How To Measure Capacitance with Digital Multimeter

We will learn how to measure capacitance, with the help of a multimeter and will describe to you the detailed procedure, its results and its troubleshooting.

How to discharge the capacitor safely

  • To discharge the capacitor, first, we will remove it from the circuit after turning the power off. And discharge the capacitor safely.
  • Wear rubber gloves to protect yourself from any electric shock.
  • For that purpose, join both the terminals of the capacitor together by that it will drain all the electricity.
  • The other method to discharge a capacitor is; connect a bulb in a manner that the negative terminal of the capacitor attached to the negative wire of the bulb and the positive terminal of the capacitor connected to the positive wire of the bulb, to make a complete circuit to use energy.
  • The electric bulb will lighten up and diminish slowly to use all the current stored in the capacitor.
How to measure capacitance with a Digital Multimeter-min (1)

How to measure capacitance with a Digital Multimeter

  • A multimeter is a digital tool; it has many different functions. It also determines capacitance.
  • To test the capacitance of a capacitor, we need to know the current value.
  • Therefore, we will charge the capacitor to know the current value.
  • By getting the actual voltage value, we may measure capacitance.
  • A good capacitor stores electric current and may remain powered after power is turning off.  
  • I am using Fluke 87 V digital multimeter to check capacitance.
  • Discharge the capacitor carefully by connecting a resistor or a bulb across the leads (as mentioned in the above paragraph).
  • Turn on the Fluke 87 V and set the dial to test the capacitance settings.

Important note:
In Some multi-meters, there is a Relative (REL) mode. When we measure very low capacitance values, the REL mode removes the test leads’ capacitance because it has a current in them. Place the multimeter in Relative mode for capacitance, leave the test leads open and press the REL mode button; therefore, it removes the residual capacitance value of the test leads.
Connect both the test leads to the respective
terminals. The test leads are connected for a few seconds to allow the multi-meter to select the proper range automatically.
Read the screen display. If the capacitance on the screen shows a value within the measurement range, then the multimeter will display the capacitance value.
It will display OL if the capacitance value is higher than the measurement range or otherwise the capacitor is faulty.

Capacitance measurement overview

We will check the capacitor of a single-phase machine. The machine is not working. Which means the capacitor is faulty? Suppose the machine starts with noise or is hard to start once it starts hardly and become heat-up. And it results in a breaker trip.

This single-phase motor required a digital multimeter to check the capacitor’s troubleshooting and verify the faulty function. All the capacitors have their value written on their outer body. The value is mentioned measures in micro-Farad.

Whereas to check the three-phase power capacitors, they are fuse protected. So, if one of its capacitors fails, the system shows inefficiencies, and the billing rate will increase.

And all the components connected to this phase might be tripped off. So that the faulty capacitor should be measured in micro-farad, and the reading will verify within the marked range on the capacitor.

Frequently Asked Questions

What will be the reason not to obtain the correct capacitance value?

The capacitance value varies. It depends upon the temperature, A/C, D/C voltage, frequency, and the passage of time. To obtain the nominal capacitance value, measuring the capacitance value under the required measurement conditions is necessary.

How to read the part number?

The part number of a capacitor includes 15 alphanumeric characters:
Characters from 1 to 6 are the series name;
7 to 8 denote the BDV;
9 comprises size; 10 to 12 indicate the capacitance value;
13 and 14 show the packing configuration,
15th character shows the electrode surface material.

How to test a value capacitance reading?

We required a multimeter to check the capacitance value.

Why is a capacitance value higher than the actual?

If the capacitance value is higher it means, the voltage storage function of the capacitor is faulty.


In this article, we taught to learn how to measure capacitance with Fluke 87V digital multimeter. To test the capacitance of a capacitor, with the safety measurements, we discharge the capacitor by using resistance.

Also, we described the procedure to test the capacitance value by using a digital multimeter. We have described the different functions and modes of a digital multimeter.

And conclude the capacitance measurement review with different aspects. Frequently asked questions to understand the measured capacitance value.

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