems? Do you know how much testing of drivers and systems takes place as part of normal assembly? Do you understand that this testing is often some of the most torturous use that the speaker driver ever gets in its entire life?


Quote:


So how should you break in your speakers?

Let the factory do it for me? ;-)

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Just use them, there's no magic CD you need to play. I might avoid driving them to really high levels right off the start, but that's even debatable. You may or may not notice the changes as they break in, but there's nothing you need to do differently during that period.

Hmm just like your dad broke in the engine in his 1955 Oldsmobile...

Quaint. ;-)


Quote:


Also, the few people I have talked to about this in the speaker building business actually run their speakers in the factory for 40+ hours before shipping them out. They don't want people hearing the changes and thinking something's wrong. I don't know how widespread this practice is, probably doesn't happen for cheaper speakers, but it's possible your speakers are already broken in when you unpack them.

Now you finally tell the same story I just told above. What these people don't want is DOA or infant mortality. The rest is romanticism. DOA is not romantic. Break-in does sound romantic. And, the myth worked! Look at how many audiophiles believe in it!

The myth of component break in is most frequently spread by audio salesmen, and the benefit to them is that the new equipment sticks for the full 30 day in-home trial. Don't like your new turntable/CD player/amplifier/speakers? Just wait for them to break in! ;-)
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post #26 of 76 Old 04-26-2011, 05:51 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mcnarus View Post

Might or might not be. What's the effect on FR?

My friends like Dave Clark and Earl Geddes actually measure these sorts of things and understand how they work. They tell me that yes the FS changes, but there are compensating changes elsewhere so the net result is a lot smaller than it may seem.

And like I said above, don't use the speaker for a while, and it tends to go back to its condition when it was first delivered to you.
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post #27 of 76 Old 04-26-2011, 06:47 AM
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This subject is seriously ridiculous.

Best line in the thread.
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post #28 of 76 Old 11-24-2012, 07:46 PM
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[big bump, sorry]

Okay, so while break-in may or may not be a myth as far as the sound of your speakers goes, is there anything regarding breaking it in before putting your speakers at full blast?

I obviously don't mean as high as they can possibly go, but is there a reason why you shouldn't max out your speakers as soon as you get them? Or can you do it right away without hassle?
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post #29 of 76 Old 11-24-2012, 08:02 PM
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^^^

whether it's bad for them or not, every set of speakers i've ever bought (home or car) has been "stress tested" almost immediately after installation... smile.gif

- chris

 

my build thread - updated 8-20-12 - new seating installed and projector isolation solution

 

http://www.avsforum.com/t/1332917/ccotenj-finally-gets-a-projector

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post #30 of 76 Old 11-24-2012, 10:08 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 4DHD View Post

You then don't know how caps work in a normal audio circuit. As the voltage/frequency changes across a cap it creates distortion because the windings tighten/loosen with those changes. Placing a constant low voltage across the caps keeps them tight. But as there is a 2 megohm resistor between the battery and capacitor pairs the caps don't fully charge all at once.

Capacitors have windings? And low voltage keeps them tight? Rats, there goes all those decades of thinking I knew about capacitors...
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