How to Discharge a Capacitor

by Contributor

Before working on any motor, be sure you discharge the capacitor. Capacitors store energy and can pack a serious and potentially dangerous jolt of electricity.

Unplug the power feeding the motor.

Pick up a 20,000-ohm, 2-watt wire resistor at an electronics store. Be sure it's a wire-wound resistor.

Stick a jumper on each end of the resistor, using two jumpers with alligator clips.

Clip one free end of a jumper to the flat edge of a standard screwdriver with an insulated handle.

Attach the final jumper to one terminal of the capacitor.

Touch the tip of the screwdriver to the other terminal.


  • check If there are more than two terminals on the capacitor, be sure to attach the clip to each one and discharge all of them.


  • close If you don't fully understand this procedure or it makes you uncomfortable or you're unsure if you did it correctly, consult a licensed electrician.

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