How It Works:Microwaves

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Microwave not working? Not heating or turning on? This video provides information on how a microwave works and offers troubleshooting tips to assist you in diagnosing and repair.

Here is a list of the most commonly replaced parts associated with each microwave symptom:

Microwave doesn’t heat: diode, door switch, magnetron, capacitor, thermal fuse
Microwave not working: line fuse, main control board, thermal fuse, thermoprotector
Microwave runs for a few seconds and shuts off: door switch, main control board, touchpad
Microwave turntable doesn’t turn: turntable motor, control panel, touchpad
Microwave buttons don’t work: touchpad and control

All of the information provided in this microwave troubleshooting video is applicable to the following brands: Amana, Frigidaire, GE, Kenmore, LG, Maytag, Panasonic, Samsung, Sharp, Whirlpool.
1Maintenance tips for your microwave
Maintenance tips for your microwave
When it hit stores half a century ago, the microwave oven dramatically changed meal preparation by reducing heating times considerably. Today, it’s a staple part of most kitchens. Routine care will keep your microwave oven operating well for many years.
2Leave the repair of electronic parts to a professional.
Leave the repair of electronic parts to a professional.
Despite its small size compared to other home appliances, the microwave oven can store thousands of volts of electricity in its high voltage capacitor, even after the microwave oven has been unplugged. That’s more than 30 wall outlets combined. Replacing electronic parts in a microwave oven can be extremely dangerous. This should be left to a repair professional. However, the cost to purchase a new microwave is often comparable to the cost of replacement parts so a new unit is most often the best solution. Non-electronic microwave parts like door latches, glass trays and their associated parts are inexpensive and easy to replace.
3Clean the interior.
Clean the interior.
Clean the inside of your microwave frequently. Food particles and splatters absorb some of the microwave energy while the unit is operating and may cause burns and other damage to the microwave. You can clean the interior with a microwave oven cleaner. If you’re in the market for a new microwave, we recommend a stainless steel interior. It’s easier for cleaning purposes. We recommend this stainless steel cleaner and microfiber cloth to clean the interior.
4Close the door carefully.
Close the door carefully.
Take care not to slam the door. Latch mechanisms on microwave ovens generally have three switches that must close in a particular order. Slamming the door may alter the order of the switches’ closing, resulting in a blown, internal fuse.
5Use the preset cooking times.
Use the preset cooking times.
This will enable the microwave to heat food more effectively and conserve energy.
6Never run it empty.
Never run it empty.
Some people have mistakenly run their microwave oven without food, simply for use of the timer while cooking elsewhere in the kitchen. This may damage the microwave oven. With the absence of food or liquid, the microwave energy is not being absorbed and will bounce around inside. This can cause the magnetron to overheat and fail; this is a very costly repair.
7Use only microwave-safe dishware.
Use only microwave-safe dishware.
Only place dishware that’s stamped as microwave-safe into a microwave oven. Many glass products are not microwave safe. Never put in dishware with metal parts or gold or silver plating. Never put in aluminum foil, even in small amounts If the dishware you are using to heat your food gets exceptionally hot, or hotter than the food you are trying to heat up, it is absorbing the microwave energy and is not microwave safe.
8Avoid surge damage.
Avoid surge damage.
Plug your microwave oven into a surge suppressor to protect its circuitry from damage during voltage spikes or surges caused by lightning and other power fluctuations.
9Replace common parts.
Replace common parts.
You can solve many common problems with microwave ovens with touch-up paint and by replacing turntables, light bulbs, charcoal filters and more. With your microwave’s model number, head to our repair help information.
10Heat water in a kettle.
Heat water in a kettle.
Heating water in a microwave oven is not advised due to risk of a condition called “superheating.” This condition can cause water to be much hotter than boiling but not appear to be boiling. As soon as the cup or glass is touched the water can suddenly and violently burst, causing burns to anyone nearby. It is better to heat water on a stove-top kettle.

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