OpenCVMeter – Rediscover Your Capacitors

All Capacitors Aren’t Created Equal



When designing circuits, many hobbyists take capacitors for granted – but each type (ceramic multi-layer, aluminum electrolytic, tantalum, mica…) has its own unique properties. Nowadays, ceramic capacitors are the most commonly used capacitors in the industry, but many can lose up to 80% of their rated capacitance near their voltage ratings. 

Enter the OpenCVMeter! This meter aims to provide a Capacitance versus Voltage characterization accurate within 1% of the capacitors for your next project (or already have and are starting to wonder about right now…)

There are many scenarios where capacitance is critical to the correct functioning of the circuit:

  • Analog RC filters (signal processing, audio applications)
  • DC/DC power supply design
  • Decoupling applications

In some cases, a lower than specified capacitance may lead to sporadic hardware bugs, or in the extreme, a non-working device. The OpenCVMeter will give you the information you need to ensure this doesn’t happen in your next prototype !

The OpenCVMeter can also measure currents up to 12.4uA with a resolution of 6nA, which can be extremely useful when designing ultra low power devices.

For example, you could use the OpenCVMeter to verify that all your passive components (TVS diodes, electrolytic capacitors…) adhere to their leakage specifications – and ensure your device has maximum battery life.

The OpenCVMeter doesn’t need any drivers and works right out of the box with your Windows, Linux or Mac computer. You will be able to:

  • Set the maximum voltage when characterizing capacitance or leakage current
  • Specify the number of points for the generated curve
  • Save the curve data points to a CSV file
  • Use the OpenCVMeter as a standard capacitance meter
  • Measure extremely low currents with a 6nA resolution
  • Easily upgrade your OpenCVMeter’s firmware

For the past few months, several beta testers have been using our application. Their feedback ensured that the software provides maximum functionality and works as intended. This application is simply installed via the Chrome App Store.

The OpenCVMeter case is made from grey anodized machined aluminum, giving it a nice professional look. The above picture is a prototype of the final design. The final design will incorporate a silkscreen logo with polarity markings.

The OpenCVMeter has two standard banana sockets, so you can hook it up any way you like. For good measure, it will be shipped with the following accessories to get you started:

  • SMD tweezers, for all your SMD components
  • Test hook cables, for all your through-hole components
  • A current calibration kit composed of three resistors.    All of our source code is already available for download in our official GitHub repository. The hardware files will be added to the repository once the campaign is complete.

    Technical Specifications

    So you want to know the nitty-gritty? Here are the advanced technical specifications of the OpenCVMeter:

For More Details: OpenCVMeter – Rediscover Your Capacitors

About The Author

Ibrar Ayyub

I am an experienced technical writer holding a Master's degree in computer science from BZU Multan, Pakistan University. With a background spanning various industries, particularly in home automation and engineering, I have honed my skills in crafting clear and concise content. Proficient in leveraging infographics and diagrams, I strive to simplify complex concepts for readers. My strength lies in thorough research and presenting information in a structured and logical format.

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