Parts

No parts required.

Introduction

Capacitors are electronic components found in almost every device containing a circuit board. Large capacitors can store enough charge to cause injuries, so they must be discharged properly.

This guide will show you how to make a simple resistor-based capacitor discharge tool.

Image 1/1: Two lengths of wire. Minimum wire requirements is 12AWG, 600 volt rating for large electrolytic  capacitors used in power supplies, electric motor start circuits and camera flash circuitry
  • To construct a capacitor discharge tool, first gather the necessary materials. These include:

    • Two lengths of wire. Minimum wire requirements is 12AWG, 600 volt rating for large electrolytic capacitors used in power supplies, electric motor start circuits and camera flash circuitry

    • A resistor rated to dissipate the amount of thermal energy created when discharging the capacitor. Minimum requirements for resistor is 2k OHM 5w for small capacitors, 20k OHM 5w for large electrolytic capacitors used in power supplies, electric motor start start circuits and camera flash circuitry.

    • Shrink tubing

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Image 1/2: To ensure a solid solder joint, strip at least .25" of insulation off the wire. Image 2/2: To ensure a solid solder joint, strip at least .25" of insulation off the wire.
  • Begin the process by stripping one side end of each length of wire.

  • To ensure a solid solder joint, strip at least .25" of insulation off the wire.

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Image 1/2: Image 2/2:
  • Next, trim both of the leads leaving the resistor to match the length of insulation stripped off the wires in the previous step.

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Image 1/3: The wire we are using is quite thick, so we inserted the resistor lead down the center of the conductor portion of the wire and twisted the wire against it as tightly as possible. Image 2/3: Solder the wire to the resistor. Image 3/3: It is essential that enough solder flows through the wire to create a permanent bond between the two pieces.
  • Join the lead leaving the resistor to the stripped end of the wire by twisting the two together.

  • The wire we are using is quite thick, so we inserted the resistor lead down the center of the conductor portion of the wire and twisted the wire against it as tightly as possible.

  • Solder the wire to the resistor.

  • It is essential that enough solder flows through the wire to create a permanent bond between the two pieces.

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Image 1/2: Use a heat gun or lighter to shrink the tubing over the joint, making sure it is positioned to cover all exposed wire. Image 2/2: Use a heat gun or lighter to shrink the tubing over the joint, making sure it is positioned to cover all exposed wire.
  • Slide a section of shrink tubing up the wire, making sure to completely cover up the solder joint and any exposed wire.

  • Use a heat gun or lighter to shrink the tubing over the joint, making sure it is positioned to cover all exposed wire.

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Image 1/1: To complete the discharge tool, strip the ends of the wires.
  • Repeat the above process for the other side of the resistor.

  • To complete the discharge tool, strip the ends of the wires.

  • To discharge from small points, it may be helpful to cut the exposed ends of wire into a point shape and solder them to maintain the shape. Alternatively, the probes commonly used on multimeters can be soldered to the wires to create a more precise discharge tool. For large electrolytic capacitors used in power supplies, electric motor start circuits and camera flash units you may want to solder 1 end to a large alligator clip and the other to a well insulated screw driver.

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Conclusion

To reassemble your device, follow these instructions in reverse order.

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2 Comments

thank you !!! :)

Sufian Hamouda - Reply

This article is by far the best I've read. I have made these in the past and had to get past the amount of words used to describe what needed to be done with what. This article is straight to the point and the tips ( using alligator clip ) are excellent.

Paul Kriner - Reply

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