How to Test a Condenser

Condenser is a device that condenses the gaseous state (vapor) in to liquid. It is used in almost all small engines. A condenser stores charge. While the current flows from the negative end to the positive end, the charge is stored in between in this condenser. A condenser helps in the functioning of the engine. If it does not function properly, then the engine will stop functioning. If you are facing such problems, then you can check your engine, if you know how to test a condenser. To know more about testing a condenser, you can read the instructions given below, and learn how to test a condenser.

How to test a condenser?

  1. To test a condenser, first you need to remove the condenser from the engine. For this, you can follow the instruction manual provided with it as the fittings might differ in different models and different brands.
  2. Now place this condenser on a wooden bench. Do not place the condenser on a metal surface, as it will not let you complete the test successfully.
  3. On the upper side of the condenser there is a small metal connector. This is the ‘power connection’ of the condenser, and the case in which it is placed is known as the ‘ground point’.
  4. Next step is using the ‘ohmmeter’. Switch on the ohmmeter and set it on ‘ohm’ position. To check the condenser, on the meter, place the red lead of the ohm. The black lead has to be inserted in the common connecter located on the meter.
  5. The red lead from the meter has to be touched to the hot connector on the condenser. The black lead from the meter has to be placed on the ‘ground point’ of the condenser.
  6. When you touch these two leads to the condenser, the meter’s needle should move towards the right. Check the reading at least for 15 to 20 seconds. This will charge the condenser.
  7. Once you are done with these readings, in the next step, reverse the placements of the lead. In simple words, place the red lead on ‘ground point’ and the black lead on the hot connector.
  8. Once both the leads are placed correctly, the meter’s needle should again move to the right. Again, hold for 15 to 20 seconds. This time the condenser will discharge.
  9. The needles’ movement states that the condenser is in working condition. If the needle of the meter does not show any movement, it indicates that the condenser is not functioning, and has to be replaced.
  10. Even if the needle does not move in any of the two tests, the condenser has to be replaced. To get a confirmation on reading, you have to repeat the test 4-5 times.

Besides this there is also a 12 volt condenser used in an automotive engine. The condenser in this engine protects the ignition system of the engine from shocks and fluctuations of voltages, which otherwise would affect the ignition system of the engine. 12 volt condenser in these engines is like an insulator between the ignition system and the voltages.

You can also test this condenser using a Megger. Follow the steps given below to check the condenser using a Megger.

  1. Detach the condenser from the engine. Make sure that none of the parts of the condenser are dampened, because it will not give you appropriate results.
  2. Connect the positive end of the condenser terminal to the positive terminal of the Megger, and the negative to negative terminal. Set the Megger to 500 volts.
  3. The initial reading that you get should not be less than 10 ohms and should increase later. If not so then you need to replace the condenser.


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