2 Ways of Testing an AC Capacitor with multimeter and Voltmeter

Electronics circuits use capacitors to store voltage. Every electrical and electronics circuit needs a capacitor. Test capacitor with a multimeter while troubleshooting an electronic circuit may involve. There are multiple ways for testing an AC capacitor like digital multimeter, voltage meter, and ohmmeter.

Before testing a capacitor, make sure to disconnect the capacitor from the circuit. And short the terminals of the capacitor using a resistor of at least 1k. Try to avoid contact with the terminals during the process. Otherwise, the charge on the capacitor may cause you an electric shock.

Testing an AC Capacitor with Multimeter

Testing a capacitor with a multimeter is the easiest and quickest way. The required instrument of the test is a digital multimeter with a capacitance testing feature.

  • Remove the capacitor from the circuit and short the terminal to avoid and electric shocks.
  • Set the digital multimeter to capacitance setting.
  • Connect the probes of the multimeter to the capacitor terminals.
  • For the polarized capacitor, connect red prob to positive and black to negative terminal of the capacitor.
  • For nonpolarized, you can connect it in either way.
  • Now, look at the screen of the digital multimeter to read the capacitance of the capacitor.
  • You can compare the reading with the rating printed on the capacitor. If they are close, the capacitor is good.
  • In case of large variation, the capacitor may be considered a bad capacitor.
  • A bad capacitor can be replaced with a new similar rating capacitor.
testing an ac  capacitor with a multimeter image

Testing an AC Capacitor with Voltmeter

Testing a capacitor with a voltmeter can give you an idea if the capacitor is good or bad. For this method, you need a voltmeter and a power supply. The voltage of the power supply must be less than that of the capacitor.

  • Disconnect the capacitor from the circuit and discharge.
  • Connect the capacitor to the power supply and charge it for at least 4 to 6 seconds.
  • Make sure the voltage of the power supply is less than the printed voltage on the capacitor.
  • Now disconnect the capacitor from the power supply.
  • Do not touch or short the capacitor terminals.
  • Connect the capacitor to the voltmeter.
  • Read the voltmeter reading if it close to the power supply voltage or not.
  • If it is close to the supply voltage the capacitor is good.
  • If the reading much less the capacitor is bad.

Conclusion

  • Always disconnect the capacitor from the circuit to test it.
  • A digital multimeter may give you the exact capacitance of the capacitor.
  • Testing a capacitor with a voltmeter may tell you if it good or bad capacitor.

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