Q:

How do you test electric capacitors?

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Quick Answer

You can test an electrical capacitor by using an analog or digital multimeter. The first step is to disconnect the capacitor from the electrical source. Visually inspect the capacitor for any signs of leakage or bulging at the top. If any leakage or bulging is observable, the capacitor must be replaced. If there are no indications of leaking or bulging, make sure the capacitor has no residual power stored in itself.

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Full Answer

To be sure there is no current stored within the capacitor, touch a light bulb to the terminal to drain any power. Once the residual power is drained, set the multimeter to the Ohms setting, and attach the leads of the multimeter to the terminals of the capacitor. If the capacitor moves the meter gradually to the infinite side of the meter, the capacitor is good. If the meter does not move at all, the capacitor is dead. If the needle stays toward the low end of the meter, it needs replacing.

To test the capacitor with a digital multimeter, repeat the steps for using an analog multimeter, and record the reading produced by attaching the lead of the multimeter to a capacitor terminal. If the meter returns the same results, the capacitor is good. If the meter shows nothing or does not change when attaching the terminal to the lead, the capacitor needs replacing.

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