How to Measure an SMD Capacitor

Updated July 20, 2017

A capacitor is an electronic component that has many uses in electronic circuits. For example, it can be used in a radio tuning circuit, in a voltage stabilising circuit or in an amplifier circuit to store charge. Capacitors come in two different packages: the through-hole ones having two leads, and surface mound device, or SMD, types with two terminals. SMD capacitors are much smaller than through-hole capacitors, and they are therefore preferred in circuits where space is limited.

Place the SMD capacitor on a flat, dry surface.

Turn the multimeter on and set it to capacitance measurement mode. This is generally done by turning its knob to the capacitance measuring point marked with two parallel lines. In some digital multimeters, there is a button marked with two parallel lines that you push to select the capacitance measurement mode.

Touch the two capacitor terminals with the tips of multimeter leads at the same time. If it is a polarised capacitor, touch its positive terminal with the red multimeter lead and the negative terminal with the black multimeter lead connected to the "COM" socket of the multimeter. The positive terminal of a polarised SMD capacitor is marked with a band. If there is no band, the capacitor is unpolarized and the order of multimeter leads in this case is not relevant. As soon as the capacitor terminals are touched with multimeter leads, the display shows the value of capacitance, in farads.

Things You'll Need

  • SMD capacitor
  • Multimeter with capacitance meter
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About the Author

Naeem Ahmed has been an established author of technical literature since 1989. He has numerous publications to his credit in peer-reviewed research journals such as "Physical Review Letters" and "Nuclear Instruments and Methods in Physics Research." With a Ph.D. in physics from Siegen University in Germany, he is an active researcher and academic.