Condenser Testing

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Testing a condenser is really easy , all you need is an analog VOM ( volt-ohm meter), analog meaning it has a needle and is not digital . Get your condenser out of the circuit , preferably on the table in front of you , all clean so you can get good electrical contact , with your VOM . Turn the VOM on , and select the Ohm scale . Take the red lead from the VOM and clip it to the lead from the condenser , touch the black lead from the VOM to the condenser case. Now reverse the leads from the VOM so the black lead is clipped to the condenser lead , and touch the red lead to the case . As you do that , you should see a small jump in the needle of the VOM. Re-touching the red lead to the case will show no movement on the scale. Reverse the leads again , red to lead to case , and you should see that tiny jump of the needle again. This is assuming you have a good condenser . If the condenser has failed , there will be no movement either way. While this little exercise doesn't give the *value* of the condenser , it does tell us whether it is functional.

  • At Myron's Mopeds he uses an oscillator box made from a 555 timer chip, some breadboard, gator clips and a speaker. Touching the clips together for full continuity gives a high pitch tone, open circuit makes a steady motorboating pulse. A good fresh condenser makes a lower speed motorboating. A bad unit starts off high and gradually slows down.