Continuity Checks

In many cases, the ohmmeter is not used for measuring the resistance of a component but to simply check the integrity of a connection from one portion of a circuit to another. If there is a good connection, then the ohmmeter will read a near zero resistance or a short. If the circuit is open or has a very poor connection at some point like an over-crimped pin in a connector, then the ohmmeter will read infinity or some very high resistance. Keep in mind that while any measurement is being taken, contact with the circuit or probes should be avoided. Contact can introduce another parallel path and provide misleading indications.

Capacitance Measurement

Figure 10-164 illustrates a basic test of a capacitor with an ohmmeter. There are usually two common modes of fail for a capacitor. One is a complete failure characterized by short circuit through the capacitor due to the dielectric breaking down or an open circuit. The more insidious failure occurs due to degradation, which is a gradual deterioration of the capacitorís characteristics.

If a problem is suspected, remove the capacitor from the circuit and check with an ohmmeter. The first step is to short the two leads of the capacitor to ensure that it is entirely discharged. Next, connect the two leads as shown in Figure 10-164 across the capacitor and observe the needle movement. At first, the needle should indicate a short circuit. Then as the capacitor begins to charge, the needle should move to the left or infinity and eventually indicate an open circuit. The capacitor takes its charge from the internal battery of the ohmmeter. The greater the capacitance, the longer it will take to charge. If the capacitor is shorted, then the needle will remain at a very low or shorted resistance. If there is some internal deterioration of the dielectric, then the needle will never reach a high resistance but some intermediate value, indicating a current.

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