3 Methods to Test Capacitor-Analog, Digital and Esr meters.



analog meter

An Analog Multimeter


First method, before you test capacitor, make sure you use an analog multimeter set to time 1 ohm range and connect a capacitor to the test probe. See the panel if the pointer flick up and comes down or not, this represent charging and discharging. If it still cannot flick or no response then set your meter to time 10 ohm and then to 1k ohm and lastly to 10 kilo ohm range.


If it still don’t flick then the capacitor under test have developed an open circuit. This is a rather old method to test capacitors because even though a capacitor can charge and discharge, this does not mean the capacitor value is good. Due to this problem, digital capacitance meter was developed.




test capacitor


A Digital Capacitance Meter 


testing capacitor

Click here to become a Professional In Testing Electronic Components!



The second method to test capacitor is to use digital capacitance meter and is a little more accurate compares to analog multimeter. Connect the test probe to the capacitor and read the result from the meter lcd display. Example, a 100 microfarad should have the reading of somewhere 90 microfarad to 110 microfarad. Remember, capacitors have tolerance just like resistors.


Be sure to discharge capacitor first before testing. A reading of 60 microfarad means the capacitor has lost its capacitance and need to be replaced. This meter is more expensive than analog meter. Somehow digital capacitance meter have its own disadvantage, which is, it can’t check capacitor that is breaking down when under load and it can’t check capacitors in circuit. It’s still worth to invest in this meter because it can check almost 80-90 % of capacitors failure.


 capanalyzer esr meter



            Eds Capanalyser 88A Esr Meter


The third and most accurate method is to use an ESR meter which stand for equivalent series resistance. This is the latest technology in testing capacitors. It can only check electrolytic capacitors and the advantage is that you can perform capacitor testing while the capacitor is still in circuit and have the accuracy of 99% compare to other meters. It is fast and can discharge a capacitor before it begin to test the capacitor and save you a lot of time. Esr meter is the most reliable and accurate meter that I’ve ever invested.



sencore lc103 capacitor & inductor analyzer


A Sencore LC103 Capacitor & Inductor Analyzer



If you have the budget, you may consider to invest in the high end capacitor tester such as the sencore lc meter LC102 OR LC103, these meters have the capabilities of measuring any type of capacitors with four tests;




-measure capacitor values
-checking for leakage
-equivalent series resistance (ESR) and
-Dielectric absorption

It can test aluminum electrolytic capacitor, film capacitor, ceramic, high voltage capacitor and etc. It also has the function to check inductors or coils too. A capacitor failure when under load is very rare. Using ESR capacitor meter alone can solve most of the electrolytic capacitor problem.

lcd monitor repairing

Click here to become a Professional in LCD Monitor Repair!