How to Test a Capacitor with a Multimeter?

You can use different methods to check a capacitor with a digital/analog multimeter. For the vacuum tube as well as the transistor power supplies, the electrolytic model is used, while the non-electrolytic type is used to control DC surges.

The form of electrolytic may be impaired by discharging additional current due to dropping short. The most common loss of non-electrolytic forms is attributed to the leakage of the stored charge.

There are numerous approaches to checking a capacitor. However, we’ll be addressing how to test a capacitor with a multimeter in our article. So stay tuned till the end to know all about it.

What Is a Capacitor?

One kind of electrical part is a capacitor, used to store energy in an electrical charge. They are used to conduct distinct functions in various electrical and computer circuits.

You can arrange a capacitor in an active circuit. In this way, the charging of a capacitor can be carried out. The electrical charge will start flowing through the condenser until it is attached.

If the capacitor’s primary plate does not retain the electrical charge, the second plate is released back into the circuit. This method is therefore regarded as charging & discharging in the condenser.

How to Check a Capacitor?

The numerous forms of electrical and computer products present on the market are distinct. Any of them are very susceptible to fluctuations in the voltage. Similarly, a capacitor is often vulnerable to voltage fluctuations, so there are ways to check a capacitor, which we’ll be discussing.

A capacitor examination plays an important role in testing a capacitor’s functionality to resolve the issues of capacitor failures. Let’s see more about how we can measure the capacitance from a best capacitance meter.

How to Measure Capacitance?

How to Measure Capacitance

To test the resultant voltage, a multimeter is used to evaluate capacitance. You can measure it through a charging capacitor. Afterward, you can use your capacitance to measure with a multimeter.

Here, we addressed how to use a multimeter to measure a capacitor. Start off by taking a DMM (digital multimeter) to verify that the circuit’s power supply is OFF.

There are two foremost things you must remember. If the capacitor is used in an ac circuit, then position the multimeter to measure the ac voltage, or else it won’t know the accurate results.

Similarly, if a capacitor is linked within a dc circuit, then position the DMM to measure dc’s voltage. If it spills, breaks, or tears, inspect the capacitor once, then repair the capacitor. Fix the dial to the sign of capacitance, regarded as the mode of capacitance calculation.

In an added feature, the emblem also shares a label above the dial. Typically, a function button is pressing to turn a measurement on to adjusting the dial.

We preferred the three ways of checking the capacitance, and they’re discussed below.

How to Test a Capacitor with a Multimeter:

Several issues may arise during the testing of a capacitor in much of the electrical & electronics troubleshooting. Here, through utilizing analog & optical multimeters, a multimeter may examine a capacitor.

But it is possible to check the capacitor whether it is in good shape or not as well. While using a function such as capacitance measurement, the capacitance value may be verified using a digital multimeter.

In general, various techniques such as analog, interactive, voltmeter, a multimeter with two modes such as capacitance mode, ohmmeter mode, and conventional sparking system are required to measure a capacitor.

When checking a capacitor, these approaches play an important role in knowing whether the capacitor is fine, accessible, weak, short, or dead.

But, before you start measuring your capacitance, you’ll have to make sure of the power circuits being turned off. To ensure that all power to the circuit is OFF:

  1. Use your optical multimeter (DMM).
  2. Set the multimeter to calculate the ac voltage whether the capacitor is being used in an ac circuit.
  3. Suppose the dc circuit is used, set the DMM to calculate the voltage of the dc.

Make sure to inspect the capacitor physically. Replace the capacitor as leaks, gaps, bulge, or if any other indicators of corrosion are visible.

Switch the dial into the mode for Capacitance Calculation. The symbol sometimes shares a position with another feature on the dial.

Besides the dial change, to trigger a measurement, a function button normally has to be pushed. Consult the user manual of your multimeter for directions.

How to Check a Capacitor the PCBWay

Of the many available ways to check your capacitor, PCBway is a great one. Hence, we’ll be starting off with the PCBWay below-

Step 1: Remove any electrical source from the capacitor

You should remove the capacitor from the electrical circuit for a precise calculation. Certain multimeters give the Relative mode.

This mode is used to delete the capacitance leads from the measurement whenever the base capacitance values are calculated. Make sure you have the REL mode switched on in the next phase, as you will need it.

Step 2: Press the options.

When the multimeter is used to measure the capacitance in a relative mode, the test leads must be open. Next, you’ll just have to press the REL buttons. In this way, however, the test would contribute to a lingering capacitance that can be discarded.

Step 3: Tighten the capacitance terminals.

To enable the multimeter to choose the right range, mount the capacitor terminals to the test leads for a few seconds. You have to make sure that the terminals are tightened since it can result in displacement during the process if not precisely compressed.

Step 4: Note the values

The shown measurement on the DMM is checked. If the capacitance value falls inside the measuring range, the digital screen will display the multimeter’s capacitor value. In this way, you would be able to find your capacitor’s correct values using the PCBWay.

How to Test a Capacitor by Analog Multimeter

Let’s get into how you can check your analog multimeter capacitor by following these simple and easy steps. Make sure to go through each step carefully, as you might see false results if you skip through one or two-steps.

Step 1: Get a discharged capacitor and multimeter.

You have to make sure that your capacitor is entirely out of any charge from the previous use. Now, you may take your AVO meter and start the measurement process.

Step 2: Choose analog values

Since you’re using an analog meter, make sure to select the analog options with high values of Ohms. In this way, you can carefully make certain of pairing your multimeter with your capacitor.

Step 3: Attach the terminal ends onto the multimeter.

Carefully take the terminal ends of your capacitor and attach them to the multimeter leads. By doing so, you’ll be enabling the power supply between the two devices. There will be information exchange in a couple of seconds within the devices.

Step 4: Note the reading

Carefully takes note of the numbers or values your multimeter will show.

Step 5: Check what kind of capacitor you’ll have.

If you have a short capacitor, it will always show the values of lower ranged resistance.

If you have open capacitors, they’ll be stable and not show any deflection signs in the rods.

With standard capacitors, you’ll be able to see the deflection in the multimeter ranging to infinity. It typically indicates that your capacitor is in good condition.

How to Check a Capacitor by a Digital Multimeter

The most common form of capacitors nowadays is digital multimeters. To test a capacitor by DMM, follow the steps given below thoroughly. Missing a step or two will appear in a false result.

Step 1: Take a discharged capacitor and a multimeter

Repeating the same step as for the analog multimeter, you have to discharge the capacitor and multimeter. Make sure there are no previously stored charges left in the capacitor.

Step 2: Set the Ohm range.

Since this is a digital multimeter and not an analog, you have the set the ohm range to at least 1k or 1000Ohm. In this way, the multimeter will be able to detect your digital capacitor.

Step 3: Attach the multimeter to your capacitor

You have to this step carefully. Often, we see users attaching the terminals in a rush, which makes the terminals disconnect easily. We do not want that to happen. By following the terminal attachment procedures carefully, you’ll be saving yourself time.

Step 4: Note the reading

You have to take notes of the reading for your capacitor carefully. The values will be shown clearly in your digital multimeter.

Step 5: Determining the capacitor condition

After a while, it will attempt to return the open line and display the same steps as before. If your capacitor is showing values, it means it’s in good condition. However, if there are no values, your capacitor is dead and not working anymore.

Some Factors Involved In The Capacitance Measurement:

  • The lifetime of capacitors is smaller, and they also cause malfunctions. Because of short circuits, capacitors may be harmed.
  • A fuse used in the circuit can get fried when a capacitor receives a short circuit. The elements in the circuit are not able to operate correctly when a capacitors’ terminals are opened.
  • Because of decay, the decomposition may also modify the significance of capacitance values. The existence of capacitors is short and is always the source of a failure.
  • Faulty capacitors may have an open circuit, a short circuit, or may deteriorate mechanically to the point of failure. A fuse may blow out when a resistor shorts circuits.
  • The device or circuit elements cannot work when a capacitor opens or deteriorates. Deterioration may even alter a capacitor’s capacitance value, which may create issues.

How to Know if a Capacitor is Faulty:

You will figure out if a capacitor is faulty by performing a simple visual scan. One of the signs of a weak capacitor is a swollen or bulging top or bottom. Inspect the body of the capacitor and the PCB to see if it is discolored or destroyed.

The presence of a leaking electrolyte is yet another indication of a capacitor that is malfunctioning. If you see into all of these apparent signs, replace the capacitors instantly.

Final Words

Therefore, we utterly hope by the end of this article, you’ve come to learn how to test a capacitor with a multimeter in various ways and how to check if your capacitor is faulty or not.

However, be sure to be safe when working with your electrical instruments as they tend to store electricity and may shock you if not used properly. You can even take the help of the manual your multimeter comes with to know in-depth about your multimeter functions.



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