Testing Rv Ac Capacitor

5 min read Jun 26, 2024
Testing Rv Ac Capacitor

Testing RV AC Capacitor: A Comprehensive Guide

As an RV owner, it's essential to ensure that your air conditioning system is functioning properly to maintain a comfortable temperature inside your recreational vehicle. One critical component that plays a vital role in the AC system is the capacitor. In this article, we'll delve into the importance of testing your RV AC capacitor and provide a step-by-step guide on how to do it safely and effectively.

Why Test the RV AC Capacitor?

The capacitor is responsible for storing energy and providing a boost to the compressor and fan motors in your RV's AC system. A faulty capacitor can cause a range of issues, including:

  • Reduced cooling performance
  • Increased energy consumption
  • Motor failure
  • System overheating

Regular testing of the capacitor can help identify potential problems before they become major issues, ensuring your AC system runs efficiently and effectively.

Preparation and Safety Precautions

Before starting the testing process, make sure you:

  • Turn off the power: Switch off the main circuit breaker or disconnect the power cord from the RV's electrical system to prevent any accidental startups.
  • Use protective gear: Wear rubber-insulated gloves, safety glasses, and a face shield to protect yourself from electrical shock.
  • Consult the owner's manual: Familiarize yourself with the capacitor's location, type, and specifications outlined in your RV's owner's manual.

Testing the RV AC Capacitor

Visual Inspection

  • Look for signs of wear: Check the capacitor for any visible signs of damage, such as cracks, rust, or corrosion.
  • Check the connections: Ensure the wires and terminals are securely attached and not loose.

Multimeter Testing

  • Set your multimeter: Set your multimeter to the capacitance (CAP) or ohms (Ω) mode, depending on the type of multimeter you have.
  • Take readings: Touch the multimeter leads to the capacitor's terminals, taking note of the readings.
  • Compare with specifications: Compare the readings with the capacitor's rated specifications, as outlined in the owner's manual or on the manufacturer's website.

Capacitance Tester

  • Use a capacitance tester: If you have access to a capacitance tester, follow the manufacturer's instructions to test the capacitor's capacitance value.

Interpreting the Results

  • Normal readings: If the readings match the specified values, the capacitor is likely functioning properly.
  • Abnormal readings: If the readings are significantly different from the specifications, the capacitor may be faulty or worn out.

What to Do If the Capacitor Fails

If your test results indicate a faulty capacitor, you should:

  • Replace the capacitor: Purchase a replacement capacitor with the same specifications and ratings as the original one.
  • Consult a professional: If you're not comfortable with the replacement process, consider consulting an RV technician or electrician.


Testing your RV AC capacitor is a crucial maintenance task that can help prevent AC system failures and ensure a comfortable temperature inside your recreational vehicle. By following the steps outlined in this guide, you'll be able to identify potential issues and take corrective action to keep your AC system running efficiently. Remember to always prioritize safety when working with electrical systems.