Selecting a Capacitance Meter on Amazon.com
A capacitance meter (also called a capacitance tester, capacitor meter, or capacitor tester) is an electrical testing device that measures a capacitor’s ability to store and deliver an electrical charge. A capacitor is a component designed to store and release electric charges in a circuit and is used in many types of electronic circuitry and electrical equipment. Over time, a capacitor can lose its ability to store a charge, causing equipment to malfunction or fail. A capacitance meter can verify which capacitors need to be replaced in order to repair the equipment or system. Capacitance meters can help diagnose electrical issues in equipment such as televisions, HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning) systems, and power supplies. They are also commonly used in production and manufacturing to quickly test and sort electronic components.
To test a capacitor, the meter applies current, charging and discharging the capacitor. The tester determines the capacitance by measuring the rate at which the resultant voltage rises. Available as handheld or benchtop devices, capacitance meters come with test leads to attach to the capacitor under test. Meters typically have a screen to display measurement results and may also have audible and visible indicators for use in sorting applications. Some meters output data to a computer for storage or analysis. A meter may provide data logging functionality and record the minimum, maximum, or average reading. For handheld models, a low battery indicator and auto-off feature are also common. Some meters may measure parameters in addition to capacitance, such as continuity, resistance, or inductance.
Considerations when choosing a capacitance meter include the capacitance range to be tested. Capacitance meters measure capacitance within a specified range, such as 0.01 to 10,000 microfarads or 200 picofarads to 20 millifarads. They measure electrical energy in millifarad (mF), microfarad (μF), nanofarad (nF), picofarad (pF), and femtofarad (fF) units.