Home generalCondenser measure with multimeter | DIY instructions

Condenser measure with multimeter | DIY instructions

  • Important sizes
  • preparation
  • Measuring Instructions

Capacitors are among the most important components of all and are found in many electronic devices, from laptops to washing machines to smartphones. If you want to measure a capacitor, for example, to determine its capacity, offer multimeter as a measuring device. The right procedure is important here, because only then can the exact values ​​be measured without complications.

A condenser controls essential functions in electrical appliances. For example, it works as an AC resistor or can be used as a memory . The function of the capacitor is dependent on the use within the circuit and it is most commonly used in DC circuits, but is also less common in AC circuits. Over the useful life, capacitors wear out, which may degrade the function, which in turn causes problems with the electrical appliances. Typically, these do not store enough energy, which negatively affects the use of the device. To check the condition or the exact capacity of the condenser, a multimeter is used, which can give you information about it.

Important sizes

Before you use the meter, you should know the key quantities to measure with the capacitor. These are the values that help determine the functionality of the part and show you exactly if it can still be used.

The values ​​at a glance:

1. Electrical capacity: the electrical capacity is given in C and indicates the maximum charge quantity of the capacitor. It is measured in farads and defines how much energy the capacitor can store.

2. Farad: Farad is the unit of measure of electrical capacity and is given in F.

3. Resistance: the resistance is measured in ohms. It is necessary for the resistance measurement of the capacitor to determine if it is still working or charging.

These quantities will help you make the right settings that will allow you to measure the capacitor.


Of course, if you do not have a multimeter, you must first get a suitable meter before you can use it. You have the choice between the following functional scope.

  • Devices without capacity measurement: 10 to 15 euros
  • Devices with capacity measurement: 20 to 40 euros

The devices look the same at first glance, but the multimeter with the additional capacitance measurement offers the possibility to determine the capacitance of the capacitor. This allows you to see exactly how high the capacity and whether it is sufficient or still according to the factory state. As soon as the capacitance of the capacitor drops due to wear, the function suffers and a spare capacitor is needed.

In the case of a device without capacitance measurement, it is only possible to determine the functionality, since this performs a pure resistance measurement. In other words, the more accurate you want to measure, the more important it is to use a capacitance-based multimeter.

Before you measure however, you must prepare the capacitor:

1. Remove the capacitor from the circuit to measure. To do this, close off all contacts so that the poles are exposed.

2. Then check the component for possible damage.

This includes:

  • scratch
  • dents
  • dents
  • leaking fluids

If this is the case, the capacitor is usually irrevocably damaged and should be replaced. Especially with large dents or fluid loss should be put on a new capacitor, while very fine cracks are still mostly functional, but should be replaced at the next best option.

3. Finally you have to discharge the capacitor. This is important, because there may be residual current in the component, which has a negative effect on the measurement results and, in the worst case, even damages the instrument. For discharging, connect the capacitor to an electrical load . Particularly easy to succeed this step on a light bulb. After the residual current has been discharged, you can measure the capacitor.

Tip: the market also offers multimeters for the industrial sector, which can be used for numerous measured quantities and are significantly more expensive. Such models are not necessarily needed for the home, since only a few measured variables are used here.

Measuring Instructions

Measure capacitor with multimeter without capacity: instructions

After the preparation, you can now measure the condenser. The following variant is not quite as accurate as measuring the capacitance, but it is enough to see if the capacitor still works. Apart from the multimeter, you do not need any additional tools to perform the measurement.

Follow the instructions to measure the capacitor:

Step 1: To start, set the device without connecting the measuring leads to the capacitor. The device is set to a value of 1 kiloohm, ie 1, 000 ohms. To do this, turn the handle until the mark arrives at this point. But do not turn on the device yet.

Step 2: Connect the measuring leads to the multimeter. The majority of the equipment has detachable measuring leads, but there are some cheaper models that are permanently installed. Connect the device.

Step 3: Then connect the measuring leads to the poles of the capacitor. Once the circuit is closed, a value should appear on the display for a brief moment, which you should remember and note for safety if you are not so good with numbers.

Then the command "OPEN LINE" is displayed. Now repeat this process again. If the same value appears as before, everything is fine with the capacitor. However, if the result is different, the capacitor is damaged and must be replaced. In many cases it does not recharge.

Tip: a faster measuring variant is possible with the integrated continuity tester with diode test of many multimeters, which charges the capacitor directly at the measuring device until it is completely full. During this time, the displayed reading will increase until a 1 is reached, which means that the capacitor can be charged.

Measure Capacitor Capacity: Instructions

In this variant, you measure the capacitance of the capacitor, which you can compare with the values ​​of the manufacturer. Proceed as follows:

Step 1: Set the multimeter to capacity measurement in Farad. This is marked on the multimeter with a C and the measuring range is optimally adapted by the device itself. For this, the device must be switched on and the measuring leads connected.

Step 2: Connect the two measuring leads to the poles of the capacitor and compare the indicated capacitance on the capacitor with the indicated value. If the measurement result is similar, the capacitor is usable. At a value well below the standard, the capacitor is no longer usable and should be replaced.

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