ESR Meter Recommendations

drlegendre . drlegendre at
Tue Sep 29 18:11:29 CDT 2015


I have two of the Atmega328 uC based 'swissknife' testers you mention, cost
about $25 ea. on eBay, and have been exceptionally happy with them. They're
a brilliant little piece of instrumentation, and IMHO no electronics
hobbyist should be without one. For quick testing & ID of SS components,
they're just the ticket.

Secondly, I have one of these units: -
"Capacitor Wizard". They are also quite useful, and have some nice features
like a quick-reading analog scale and audible indicator allowing you to set
an ESR threshold and then test eyes-off the meter. This can be a real
safety measure, if you're working deep inside a chassis. They are a bit
overpriced for what you get, though, IMHO.

If you're mainly interested in testing for leakage in caps, and want to
test them +at+ real working voltages, then you need a device like a
Heathkit IT-28 or its Eico / Paco equivalent. Note that these are all "LCR
bridges" with leakage test as an added feature. The Heath unit goes to 600V
DC, not sure of the others.

Finally, there are the "in circuit capacitor checkers" made by Paco and
possibly Heath / Eico. These are semi-useful, but in reality, they are
pretty dang obsolete - and for some reason, folks pay a lot for them on
eBay.. no idea why. Thing is, to really peg down any ESR trouble, you
always need to disconnect one end anyway (in case of circuit loading or
other fault) - so what's the real value of "in circuit" in that case?


On Tue, Sep 29, 2015 at 5:34 PM, TeoZ <teoz at> wrote:

> Never used one on a power supply but for motherboard capacitors and misc
> parts they work fine. For the price they are worth having around.
> -----Original Message----- From: Ken Seefried
> Sent: Tuesday, September 29, 2015 5:24 PM
> To: cctalk at
> Subject: ESR Meter Recommendations
> I'm going to be working on my 11/730s power supply, so I'm in the
> market for an ESR meter.  I've seen some (older) recommendations for
> the AnaTek 'Blue' and various 'Dick Smith' derivatives.  However, eBay
> is flooded with knockoff Mega328 based ESR/Transistor/SCR/etc. testers
> all looking like:
> Anyone had any experience with one of these devices?
> KJ
> ---
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