Due to the flexible and compact structures, spherical joints are widely used in parallel manipulators and industrial robots. Real-time detection of the clearance between the ball and the socket in spherical joints is beneficial to compensate motion errors of mechanical systems and improve their transmission accuracy. This work proposes an improved capacitive sensor for detecting the micro-clearance of spherical joints. First, the structure of the capacitive sensor is proposed. Then, the mathematical model for the differential capacitance of the sensor and the eccentric micro-displacement of the ball is deduced. Finally, the capacitance values of the capacitive sensor are simulated with Ansoft Maxwell. The simulated values of the differential capacitances at different eccentric displacements agree well with the theoretical ones, indicating the feasibility of the proposed detection method. In addition, the simulated results show that the proposed capacitive sensor could effectively reduce the capacitive fringe effect, improving the measurement accuracy.