3 Methods to Test Capacitor-Analog, Digital and Esr meters.
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.
A Digital Capacitance Meter
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
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.
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
-measure capacitor values
-checking for leakage
-equivalent series resistance (ESR) and
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