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Welcome to Bob's ESR Meter Page

Information about the different versions and their availability...

This is the well-known Blue ESR meter from Anatek Corp in the USA.
Designed for easiest possible construction, everything is mounted on the circuit board. It's powered by a 9V battery which lasts even longer thanks to its low-current cool blue displays and low-dropout voltage regulator.
Available in kit and fully-built form, click here for all the info on the Alltronics website.

Also available from these companies (click on the name to visit their website):
Main Electronics in Vancouver, Canada (they have a USA outlet too).
John's Jukes in Vancouver, Canada (they happily ship world-wide).
Electronic Repair Guide (Jestine Yong) in Malaysia
LYNX The Electronic Superstore in India (Amarbir ships world-wide)

This is one of the ESR meters from EVB in sunny Portugal. They're the same basic design as the Dick Smith unit (below) and there are various versions to suit individual needs.

The black version has heavy duty protection diodes in parallel with the test leads while the white version is designed to be able to test batteries so it doesn't have those diodes. It still has reasonable protection against charged capacitors. This new blue version is powered by 6x AA cells and is housed in a stronger ABS case.

These meters are available fully-built from EVB in Portugal (click here) so check them out.

Click here to read a detailed impartial user review

And this is the Dick Smith Electronics K-7214 kit. Unfortunately Dick Smith Electronics has permanently stopped making all kits, including this one.

Please note that the kit is quite complex and is not recommended for inexperienced hobbyists.
It uses a custom-programmed microcontroller chip. A blank Z86E0412 will not work.

You can download the notes for the DSE kit as an Adobe Acrobat file... (1.3MB)
For Firefox users, right click here and select 'Save Link As...'
For Internet Exploder users, right click here and select 'Save Target As...'
Then save the k7214.pdf file to an appropriate subdirectory on your hard drive.

Brief Specifications...

Measurement range: 0.01 to 99 ohms, auto-ranging
Peak voltage across capacitor under test @ full scale: 100mV
Update speed: 4 readings/second
Power supply: EVB & Blue meter: 9V alkaline battery. DSE: 6 x "AAA" cells.
Controls: Single push button for power on/off and zero
Dimensions: EVB: 65mm x 131mm x 30mm. Blue meter: 3.4 x 5.8 x 1.0". DSE: 2.7 x 5.2 x 2.2"
Microcontroller: ZiLOG Z86E0412PSC 1866


* Tests electrolytics in circuit, & test leads are non-polarized.
* Test lead resistance compensation.
* Automatic power off when reading is unchanged for 3 minutes.
* Low battery voltage warning ('b' flashes on right-hand digit).
* Big, easy to read 0.5 inch (13mm) LED displays.
* Table of typical good capacitor ESRs on the front panel.
* Self-testing firmware for easier identification of construction problems.
* Kit contains all hardware and components, except batteries (prohibited in postal system).

  Note: A variable DC power supply is needed to calibrate the kit meters. Click here for a little circuit you can make if you don't have one.

Overload Tolerance

This ESR meter can generally handle being connected to capacitors charged to about 50V without damage, but like most other ESR meters it will be seriously damaged by being connected to such things as the main filter capacitor charged to 300V or more, of a 240V-powered switching power supply. The EVB meter has extra protection as noted above.

More info....

Read "How To Make Full Use Of Your ESR Meter" by Jestine Yong (Electronic Repair Guide).

What to do if you've built an ESR meter and it's not working properly.

If you'd prefer an analog ESR meter, check out Doug Jones' Capacitor Wizard. Good to see you back, Doug.

Back to Bob's home page...

Last update: 25th October 2018