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Old 22nd September 2008, 08:30 PM   #1
djmike is offline djmike  United States
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Default In market for a Capacitor meter - for a tube project!

Hello -

I'm in the market for a capacitance meter Looking at eight the $80 model at Frys by B&K or something used on ebay. Anyone have any ideas? I have seen the B&K 801 which tests for leakage, not sure how much effort it would be to bring it up to spec.

Also some pretty cheap b&K 820 models in the old brown color.

Any suggestions?

Mike
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Old 23rd September 2008, 02:30 AM   #2
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Hi Mike,

The small B&Ks like the 820 & 830 measure capacity by the DC charging time constant methode. This is a quick low voltage test of the value but tells you very little about the true condition of the cap. This is true of all the small inexpensive hand held units that measure capacitance.

A much better instrument would be a Sencore CA-55 capacitance analyzer. Also a Sencore LC-53 or better yet a Sencore LC-75. These two measure inductance as well. I use an LC-75 and like it a lot. It measures caps at 1000~ and can apply up to 600V dc for leakage checks. There is also a test for ESR on the LC-75, that's not on the 53.

You also might want to consider one of the older Heathkits like a C3 or one similar. (C5 C7) Eico made some too. These units use a balanced bridge circuit with a magic eye tube to indicate a null while the value is taken from the silk-screened front panel. And most of these can also apply high voltage for leakage tests up to about 500 volts. You won't get the accuracy of a digital readout, but you'll get pretty close to value on a correctly adjusted unit. I still have my C3 that I got for a birthday present when I was a kid. And it still works!

Victor
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Old 23rd September 2008, 02:01 PM   #3
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MCM has a handheld (R&C only) for $20 right now - I'm thinking of getting one, since my DVM only has two capacitance ranges - this has 7, I think. Also R up to 200 megs and down to .01 Ohm. But I wouldn't be without my Sprague TO-4. which measures leakage and insulation resistance. A Sencore would cost more than I'd like to spend, but they're great.
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Old 23rd September 2008, 02:06 PM   #4
SY is offline SY  United States
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I'd definitely pop for a bridge-type unit. You'll be able to get accurate C, L, R, and DF. I picked up a nice Leader unit for about $40, and there are no doubt a lot of similar bargains out there.
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Old 23rd September 2008, 02:56 PM   #5
nafunga is offline nafunga  United Kingdom
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I would also mention the 'Capacitor Wizard, for ESR testing of capacitors. Tests at 100khz.
Made by Independence Electronics Inc. (USA)

Regards,

David.
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Old 23rd September 2008, 03:43 PM   #6
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Hi djmike,

Try to make a search on eBay - or just Google. You can search for "LCR meter" or "capacitance meter". Then you will be able to see a lot of different types of meters in different price ranges.

Afterwards you can easily evaluate how much you want to pay for a specific meter. I am searching for an LCR meter myself and some of them is combined with a DVM as well. They do not necessarily need to be too expensive.

Karsten
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