Capacitance measurements are usually taken with a capacitance meter. Capacitance tolerances vary
even more widely than resistance tolerances. Capacitance tolerances depend on the type of capacitor, the
value of capacitance, and the voltage rating. The actual measurement of capacitance is very simple;
however, you must make the important decision of whether to reject or to continue to use the capacitor
after it has been tested.
The POWER FACTOR of a capacitor is important because it is an indication of the various losses of
a capacitor. Power losses can be traced to the dielectric, such as current leakage and dielectric absorption.
Current leakage is of considerable importance, especially in electrolytic capacitors.
Q-17. What is the term used to refer to the losses which can be traced to the dielectric of a capacitor?
Inductance measurements are seldom required in the course of troubleshooting. However, inductance
measurements are useful in some cases; therefore, bridges (discussed in the next section) are available for
making this test. You will find that many capacitance test sets can be used to measure inductance. Most
capacitance test sets are furnished with inductance conversion charts if the test equipment scale is not
calibrated to read the value of inductance directly.
CAPACITANCE, INDUCTANCE, AND RESISTANCE BRIDGES
You can measure capacitance, inductance, and resistance for precise accuracy by using ac bridges.
These bridges are composed of capacitors, inductors, and resistors in a wide variety of combinations.
These bridges are operated on the principle of a dc bridge called a WHEATSTONE BRIDGE.
The Wheatstone bridge is widely used for precision measurements of resistance. The circuit diagram
for a Wheatstone bridge is shown in figure 1-5. Resistors R1, R2, and R3 are precision, variable resistors.
The value of Rx is an unknown value of resistance that must be determined. After the bridge has been
properly balanced (galvanometer G reads zero), the unknown resistance may be determined by means of a
simple formula. The galvanometer (an instrument that measures small amounts of current) is inserted
across terminals b and d to indicate the condition of balance. When the bridge is properly balanced, no
difference in potential exists across terminals b and d; when switch S2 is closed, the galvanometer
reading is zero.