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How do you test capacitors?

I am just beginning in electronic repair. Is there an easy/reliable way to test capacitors? I heard you can use an ESR meter, but how do I use it? And how much are they/where can I get them? Or what else can I use? Thanks in advance!!

Asked By: - 7/12/2011
Best Answer - Chosen by Asker
Nice to see that you are focusing on ESR which is known to be the reason for failure of systems much later than they were born. An ESR meter can be bought or even made with some careful electronics. Since you are measuring the resistance part, a dc is all that you need to measure after this dc has settled down. The... More
Answered By: veeyesvee - 7/12/2011
Additional Answers (4)
Excuse me Hank, I ordered propane and I still haven't gotten it from you! Why are you wasting your time on here? I need that stuff for a project!
Answered By: Phineas Flynn - 7/12/2011
 
A lot of modern day multimeters are capable of measuring capacitance. They should have a selection with a symbol like this: |( Then simply put one prong on each of the capacitor tails.. Ummm but now that i think of it i think that only applies to electrolytic capacitors..
Answered By: Longy - 7/12/2011
 
You can buy an ESR meter either assembled or as a kit. They come with user instructions. http://www.flippers.com/catalog/index.php?cPath=3 Even the cheapest of DVMs have basic capacitance testers these days but these tend to be go/no go testers. An ESR tester is the only way to properly test electrolytics.
Answered By: GibsonEssGee - 7/12/2011
 
The basic test is for leakage or short circuit, using an ohm meter. This is a DC test and shows up as resistance in parallel with the capacitor, so it tests like a resistor. It is probably the most common failure mode. First discharge the capacitor though, as it could damage the ohmmeter if it is charged. Larger (... More
Answered By: Ecko - 7/12/2011
 
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