An approximate formula for determining the amount of ripple on an unregulated supply is:
where I load is the DC current measured through the load in amps and C is the value of the capacitor in uF.The diagram below shows an example with a load current of 0.1 amp and a smoothing capacitor value of 1000uF.
The calculated value of ripple is (0.1 * 0.007) / 1000e-6 = 0.7 volts or 700mV. The value of peak-peak ripple measured from the graph is 628mV. Therefor, the equation is a good rule of thumb guide for choosing the correct value for a smoothing capacitor in a power supply.