How to Test a Ceramic Capacitor Using a Multimeter

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Are you one of those who want to know what a ceramic capacitor is? You may see that most circuits, particularly most of the electric circuits, utilize ceramic capacitors. Did you know that ceramic capacitors are utilized more than electrolytic or other capacitors? 

In this post, you will find more about ceramic capacitors, their application and uses, and how you can test them with a digital multimeter.

But first, what is a ceramic capacitor?

Ceramic capacitors are considered non-polarized and fixed value capacitors. This capacitor comes into the picture in circuits where a small size of the capacitor is needed—those were firstly developed in German as a substitute for mica.

Before the 1920s, it was utilized as a dielectric material in a capacitor due to the insulating properties of mica. Eventually, a paraelectric titanium oxide was utilized as a dielectric that formed the ceramic capacitor as there was a shortage of mica.

The first ceramic capacitor was in a disc shape, and today, it’s accessible in various sizes and shapes. When the ceramic capacitors are layered many times, it then becomes MLCC. They are utilized as feed-through capacitors, power capacitors in transmitters, and electromagnetic interference suppressors depending on the sizes and shapes they are used. 

In short, a ceramic capacitor is a type of capacitor that utilizes ceramic materials as a medium, coats a layer of metal film on the ceramic surface. It then sinters at a higher temperature as an electrode. It is normally employed in high stability oscillating loops as loops, pad capacitors, and bypass capacitors. 

The high voltage ceramic capacitors depend on what event you use as long as the ceramic capacitor is intended at high frequency. The standard function can get rid of high-frequency interference.

How Does It Work? 

Electric current is the flow of electric charge. That’s why electrical components harness to spin, light up, or do whatever they do. When current flows into a ceramic capacitor, the charges get stuck on the plates as they cannot get past the insulating dielectric.

Further, electrons are sucked into one of those plates. It then becomes negatively charged overall. The huge quantity of negative charges on one plate drives away like charges on the other plate, making it positively charged. 

What are the Different Types of a Ceramic Capacitor? 

The most widely utilized types of ceramic capacitors are the following:

  • Ceramic disc capacitor

These ceramic capacitors are in the shape of discs. You can manufacture these by creating a silver coating on the sides of the discs. That coating is known to be electrodes, and the disc that is made out of ceramic is considered dielectric. 

  • Multi-layer ceramic capacitor (MLCC)

On the other hand, MLCC functions as the dielectric. The electrodes for this ceramic capacitor are adjusted in the middle of the layers. Such electrodes and layers are organized in contact along with the terminals. The number and size of layers categorize the capacitor’s capacity.  

What are the Uses of a Ceramic Capacitor?

Some of the typical applications of a ceramic capacitor are highlighted below:

  • They are used as a bypass capacitor
  • Used in motors to lessen the radio frequency noise
  • They are non-polarized, making them highly utilized in AC circuits such as power circuit breakers and high voltage protection circuits, among others
  • They are utilized in resonant circuits in the radio frequency communication system
  • They are utilized in frequency depended on circuits like receiver circuits, radio signal transmitter, and electronic filter circuits
  • Ceramic capacitors are also used in equalizer circuits, controller, and audio mixer
  • Also, they are used in electronic sensor circuits 

Why Are Ceramic Capacitors Highly Utilized in Electronic Circuits?

In case you didn’t know, ceramic capacitors have the following qualities or advantages that make them highly utilized in electronic circuits.

  • Ceramic capacitor’s operating temperature range is more than other capacitors. They are available from -55 degrees centigrade to +150 degrees centigrade
  • They are highly sought or most ideal for high-frequency applications
  • Ceramic capacitors offer a small temperature coefficient and greater voltage breakdown qualities
  • Ceramic capacitors can offer greater stability, not to mention they can offer many varieties of various stability
  • Most critical electronic circuits require small-value capacitors. Fortunately, ceramic capacitors are accessible in tinier values
  • Ultimately, ceramic capacitors are accessible in small sizes, which is an excellent benefit. Most modern circuits need small-size capacitors. 

How to Accurately Test a Ceramic Capacitor Using a Digital Multimeter?

Bear in mind that capacitors that are measured in nano farad and microfarad are simple to check. However, you will need a special type of multimeter to measure small ceramic capacitors (measured in picofarad). In this section, we will show you the straightforward and easiest way to test those capacitors. 

So, grab your multimeter and follow the steps below.

  • Disconnect your ceramic capacitor from the device and ensure it is fully discharged.
  • Check its capacitance value that is displayed on the capacitor. Choose the capacitance mode on your digital multimeter.
  • Connect the testing probes with the capacitor’s terminals. Connect the red positive probe to the capacitor’s anode and the negative black probe to the capacitor’s cathode. 
  • Check the reading of your multimeter. Is the measurement close to that written on the capacitor? Then it means your capacitor is a good one. However, if it’s zero or substantially less than that, it indicates your ceramic capacitor is dead and requires immediate replacement. 

You may be thinking about what we meant by a bad or good capacitor. Remember that a good capacitor shows low resistance and then slowly surges towards infinity. On the other hand, a short capacitor only shows low resistance, and an open capacitor won’t give any movement. 

Final Thoughts

There you have it! After reading this guide, we hope you probably understand what a ceramic capacitor is and how you can test with your digital multimeter. Doing that will save you from bills that could come when any device or household appliance gets fixed.

We hope you find this post informative and can test your ceramic capacitor without trouble. Feel free to check this guide again if you get lost along the process.

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