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Safer way to discharge a capacitor

Page history last edited by Carlyn Maw 14 years, 4 months ago

from the TAT0002 blog post.


Sometimes you'll see someone use a rubber handled screwdriver to rapidly discharging a capacitor with a spark. This isn't safe and is tough on the capacitor.

The best way is to put something between the two ends of the capacitor that represents a load relative to the voltage in the Capacitor. A small lightbulb (not really an LED), a small motor or even just a big enough resistor.

The more voltage that the capacitor could have potentially stored, the more work you want it to have to do to escape… but there is a balance between safety and speed: too much resistance and you’ll be waiting all day, too little and there is sparking. The ratio 5 to 50 Ohms / V rating of Cap is a good one, found at repairfaq.org.

Here is one way to do that:



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