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How to Test a Ceiling Fan Capacitor?

It is crucial to understand how you should handle the ceiling fan in case of any breakages since many homeowners have continuously reported the ceiling fan capacitor’s malfunctioning.

Therefore, our guide will equip you with different testing skills and replace your ceiling fan capacitor if the older one doesn’t function properly.

Consequently, you won’t require an electrician or an expert to run the process, but you can comfortably handle it yourself.

how to check capacitor of ceiling fan


How Do you Identify a Bad Ceiling Fan Capacitor?

A bad ceiling fan capacitor can easily be noted, especially on how it picks up when you start it and how it runs.

To begin, switch on the ceiling fan and listen to if there is any sound produced. If you hear a humming sound, then the capacitor might be damaged.

Similarly, you might experience a burning smell that might have resulted from the motor initiated by the faulty capacitor.

You will also note that the ceiling fan’s speed is abnormal, the rate will be reduced. Therefore, there’s a need to replace it.


How to Check the Capacitor of a Ceiling Fan?

Testing the ceiling fan capacity will help you decide whether it requires maintenance or replacement. You will probably save on your expenditure, so ensure that you take notes to avoid damaging your ceiling fan or the capacitor.

Generally, most ceiling fans possess two capacitors referred to as a start capacitor and the run capacitor. First, ensure that you have disconnected the motor’s power supply using an appropriate screwdriver.

Using an Analog Voltmeter

  • Step 1:

Disconnected the power, please do not interrupt the wires that run from the capacitor to the motor but instead, ensure that they are well connected.

  • Step 2:

Set the analog voltmeter reading from ohms to volts and generate a parallel circuit by placing leads on the voltmeter to the capacitor wires.

  • Step 3:

Once you have completed the circuit, wait until voltage readings fall to zero.

  • Step 4:

Disconnect the wires connecting the motor and the capacitor.

  • Step 5:

Change the setting from the volts to ohms, then place the leads on the ohmmeter’s wires running from the motor to the capacitor.

  • Step 6:

Hold it for about 7 seconds, then reverse the leads on the capacitor.

  • Step 7:

Observe the needle movement on the ohmmeter, and if the needle doesn’t move towards the infinite ohms, then your capacitor isn’t working anymore.

  • Step 8:

Similarly, if it moves towards the infinite ohms or zero value, then it is functioning. Ensure that you conduct at least two times.


Other Testing Methods

Other methods include testing a ceiling fan capacitor by the time constant measurement and shorting the capacitor terminals.

Suppose you want to use continuous-time measure. In that case, you will be required to have the ceiling fan capacitor and resistor’s values.

To identify the time constant, you will need to note the time it will take to charge up to 63.2% of the voltage applied.

Connect the capacitor with the resistor in series and maintain the connection with the power supply, then begin to take note of the time it will take to charge up to 63.2%.

Find the capacitor value by dividing the time constant from the resistor and compare it with the original capacitor value. If they are close, then the capacitor is in good condition.

Additionally, for the sparking method, the ceiling fan capacitor will be in good condition if strong sparks will be generated.


How to Replace a Ceiling Fan Capacitor?

The ceiling fan capacitor does wear out, therefore, you might need to replace it. It is important to understand the process involved in it to avoid consulting the specialist hence saving on your costs.

Ensure that you have turned off the power supply before locating the ceiling fan capacitor. A capacitor is always a small black box connected directly to the switch.

However, some ceiling fans have the light kit, therefore, you should be cautious not to interfere with them.

The new ceiling fan capacitor should be identical to the old one for easy connection and the ceiling fan’s proper functioning.

Ensure that you have wire strippers, a new capacitor, Philips screwdriver, pliers, voltage tester, ladder, and have a small box to keep the screws from getting lost.

Generally, it is a simple task and involves the following steps:

  • Step 1:

Unscrew the fixture housing the ceiling fan, remove the fixture and disconnect the connecting wires and you will probably identify the ceiling fan motor and the capacitor.

  • Step 2:

Depending on the type of the fan capacitor used, it always has up to five wires connected permanently to the motor.

  • Step 3:

Cut the wires closer to the ceiling fan capacitor to disconnect it. It will leave you with good length wires to facilitate connection with the new capacitor.

  • Step 4:

Note the color-coding of the wires to avoid unmatching the wire connections to the new capacitor.

  • Step 5:

Secure the new ceiling fan capacitor onto the fan housing with the screws. Strip the wires to expose one inch on all the cables, then splice them while twisting the wires that go together and complete the connection cautiously, then remount the light kit and confirm your work by testing the fan.

how to check ceiling fan capacitor with multimeter



Testing a ceiling fan capacitor is a simple task that can easily be done without any help. However, it is important to check the ceiling fan manufacturer’s guidelines to guarantee your success.

Similarly, if you’ll find the ceiling fan capacitor damaged, then our guide has provided easy-to-follow steps on how you should replace it.

Always observe the maintenance skills, and the ceiling will run in good condition.

Posted in Blog

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