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Old 05-17-2012, 08:48 AM   #1
noiseguy
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Default Can this test caps inline? XC6013L

Can this test caps inline? XC6013L Capacitance Capacitor Tester in-circuit

http://www.ebay.com/itm/New-Meter-60...246#vi-content
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Old 05-17-2012, 09:20 AM   #2
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Default Re: Can this test caps inline? XC6013L

There's no multimeter or tool that can measure something in-circuit reliably. You just can't go around laws of electronics and physics.

If two capacitors are on the board connected in parallel, the measurements WILL be incorrect, no matter if the meter advertises itself as capable to measure in-circuit.

The in-circuit part is about the meter using voltages low enough not to activate diodes and transistors which could cause problems in the circuit.
The meter has no way to counteract the effect of capacitors or resistors mounted in series or parallel with the capacitor or resistor you intend to measure.

This particular meter only measures capacity and it's not worth the 16$ it costs. Go to Fry's or whatever you have around and get a decent Uni-T multimeter with capacitance measurement along other stuff.
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Old 05-17-2012, 11:35 AM   #3
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Default Re: Can this test caps inline? XC6013L

OK. I've a few inexpensive multimeters that I've used to check caps in the past just for dead open / dead closed, using the resistance checker. Assume this isn't any better than that method, except that I get a capacitance?
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Old 05-17-2012, 12:05 PM   #4
mariushm
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Default Re: Can this test caps inline? XC6013L

As far as I know, that's correct.

The meter you linked to is no different than any other meters with capacity measurement - probably most of them can test "in-circuit" as they use low voltages but they don't even advertise it.

Anyway, capacity itself is not a good indicator of how good a capacitor is. Some capacitors as they go bad go low in capacity but there are cases when the capacity actually increases. This, coupled with the fact that a capacitor has a +/- 20% variation in capacity from the start, and that capacity varies with the voltage applied and the frequency in the circuit, it makes the capacity value a pretty much pointless value.

A more reliable (and very useful tool if you do lots of repairs) is an ESR meter - this charges the capacitor to a certain degree then sends some 100 KHz pulses through it in order to determine a value that's close the capacitor's internal resistance.

It's a measurement performed differently than the regular resistance check on multimeters, the regular multimeters can't determine this.

This resistance matters more than capacitance and is a pretty good indicator of how good the capacitors still are, so if you fix a lot of stuff you should get one of these meters.

The cheaper (but still good) ones are Anatek's Blue ESR meter, Peak Atlas and a guy here on this forum (RusMike) sells one that's good (I have it) : http://www.radiodevices.info/esr/esr4.htm (use Google Translate on the page)
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Old 05-17-2012, 04:57 PM   #5
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Default Re: Can this test caps inline? XC6013L

Quote:
Originally Posted by mariushm View Post
The meter you linked to is no different than any other meters with capacity measurement - probably most of them can test "in-circuit" as they use low voltages but they don't even advertise it.
That's the crux of it then. What's considered a "safe" voltage level for this type of tester? That way, I can just measure the tester voltage before trying to use it in circuit.

Aside: Recall a guy I knew working on an Amiga 1000, doing in circuit connectivity testing with an analog voltmeter... blew every chip on the board.
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Old 05-17-2012, 05:22 PM   #6
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Default Re: Can this test caps inline? XC6013L

My Uni-T UT61E outputs about 0.32-0.4v - at least that's what a cheapo 3$ meter I have around shows when I insert the leads in it. Diodes usually conduct at 0.6-0.7v, so imho a limit of 0.5v would be good.

Yeah, analogue meters usually run on 1 or 2 9v batteries.... most chips run at 1.8, 2.5, 3 or 5v...
Wouldn't be surprised if you'd pop a 6.3v rated capacitor with an analogue meter when you check if it's shorted or not.
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