Scavenging SMD. Measuring installed components

Thread Starter


Joined Jun 1, 2010
I have quite a few computers in the scrap bin under my test bench. I'd like to reuse some of the smd components off of the boards. It's not that I'm that cheap. It's just that it would be nice to find what I need for a few circuits I'm working on without having to keep placing orders at DigiKey if I can get one or two at a time off of these boards.

I'm assuming that resitors cannot be measured without isolating them, pretty sure diodes can be checked, but what about capacitors? Must they be removed/isolated before I can measure them with my DMM?

My Radio Shack DMM won't do this feat, so I just ordered this DMM for measuring caps.

Mastech MS8261
Last edited:


Joined Dec 5, 2009
From the Mastech MS8261 Spec Sheet:
• Capacitance: 2n/20n/200n/2µ/20µF±4.0%

So it is pretty sensitive, but you WILL need to pull the cap in order to test it in most cases.

If there are any coupling caps or any other component that has capacitance, it will show up on your reading.

If it is a scrap board, you can cut the traces close to the cap, then measure it without removing it from the PCB.