A faulty capacitor reduces ceiling fan speed dramatically, and it is a relatively inexpensive component that can go bad over time. Having a spare capacitor on hand can make things easy when you find out your fan isn’t working because the capacitor is no longer making good contact.
But how do you know if the capacitor goes bad or not? Speed drop is the most common symptom of a bad capacitor, but you can’t be 100% sure that capacitors cause it. There might have been other issues. So, you need to test your ceiling fan capacitor to ensure that component causes this problem.
However, if you think the capacitor is faulty, how do you test it? In this article, we will describe some common methods that help you check your fan’s capacitor. To check it, you need an analog or digital millimeter. Also, the meter has to be a capacitance measurement option.
Types of capacitors?
Capacitors are created by using the electrical property of capacitance. A capacitor is an electronic device that can store energy in the form of an electric field. A capacitor can have in three conditions:
A short capacitor cannot store power because the insulating material turns into conducting materials.
An open capacitor is a broken circuit, meaning that no current can flow through the device. The open capacitor will not conduct any current and will not be able to perform its function.
If the capacitor is in a good condition, it’s called a good capacitor.
There are some common methods for testing capacitors using different multimeters.
Method 1. Using Digital Multimeter with Resistance Mode
First, you need to discharge your ceiling fan capacitor. In order to discharge a capacitor with a screwdriver, you should unscrew the positive and negative wires. You can then touch the screwdriver to the two disconnected ends of the wires. If you do this, the energy stored in the capacitor will be drained.
Now you need to set the Ohomic range on your multimeter. Connect the multimeter with the capacitor. Keep in mind, the positive end will go for positive, and the negative end will go for the negative.
After connecting the meter with the capacitor, you will see some numbers in the display. Note the reading; repeat the process 2-3 times.
If it instantly goes to the open line or infinity and every attempt shows the same result, that means the capacitor is in good condition. If there is no change in the meter display, the capacitor is dead.
Method 2. Using Analog Multimeter with Ohm Mode
You need an ampere, volt, Ohm meter and keep it in Ohm mood.
At first, discharge the capacitor and connect it with the meter. Connect the positive terminal to the positive and negative to the negative.
If you see the meter show very low resistance, that means this is a short capacitor.
If you don’t see any movement, it refers to the capacitor as an open capacitor.
If initially, it shows low resistance, and gradually it increases and eventually goes to infinity, that means the capacitor is good.
Method 3. Easiest way using capacitance mode
In the capacitors’ body, you will see (2.4µF) something like this. If your meter has µF, or “C” mood, you can quickly check the capacitor.
Discharge the capacitor and connect it with the meter. If it shows the actual value of the body or near, that means it is a good capacitor.
If you see a very low value than the actual value, this is a dead or bad capacitor. So, you should replace it with a new capacitor.
How long should a capacitor last?
A capacitor is a particular type of component used to store electricity. If the capacitor lasts long enough, it will not need to be replaced. It is unclear how long a capacitor should last, as it varies from one to another. A typical lifespan of a capacitor is 8-12 years.
What Does Your Ceiling Fan Capacitor Do?
A ceiling fan capacitor is a device placed in between the power supply of the fan and the motor. It helps control the rate at which electricity flows through the fan, allowing for slower speeds and more even air circulation. Over time, the capacitor can fail and need to be replaced. You will have to remove the old one and install a new one in its place to do this.
How Do you Identify a dead Ceiling Fan Capacitor?
A bad/dead capacitor will usually be an easy and quick diagnosis. If the capacitors look like they have a dark film on them or are leaking, it is likely they need to be replaced. Some capacitors may require more testing than just looking at them to diagnose if they are bad, such as checking their value with a voltmeter or putting a load on them and seeing if they will blow.
Ceiling fans are often victims of bad capacitors. This is usually due to the old capacitor, which might be “dead.” A dead capacitor can make your ceiling fan not turn on. Bad capacitors will eventually fail. The age of your capacitor is something that you will need to take into consideration. You can verify the capacitor’s age by taking off the motor housing covers and looking at the side of the capacitor. Look for any dates written on the side. If there are none, look at the capacitor body.