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Thread: New toy: Cap tester

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    Default New toy: Cap tester

    So, I had a Honeytek A6013L, but it only tested capacitance (first picture).

    I then found this Peak Atlas ESR+ ESR70 that was small, cheap and supposedly tested capacitance and ESR.

    Seems pretty cool.

    And given the 342.2 reading vs. the 347 with no 1/10ths place, I'd say it might be more accurate too.

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    Considering the Honeytek can be found for under $20, not sure I would call the ESR70 "cheap". But I think the price can be justified if you have a need to test caps frequently.

    That said, according to the Honeytek specs, it has a range down to 200pF while the ESR70 of just 1µF. That may be a problem for some techs. On the other end, the ESR70 can test up to 22,000µF, 10x more than the Honeytek.

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    Yeah. DealXtreme has sold the Honeytek at a pretty cheap price.

    But when I said "cheap", I didn't mean compared to the Honeytek. I mean, given the fact that it can test capacitance and ESR. For that price, I think you usually get a kit and I wasn't in the mood for a kit.

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    Yeah, compared to other ESR testers, I agree the price is "cheap". Plus it has just two "big" buttons and auto-range sensing with no knobs to set. With my eyes at my age, that's a very good thing!

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    My only criticism about that Atlas meter is that it eats up the battery... and it's a stupid 12v battery that's expensive, if I remember correctly.

    As for capacitor measurement.. don't kid yourself, the measurement is by no means more accurate than any multimeter with capacitance feature. In fact, it could be worse, depending on the quality of the multimeter.

    Both values in the picture can very well be correct, the different numbers are just due to different method of measuring, different current values, voltages etc used to measure capacitance.

    I would not buy Atlas ESR today, it's too expensive. You can now get a proper LCR meter capable of 10kHz ESR measurement for about 110$. For example:

    http://www.ebay.com/itm/Handheld-LCR...item4614610a04

    http://www.ebay.com/itm/Handheld-LCR...item4613d9aaf4

    http://www.ebay.com/itm/DER-EE-DE-50...item20da276638

    http://www.ebay.com/itm/New-High-Qua...item4176b13360

    http://www.ebay.com/itm/DT-9935-High...item51b31ee550


    Yeah, Atlas says 100kHz but the ESR measurement is not the "real esr", it's just an "approximation" of what the esr value would be at 100 kHz.

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    Hmm.... I like UNI-T's stuff. I have one of their handheld scopes that I bought last time I was in China. I think I should pick that LCR meter up and add it to my collection of UNI-T meters.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mariush View Post
    Yeah, Atlas says 100kHz but the ESR measurement is not the "real esr", it's just an "approximation" of what the esr value would be at 100 kHz.
    Hi, Jez from Peak Electronic Design Ltd here.

    I can confirm that the Atlas ESR (both the ESR60 and ESR70) will measure the true ESR of a capacitor at 100kHz. The test signal generated by the Atlas ESR is genuinely 100kHz and the electronics and firmware will measure the true ESR whilst eliminating the influence of the capacitor's reactance. Many ESR meter designs out there do not eliminate the capacitor's reactance and this can be quite significant for lower capacitance electrolytics.

    The Atlas ESR is designed primarily to measure ESR (in-circuit or out-of-circuit) but it will also measure capacitance (out-of-circuit). This is good combination of measurements as they can both indicate potential problems with the capacitor under test.

    Bear in mind that, generally, ESR is only a major concern for applications that need to deal with fairly significant ripple currents. Those applications tend to be in PSUs, large DC blocking applications or high current filters. In those cases, the capacitance encountered is very rarely lower than 1uF. The limit of the ESR60/70 is actually 0.5uF to 33000uF. We quote 1uF to 22000uF to take into account the huge tolerances that many electrolytics exhibit.

    Furthermore, our instruments will automatically carry out a controlled discharge of the capacitor under test. Most other meters won't do that and can be EASILY damaged by applying the probes to a charged capacitor.

    Finally, I acknowledge that our instruments are not the cheapest, although we do try to keep things as good value as possible. All our products are designed and made in the UK, none of our production is in China. That can mean things are more expensive, but we're proud to be able to support every customer directly with any questions, and people can speak to the actual designers/manufacturer easily.

    Anyway, if anyone has any questions about any of our products then feel free to ask, we're always happy to be open and honest about the capabilities (and limitations) of our test equipment.

    Regards,
    Jez

  8. The Following 4 Users Say Thank You to PeakAtlas For This Useful Post:

    DR4C0Ni4N (05-31-2015), huckleberrypie (10-19-2015), Jon Gerow (05-21-2015), Tazz (05-22-2015)

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    Furthermore, our instruments will automatically carry out a controlled discharge of the capacitor under test. Most other meters won't do that and can be EASILY damaged by applying the probes to a charged capacitor.
    How? I never ever seen anything like that in any materials. Shall we do a test? Show me the ESR70 connected to live capacitor on 230 V AC after rectifier. Will it survive 315 volts live?

    Only the ESR Micro v4.0si has true protection as it carries a relay which does NOT connect the capacitor unless it is really discharged. And it also discharges (but it may take a long time for big capacitors). Good for up to 500 volts safely. It is the only device in this price range I know about with such thing.

    Expect increased competition in near future as I am jumping on international distribution with the ESR Micros. Compared to it the ESR70 is obsolete, it has not been modernised in at least 5 years while the price is still the same. ESR Micro now has the relay protection, better manufacturing quality (now with higher-quality probes), wider range (both ESR and capacity) and is about third to half cheaper. Really no reason to buy from you these days.

    For aprox. 50 % higher price than the ESR70 you can buy chinese LCR meters which are in different universe compared to both ESR70 and ESR Micro v4.0si. I mean color touch screen, internal memory, USB connectivity and possibility to generate graphs etc., much wider ranges and measuring ten times more values. I hope to distribute those in future too.

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    i remembered how my friend got atlas, so i kinda guessed on how the discharge circuit works:

    Posted: Sat Dec 23, 2006 4:45 pm Download Post Post subject:



    Ivo wrote:
    perhaps discharger is on totally separate circuit.
    or perhaps capacitance meter is on separate circuit.


    Spot on!!

    Those thick traces going to the white parts look to me like the discharging circuit; the thin ones on the front probably go to the analysis circuit.

    The white components are two relays; the black one in the discharging circuit is a K275 varistor == discharger
    heh..

    anyhow, one CAN discharge the cap prior to measuring and it's not that hard.

    on another note i was surprised how lil of a difference had my diy meter based on this
    http://ludens.cl/Electron/esr/esr.html
    vs. esr micro 4 (and probably atlas).
    (for me even bob parker's kit was too expensive, so bob took some offense on my writing on badcaps...heh...)

    one can take that subject a lot further:
    http://conradhoffman.com/capchecktut.htm

    note the thing by the end of article
    Test caps in the same frequency range they have to perform in.
    as for atlas, sure it's overpriced, for that price it should measure D and Q, just like DER and others do:
    http://www.ebay.com/itm/New-DER-EE-D...3D141098968632

    and it's lcr meter, so it measures inductance and resistance on top of that.

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    Do you have any images?

    I've had similar devices to that DER in hand, they often measure BS especiall in circuit. But may be just they were some chinese kick-offs.

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