Measurement tips for high capacitance MLCCs (Multilayer Ceramic Capacitors) (1): Why does the measured capacitance sometimes read low?
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A. When measuring capacitors, it is important to understand the difference between the true value, effective value, and indicated value. The true value is the value of the capacitor if it was an ideal component with no inductive and resistive elements. The effective value is the sum of the components real and reactive vectors, and is frequency dependent. The indicated value is the value displayed by the measurement equipment, and subject to measurement inaccuracies.

When measuring high capacitance value components, the voltage level set at the meter, the indicated value, may not necessarily be equal to the voltage level delivered across the DUT, the effective value.

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