Mailbag: Discharging and Testing a Capacitor

Len wrote:

1. how can I discharge a large capacitor (as in in microwave or A/C)?
2. How can I test if it is OK?


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The ancient and mystical technique for discharging a large-size or high voltage capacitor, such as a microwave oven capacitor or the motor start capacitor in a central air conditioning condensing unit, is illustrated here.

To test the capacitor, first make sure it’s discharged, as described above. If it ain’t, then you’re gonna ruin a perfectly good meter and you may shock your buns off, too. Using your meter, a good capacitor will test like this and a bad capacitor will test like this.

Now, grasshopper, go ye forth and conquer!

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