An electronic stud finder is a device used for locating studs within walls through its capacitor plate which measures the energy within an electrostatic field. Sensors within the unit use this field to detect density within the walls. Different materials will show different amounts of energy; the stud that you want to locate will give a different reading that just drywall. The capacitor in an electronic stud finder is essential to the power supply of the device. If your device is not working and the unit has fresh batteries, you may need to replace the internal capacitor in the stud finder. Below are the steps for replacing the capacitor. The tools you will need are a screwdriver, a pair of pliers, a smoldering iron and wire clippers.
Step 1 – Buy a New Capacitor
It is important to buy the right capacitor for your device. On the side of your old capacitor, there will be listed the voltage rating as well as the number of farads. Use this as a guide to buy the new one. You can buy one that is identical or one that is slightly higher in power to the one you are replacing. Do not go lower on the rating.
Step 2 – Remove the Power Supply
Remove the batteries from your device. Power must be disengaged from the device to prevent the chance of electric shock.
Step 3 – Remove the Capacitor
To remove the capacitor from your stud finder, you will need to use your smoldering iron to heat the part of the capacitor that is welded to the device. Touch your iron to the joint while pulling the other end of the capacitor with pliers. Apply heat to the other end of the capacitor while still pulling with the pliers to lift it out.
Note the manner which the old capacitor was installed. Similar to jumper cables, polarity is very important. If you install the capacitor incorrectly it may critically damage your stud finder.
Step 4 – Install the Capacitor
Make sure that the smoldering iron is heated. Use your wire clippers to cut the leads from the new capacitor closer to the unit so it will fit tightly to the device. Use the iron to heat up the solder on the device while pushing a lead into the board. Allow this solder to cool before doing the same with the other side of the capacitor. Allow this to cool also.
Step 5 – Reassemble the Stud Finder
Reassemble the device and insert the batteries. Test the device to make sure it is working.
Important Tip for Handling Capacitors
Capacitors can hold a charge and release the charge when grounded. Make sure to ground capacitors to a ground source prior to manipulating the unit with your hands.