How to Measure the Capacitance of a Cable With a Multimeter (3 Steps)

by Samuel Markings
Polka Dot Images/Polka Dot/Getty Images

Electricity is due to the flow of tiny sub-atomic particles that also carry a negative charge. It has led to a technological revolution, and has allowed mankind to have luxuries such as lighting, heating, and television. Electrical devices are made from a number of key components such as resistors, inductors, and capacitors. Capacitors are components that are capable of storing electrical energy, and discharge it after a set period of time. The capacitance of all electrical devices, including wires, can be measured using a multimeter.

Step 1

Connect the probes to the multimeter. There should be two that are colored red and black, and these are provided with the multimeter. The red probe should be connected to the positive terminal on the multimeter, and the black probe should be connected to the negative probe on the multimeter.

Step 2

Switch on the multimeter. In order to test whether the multimeter is working, and is not running low on batteries, switch it to resistance mode. Touch the two probes together. The LCD display should read a small resistance of approximately 0.5 Ohms or less.

Switch the multimeter to capacitance mode. Connect the two probes to either side of the wire. The LCD display will now show the correct value of capacitance. Capacitance is measured in Farads, but wires will have a very small value of approximately 10^-12 Farads (Pico-Farads).

Photo Credits

  • Polka Dot Images/Polka Dot/Getty Images

About the Author

Samuel Markings has been writing for scientific publications for more than 10 years, and has published articles in journals such as "Nature." He is an expert in solid-state physics, and during the day is a researcher at a Russell Group U.K. university.

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