Multimeter Capacitance Symbol and How to Read It

Getting accurate capacitance measurement requires expensive equipment, but a digital or analog multimeter can give you a rough idea. This post highlights the multimeter capacitance symbol and how to read it.

The multimeter capacitance symbol is “–| (–.”

Follow these steps to read the multimeter capacitance symbol.

First, turn on your analog or digital multimeter. Put your plugs into the correct multimeter ports. Next, Rotate the multimeter knob until it points at the multimeter capacitance symbol. Then, check if your digital multimeter has a REL button. You need to press on it with the test leads separated. Next, disconnect the capacitor from the circuit. Then, connect the test leads to the terminals of the capacitor. Leave the test leads there for a few seconds for the multimeter to automatically determine the proper range.  

What is Capacitance?

The amount of electrical energy stored in an object is called capacitance. A good example is the capacitors found in electronic circuits.

Multimeter Capacitance Symbol 

One of the most commonly needed multimeter symbols is the multimeter capacitance symbol. You cannot measure capacitance if you don’t know what you will be looking for on your digital multimeter. So, what’s this symbol?

The multimeter capacitance symbol is “–| (–.”

How to Measure Capacitance with Multimeter

technician setting up the multimeter

1. Set up your Device 

Turn on your analog or digital multimeter. Put your plugs into the correct multimeter ports. The red lead goes into the port with the multimeter capacitance symbol (–|(–). Connect the black lead to the port labeled “COM.’ (1)

2. Set your Digital Multimeter to Measure Capacitance 

Rotate the multimeter knob until it points at the multimeter capacitance symbol. All the multimeters use this symbol – (–|(–). If you are using a different multimeter, you may use the yellow ‘function’ key to set your digital multimeter to measure capacitance. Note that each multimeter’s dial position can permit multiple measurements. If that’s the case, remember to hit the yellow function until the multimeter capacitance symbol appears.

3. Activate the REL Mode

Check if your digital multimeter has a REL button. You need to press on it with the test leads separated. Doing so zeros out the test leads’ capacitance, which can interfere with capacitance multimeter measurement.

Is this necessary? Only when you are measuring small capacitors.

4. Disconnect The Capacitor From The Circuit

You cannot measure farads while the capacitor is still connected to the circuit. Be careful when dealing with capacitors, as improper handling may lead to electrical shocks. When removing the capacitor from the electrical circuit, wear protective clothing and equipment such as safety glasses and insulated gloves.

5. Measure Capacitance 

Next, connect the test leads to the terminals of the capacitor. Leave the test leads there for a few seconds for the multimeter to automatically determine the proper range. (2)

You can now read the capacitance multimeter measurement on the screen. If the capacitance value exceeds the predetermined measurement range, the display will read OL. The same should happen if your capacitor is faulty.

Wrapping Up

Now you know how to measure capacitance with a multimeter. We hope you find this tutorial useful as you tackle using your digital multimeter to measure capacitance. Feel free to read our other guides if you get stuck. We’ve listed a few below.






References
(1) lead – https://www.britannica.com/science/lead-chemical-element
(2) seconds – https://www.khanacademy.org/math/cc-fourth-grade-math/imp-measurement-and-data-2/imp-converting-units-of-time/a/converting-units-of-time-review

About Sam Orlovsky

b1d87d2ee85af3e51479df87928bdc88?s=90&d=mm&r=gI realized early on carpentry was a huge passion for me and I’ve stayed in the industry for over 20 years now. This gives me a unique ability to really be able to tell you what the best tools and recommendations are. I’m not only a carpenter but I also like machinery and anything to do with electrics. One of my career paths starting off was as an apprentice electrician so I also have a lot of experience with electrical products and anything related.