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Q.How to measure capacitors/Test a Capacitors (4): What functions should I look for when choosing a meter for measuring capacitance of MLCCs (Multilayer Ceramic Capacitors)?

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A. The most important function of the meter is applied voltage and measurement frequency. Make sure the voltage and frequency ranges are sufficient for the settings listed in Table 1. Be aware that the meter’s impedance can become a significant issue with MLCCs greater than 1uF. It may be necessary to choose a meter with a switchable internally impedance, if high (>1uF) capacitor values are to measured5.

Some meters offer a level monitor function. This function can monitor the output level of OSC level or dc bias.

Measurement accuracy, speed, and capacitance range of the meter are also important. The measurement accuracy should be within 0.07% accuracy for capacitance measurement. Make sure the meter have the adequate time to measure the capacitor especially for some high speed measurement machines. Make sure the capacitor to be measured is within the capacitance range of the meter.

Class Type Capacitance Frequency Voltage
Class I 1,000pF and under 1MHz ± 10% 1.0 ± 0.2 Vrms
Over 1,000pF 1kHz ± 10%
Class II 1,0uF and under 1kHz ± 10% 1.0 ± 0.2 Vrms
Over 10uF 120Hz ± 10% 0.5 ± 0.2 Vrms
Table 1: Frequency and voltage settings for different capacitance range and class types.


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