How to Check a Capacitor with Digital (Multi meter) and Analog (AVO Meter). By Four (4) Methods with pictorial View.

 How to Check a Capacitor with Digital (Multi meter) and Analog (AVO Meter). By Four (4) Methods with pictorial View.
In Most Electrical and Electronics troubleshooting and repairing, we face this trouble that how to check a capacitor is Good, Short or Open.

Here we can check this with Analog (AVO Meter i.e. Ampere, Voltage, Ohm meter)

Note: To find the Value of Capacitance, you need a Digital meter with Capacitance measuring features.
Below is four (4) methods to check that is Capacitor Dead or Good.

Method 1.
Traditional Method (Recommended for Professionals only)

Note: This method is danger, please be careful to do this practice. Make sure that you are a professional Electrical Engineer because serious damages may be occur during this practice)

Suppose you want to check the Capacitor (for example, Fan Capacitors, Room Air Cooler Capacitors etc)

  1. Connect safety leads to the Capacitors terminal
  2. Now connect these leads with 230 V AC Supply for very short time (1-4 Sec)
  3. Remove Safety leads from 230 V AC Supply.
  4. Now Short the Capacitor Terminal (Please Be Careful to do that)
  5. If it makes a strong spark, then capacitor is good.
  6. If it makes a weak spark, then it is a bad capacitor and immediately change it.

                                                         Click image for Zooming 

Method 2.
By Analog Multimeter ( AVO = Ampere, voltage, Ohm Meter )

  1.  Take an AVO meter
  2. Select analog meter on OHM.
  3. Connect the Meter leads to the Capacitor terminals.
  4. Note The reading and Compare with the following results.
  5. Short Capacitors: Shorted Capacitor will show very low Resistance
  6. Open Capacitors: An Open Capacitor will not show any movement (Deflection) on OHM meter Screen.
  7. Good Capacitors: Initially, it will show low resistance, and then gradually increases toward infinite. It means that Capacitor is in Good Condition.

                                                      Click image for Zooming

Method 3.
By Digital Multimeter

  1. Set the meter on Ohm range (Set it at lease 1000Ohm = 1k)
  2. Connect the Meter leads to the Capacitor terminals.
  3. Digital meter will show some numbers for a second. Note the reading
  4. And then immediately it will return to the OL (Open Line). Every attempt of Step 2 will show the same result as was in step 4 and Step 5. It’s mean that Capacitor is in Good Condition.
  5. If there is no Change, then Capacitor is dead. 

                                                  Click image for Zooming

Method 4.
By Multimeter in the capacitance setting

Note: You can do this test with a multimeter if you have a Capacitance meter on your multimeter. Also this method is good for tiny capacitors.

  1. Remove the capacitors from board or circuit.
  2. Now Select “Capacitance” on your multimeter.
  3. Now connect the capacitor terminal to the multimeter leads.
  4. If the reading is near to the actual value of capacitor (i.e. the printed value on Capacitor container box)
  5. Then the capacitor is in good condition. (Note that the reading may be less than the actual value of capacitor (the printed value on Capacitor container box)
  6. If you read a significantly lower capacitance or none at all, then capacitor is dead and you should change it.

                                                        Click image for Zooming

By: Engr Wasim Khan.

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9 comments

  1. EXCELLENT TUTORIAL

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  4. Thank you. This is very useful information.

  5. A professional would NEVER try option 1, if this was April 1st I could see this being published, <br />Capacitors DONOT store AC volts, to wack mains across an arbitrary capacitor is going to get someone KILLED, this option should be removed ASAP<br /><br />the whole theory is wrong…<br /><br />a capacitor rated at 250V AC does not mean it will store AC and capacitors are not rated for power

  6. just found this article that gives a far safer and good way to perform basic test on a capacitor<br /><br />http://forum.allaboutcircuits.com/showthread.php?t=5326<br /><br />the current article is very lacking in warnings and contains dangerous advice, I am an electronics engineer and as I said in my previous comment a professional would NEVER place a suspect cap across the mains like that<br

  7. I agree that method 1 is very dangerous.

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