There may be two types of devices present in your oven: * Thermal protectors are thermostats that open a set of high current contacts at a preset temperature. They should reset when they cool off. However, like a relay or switch, the contacts sometimes deteriorate. * Thermal fuses will open at a preset temperature but do not reset. They blow and need to be replaced. At room temperature, both types should read as a dead short with an ohmmeter (disconnect one terminal as there may be low resistance components or wiring which may confuse your readings). If the resistance is more than a small fraction of an ohm, the device is bad. Replacements are somewhat readily available. You must match both the temperature and current ratings. If you suspect a bad thermal protector in the HV transformer primary, clip a 100 W light bulb or AC voltmeter across it and operate the oven. If the thermal protector is functioning properly, there should never be any voltage across it unless there is actual overheating. If the bulb lights up or the meter indicates approximately line voltage - and there is no sign of overheating - the thermal protector is defective and will need to be replaced. An overheating condition would generally be obvious as the mounting surface on which the thermal protector is located would be scorching hot when it tripped - too hot to touch (but discharge the HV capacitor first - a burn from the heat will be nothing compared to the potential shock!). Replacement of a thermal protector is very straightforward as it is almost always screwed in place with push-on lug terminals. The new thermal fuse will probably come with lugs attached.
A triac may fail in a variety of ways: * A shorted triac would result in the oven coming on as soon as the door is closed or the power being stuck on high no matter what the touchpad setting. * An open triac or one that didn't respond to the gate would result in no heat and possibly other things like the fan and turntable not working as well. * A triac that didn't turn off would result in the parts of the oven continuing to run even after the timer counted to zero. * A triac where one half was shorted would result in a blown fuse due to it acting as a rectifier pumping DC through the HV transformer. * A triac where one half doesn't properly turn off would result in the main fuse blowing when the cook cycle completed. Nearly all triac failures will be shorts. Thus, measuring across the MT1 and MT2 terminals of the triac (the power connections) should read as a high resistance with a multimeter. A few ohms means a bad triac. As noted above, triacs can fail in other - possibly peculiar ways - so substitution or bypassing may be necessary to rule out all possibilities. Replacement is very straightforward - just don't get the wires mixed up.
A defective relay can result in a variety of symptoms: * A relay with its contacts welded (stuck) closed would result in the oven coming on as soon as the door is closed or the power being stuck on high no matter what the touchpad setting. * A relay that doesn't close (due to defective contacts or a bad coil) would result in no heat and possibly other things like the fan and turntable not working as well. If the relay is totally inoperative, test for voltage to the coil. If the voltage is correct, the relay may have an open coil. If the voltage is low or zero, the coil may be shorted or the driving circuit may be defective. If the relay makes a normal switching sound but does not correctly control its output connections, the contacts may be corroded, dirty, worn, welded closed, binding, or there may be other mechanical problems. Remove the relay from the circuit (if possible) and measure the coil resistance. Compare your reading with the marked or specified value and/or compare with a known working relay of the same type. An open coil is obviously defective but sometimes the break is right at the terminal connections and can be repaired easily. If you can gain access by removing the cover, a visual examination will confirm this. If the resistance is too low, some of the windings are probably shorted. This will result in overheating as well as no or erratic operation. Replacement will be required. The resistance of closed contacts on a relay that is in good condition should be very low - probably below the measurable limits on a typical multimeter - a few milliohms. If you measure significant or erratic resistance for the closed contacts as the relay is switched or if very gentle tapping results in erratic resistance changes, the contacts are probably dirty, corroded, or worn. If you can get at the contacts, the use of contact cleaner first and a piece of paper pulled back and forth through the closed contacts may help. Superfine sandpaper may be used as a last resort but this is only a short term fix. The relay will most likely need to be replaced if as in this case the contacts are switching any substantial power.
A routine test for radiation leakage should be done before returning an oven you have worked on especially if the door or magnetron/waveguide were disturbed during the repair process. Use it around the door seem and ventilation holes in the cabinet. An inexpensive meter is better than nothing but will not be as sensitive and will not allow you to quantify the amount of any leakage. If you work on microwave ovens, such a meter is a *must* for personal safety reasons as well as minimizing the risk of liability after returning them to your customers. These should be available wherever you buy quality test instruments. They are usually made by the same companies that manufacture other service equipment. Prices and capabilities vary widely. MCM Electronics sells an inexpensive unit suitable for quick checks on a go/no-go basis for $6.99 and an FDA approved unit (including calibration), for $388. Note: you should also perform an electrical leakage test to assure that all case parts are securely connected to the Ground of the AC plug.
(From Barry Collins (email@example.com)). I found an old manual for a Narda 8100B Electromagnetic Leakage Monitor. (I used to work for a manufacturer of Microwave ovens.) While I don't personally recall ever having damaged a probe while checking for leakage, I do know that it is possible to do so and did happen on rare occasions. The Narda manual states that their probes use an antenna/thermocouples design. Holaday (sp?) makes another line of detectors and those may use a thermistor array. I have confirmed that by removing the styrofoam cone from the end of a Holaday uW leakage detector's probe and then bringing its tip near a heat source (40W bulb) caused the meter to have a significant deflection. Thus, the cones are not only used as spacers. They prevent radiant heat sources from affecting the meter reading, as well. The Holaday probes that I used had 8 diodes in the tip that formed an array. Newer designs (Holaday) claim to be more or less immune to damage resulting from placing them into high energy fields. I do know that the older Narda equipment was prone to such damage. There is a section in the Narda manual that details how to select the proper probe to measure "unknown" leakage levels. In a nutshell, one should start with the highest power rated probe and work toward the lowest power rated probe (three listed in all). The goal is to have a meter deflection of more than 10% of it's scale while not going off scale for sake of accuracy. While it didn't specifically mention damage to the probes, there were overtones throughout the text that implied such (watch needle, listen for alarm, stop and replace probe, etc...). The three probes were listed as (high/low range for each): Probe Range ----------------------------------------- 8120A 0.2 mW to 2.0 mW/square cm 8121A 2.0 mW to 20.0 mW/square cm 8122A 20.0 mW to 200.0 mW/square cm This is from memory, but I believe that the maximum leakages we were allowed by the governmental agency were: * Less than 2.0 mw/square cm off of our assembly line * Less than 3.0 mw/square cm leaving the warehouse * Less than 5.0 mw/square cm in consumers home As you no doubt know, with a hole cut in the oven (in reference to those who want to modify one - see the section: "Microwave ovens for non-standard applications" --- sam), the density can easily reach several times these numbers, especially on the newer 1,000 watt plus models. Damage would occur where one intentionally held the lower power rated probe in the strong field until the thermocouple (or thermistor?) overheated.
Since these do not really provide an absolute measurement, their utility is somewhat limited. All microwave ovens leak to some extent. Determining by how much is why you pay the big bucks for a real leakage meter! WARNING: These are no substitute for a properly calibrated commercial unit! (From: Leon Heller (firstname.lastname@example.org)). A very simple design I saw somewhere (Electronics World, probably) consisted of a half-wave dipole with a Shottky diode detector between the two elements. I think one measured the voltage across the diode via a resistor and capacitor smoothing arrangement using a 50 uA meter. You can buy these detectors quite cheaply. (From: Ren Tescher (email@example.com)). I saw an article about it in Modern Electronics in the early eighties. It is simply a Schottky Barrier Diode (SBD) and an LED wired together. The leads of the SBD are left intact and straight and act as a 1/4 wavelength dipole. Here's the circuit: SBD <-----------------+-|<|-+-----------------> | | +-|>|-+ LED The LED is soldered close to SBD using as short of leads as possible (being careful not to ruin either part with too much heat). (Note that the diodes are connected anode to cathode, not cathode to cathode.) I then taped/glued it 1 1/2 and perpendicular from the end of a popsicle stick (this gives it a 'standoff' distance). Put a large container of water (>=2 cups) in the microwave and run it on HIGH for 2 minutes. While it is running, slowly sweep the tester around the door seal, hinges and door latch. You may have to dim the lights to see if the LED lights up. Any leaking uwaves will be picked up by the dipole 'antenna', the SBD will rectify the waves, and when sufficient rectified voltage has built up, the LED will light up. I built 10 of these at home and then compared them to the commercial tester we had at work. The commercial tester had three ranges and the most sensitive range was divided into 3 color bands, red, yellow, green. The home-built testers all 'fired' at some point in the 'yellow' range. I attribute the variances within the yellow (caution) range to individual characteristics of the diodes - they all came from the bargain bin at Radio shacks.... A solid glow would indicate excessive leakage, especially if the tester still glows if it is pulled beyond the 1-1/2 inch standoff distance to 3 inches. Typically the LED just flickers, around the hinge/latch areas. (US law allows increased leakage as the oven ages). You may notice that no radiation leaks through the viewing window, contrary to the old wives tale of not looking through the window while it's cooking. (The screen really is a very good microwave shield --- sam). Small leaks may be remedied by adjusting or cleaning the door and hinges and/or by distance (square law= doubling the distance quarters the power). Large leaks - trash the oven. (From: James P. Meyer (firstname.lastname@example.org)). Get a small neon bulb. The NE-2 size is a good one. Use some resistors to make a voltage divider for 115 VAC to feed the bulb. Adjust the voltage across the bulb so that it's just barely glowing. Make the divider network resistance large enough to limit the current through the bulb to just a couple of mA. Put the bulb on the end of a line cord and plug. INSULATE everything completely. Adding this onto a neon circuit tester is one option and will provide an insulated housing as well. Plug the whole thing into an AC outlet. Wave the bulb around the door gaskets and if it gets brighter when the oven is turned on, then you have located a leak. The bulb detector can be very sensitive. You may even be able to use it to find wires behind drywall in your house.
So you fixed up Aunt Minnie's Radarange or picked up a microwave at a yard sale or scavenged one off the curb. The only problem you could find was a blown fuse, truly horrible mess of decayed burnt-on food, or a thriving community of cockroaches inside. How safe is it to use (assuming you evicted the cockroaches)? As long as there is no serious damage to the door (a 6 inch hole would quality as serious damage) and the door fits square, it should be properly sealed. As long as the waveguide is tightly mounted and undamaged, there should be no leakage from there. Make sure the metal cover has all its fingers engaged around the front (though with a properly installed magnetron, there should be minimal microwave leakage into the electronics bay). An inexpensive leakage tester - around $8 - will not be as sensitive or accurate as the $500 variety by may provide some peace of mind. However, as noted below, they may indicate dangerous leakage even when your oven is within acceptable limits. The most important considerations are the door and door seal. (From Barry Collins (email@example.com)). Those inexpensive hand held meters (from Radio Shack, etc..) can give very inaccurate readings. While they definitely serve a purpose, they have caused a more than a few people to unnecessarily fear microwave ovens over the years. Also, I just changed jobs from working for a company that made gas ranges. CO detectors caused similar panic among users of the appliances. I'd highly recommend anyone with gas heat or appliances to purchase a quality CO detector, but not one of those inexpensive type that go off whenever there is a thermal inversion of smog a city.
The efficiency of an electric heating element is 100% - period. However, using an electric stove to heat 1 cup of tea may result in much wasted energy as the element and pot must be heated as well and there are losses due to convection and conduction to the surrounding environment. Furthermore, you won't heat just *1 cup* of tea but more likely 2 or 3 just to be sure you have enough! A microwave oven is not likely to be more than 60% efficient - possibly as low as 50 percent or even less. While the magnetron tube itself may have an efficiency rating of 75%, there are losses in the high voltage transformer, cooling fans, and turntable motor (if used). The light bulb and controller also use small amounts of power. These all add up to a significant overhead. In addition, the waveform applied to the magnetron by the half wave doubler circuit is not ideal for maximum efficiency. However, you are not heating the surrounding countryside as the microwaves only affects what you are cooking and not the container or oven cavity itself and you are more likely to only load the amount of food you expect to be eating. For a single cup of tea, the microwave oven may use 1/10th the energy of a typical electric cooktop element to bring it to a boil! Therefore, it makes sense to use a microwave oven for small short tasks where the losses of an electric or gas oven or cooktop would dominate. However, gastronomic preferences aside, a conventional oven is better suited for that 20 pound turkey - even if you could distort its anatomy enough to fit the typical mid-size microwave!
(From Barry Collins (firstname.lastname@example.org)). Microwave oven design is a black art. What one hopes for is to deliver all the power from the magnetron into the food and not have a high SWR reflect back into the magnetron and burn it out. Size, shape, placement of food items affect the SWR. The microwaves are designed for the most part to work optimally with an average load. Models equipped with turn-table models compensate for this by breaking up the SWR as the food revolves. My oven has a stirrer fan design and has been working for going on 18 years now without the first hint of a problem (maybe a little less power). I personally know that it had one of the lowest SWRs available at the time. Not to mention it has an older design, non-cost reduced, cooler running, more efficient magnetron (that cost $13.00 instead of $9.45). The thing that I found disturbing about microwave oven design was the trends to go with hotter an hotter insulation classes on the components used in them. The original transformers were class H while the newer ones are now class N. This was all done in the name of cost reduction to remain competitive. The windings AWG got smaller and the temperature rise went up accordingly. The magnetrons were cost reduced in a similar fashion. Size was reduced and the number of fins were reduced. Their temperature went up while their efficiency went down. But then the cost went from $300 to $149 while life went from 10 years-plus to 5 years or less and they became disposable items. That's one area, I'd almost hesitate to hope the Government would have mandated an efficiency.
Metal in microwave ovens may or may not be a problem depending on the specific situation. Sharp edges and points create strong field gradients which tend to spark, arc, or create other fireworks. With some food in the oven to absorb the power, this is probably not likely to damage the oven. You will note that some ovens come with metal fixtures in addition to the oven walls themselves (e.g., Sharp convection/microwave combo). Having absolutely nothing in the oven chamber or just metal is the potentially more likely damaging situation for the magnetron as you are dumping several hundred W to over a KW of power into a reflective cavity with no load. In the worst case, you could end up with a meltdown inside the waveguide requiring replacement of various expensive components including the magnetron.
(From: Don Klipstein (don@Misty.com)). Mainly, you need exposed water or food to absorb the microwaves. Otherwise, they just reflect around the oven and get back to the magnetron tube. This may be bad for the tube, and in an unpredictable manner. It is even not too good to run a microwave empty. The walls of the main cooking chamber are metal. In the event the microwave runs empty OK, adding metal objects change the microwave reflection pattern and might possibly unfavorably change things. If you have exposed food or water, the tube should not mind some stray metal too much. If the added metal does not interfere with microwaves mainly getting from the tube to the target food or water and being absorbed, the magnetron should be OK. Even if the tube does not mind, there is another concern. Metal objects close to other metal objects or to the walls of the cooking chamber may arc to these. Any arcing is generally not a good thing. If you add metal objects in a manner safe for the tube, try to keep these at lease a half inch (a bit over a cm.) from the walls to avoid arcing. Safe distances are uncertain and are usually less if the metal objects are small and a large amount of food or water is exposed. If any metal object has major contact with a microwave absorbing food target and such target is still heavily exposed, you should be OK. Examples would be wrapping foil around the wingtips of a whole chicken or whole turkey, or a bottle of liquid (on its side) with a metal lid with liquid contacting much of the lid. This is usually OK. Just avoid unrelated problems due to major temperature change of anything in contact with a non-heat-rated glass container. A plain glass bottle if ice-cold stuff might possibly break from thermal shock when heated, but any metal lid on a bottle largely full of microwave-absorbing stuff should not present a problem especially if the bottle is on its side so that stuff is contacting or very nearly contacting much of the lid.
"My daughter tried to heat up one of those 'soup in a box' containers and it burned - actually charred. I wasn't home at the time, so I don't know if it was neglect or inappropriate use, but the lasting effect is that there is a strong odor, similar to that which you smell after a fire that I cannot seem to get rid of. What do you recommend. I have a Sharp Convection/Microwave, that even after the incident described still performs well." Start by cleaning the interior of the oven thoroughly with mild detergent and water. You may have to do this several times to get all of the sticky film left behind. However, the odor may persist since the smoke can penetrate to places you cannot access for cleaning. With a combination convection and microwave oven especially, there are many passages where the air would normally circulate in convection mode which will be coated even if the oven was used in microwave mode. However, I would expect that the smell will decrease and eventually go away. Most likely, nothing in the oven has actually sustained any damage.
A microwave oven should be used only on a properly wired 3 wire grounded circuit. Check with a circuit tester to make sure your 3 prong outlet is correctly wired. Many are not. Install one if it is not grounded. There is a very important safety reason for this requirement: the return for the high voltage is through the chassis. While unlikely, it is theoretically possible for the entire high voltage to appear on the metal case should certain internal connections come loose. With a properly grounded outlet, this will at most blow a fuse. However, with the case floating, a shocking (or worse) situation could develop - especially considering that microwave ovens are usually situated near grounded appliances like ranges and normal ovens and wet areas like kitchen sinks. A dedicated circuit is desirable since microwave ovens are significant users of power. Only about 50 to 60% of the electricity used by a microwave oven actually gets turned into microwaves. The rest is wasted as heat. Therefore, a 700 W oven will actually use up to 1400 W of power - nearly an entire 15 Amp circuit. Convection ovens have heating elements which are similar energy hogs. At least, do not put your refrigerator on the same circuit!
A Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFCI) protects people from shocks should a situation develop where an accessible part of an appliance should short to a live wire. Touching this may result in a shock or worse. A GFCI detects any difference between the currents in the Hot and Neutral wires and shuts off the power should this difference exceed a few mA. A GFCI is not needed with a properly grounded microwave oven as any such fault will blow a fuse or trip a circuit breaker. In most cases, it will not hurt to have a GFCI as well. However, with some combinations of oven design and your particular wiring, due to the highly inductive nature of the high voltage transformer, nuisance tripping of the GFCI may occur when you attempt to cook anything - or at random times. However, this usually does not indicate any problem. Plug the oven into a properly grounded circuit not on a GFCI.
Assuming it is a regular microwave and not a convection/microwave combo, the major issues are: * Providing adequate air flow through its ventilation grill which is usually located in the rear. (A convection/microwave can get quite hot and have ventilation in other places. In this case I would suggest contacting the manufacturer of the oven for specific requirements.) * Providing adequate structural support so the microwave doesn't end up in the soup :-(. These are HEAVY appliances - cabinetry and/or drywall may not be up to the task. Models designed as over-the-range or combined microwave and exhaust fan units mount via a massive plate fastened securely into the wall structure (screwed directly to the studs, not just the sheetrock!). * Local building codes may specify when and if this approach can be used. So, before doing any demolition, check with your friendly township inspector! There are special (likely highly overpriced) models available for this type of mounting. To use a normal microwave, my recommendation would be to build a shelf rather than a totally sealed, enclosed, conformal cabinet. It can have sides and a top as long as you leave a couple of inches all around. This will result in a microwave oven that is much more easily serviced should the need arise and replaced in the future with a model that is not quite identical. Just make sure it is securely supported - the microwave weighs quite a bit and must endure a fair amount of abuse from heavy casseroles and the inevitable door yanking/slamming!
Microwave ovens are high power appliances. Low cost transformers or international voltage adapters will not work. You will need a heavy and expensive step down or step up transformer which will likely cost as much as a new microwave oven. Sell the oven before you leave and buy a new one at your destination. Furthermore, for microwave ovens in particular, line frequency may make a difference. Due to the way the high voltage power supply works in a microwave oven, the HV capacitor is in series with the magnetron and thus its impedance, which depends on line frequency, affects output power. High voltage transformer core saturation may also be a problem. Even with no load, these may run hot even at the correct line frequency of 60 Hz. So going to 50 Hz would make it worse - perhaps terminally - though this is not likely. * Going from 50 Hz to 60 Hz at the same line voltage may slightly increase output cooking power (and heating of the magnetron). The line voltage could be reduced by a small amount to compensate. * Going from 60 Hz to 50 Hz may slightly decrease output power and possibly increase heating of the HV transformer due to core losses. Using a slightly lower line voltage will reduce the heating but will further decrease the cooking power. The digital clock and timer will likely run slow or fast if the line frequency changes as they usually use the power line for reference. Of course, this may partially make up for your change in output power! :-)
(From Mark Paladino (email@example.com)). Some microwave ovens have a self-test feature. This self-test is usually accessed by pressing a couple of keys on the touch pad. You can usually test things like keys, switches controller etc. Check the manual for any self-test info. Some microwaves have this information tucked in a pocket or hidden somewhere behind panels.
While the vast majority of microwave ovens - perhaps every single one you will ever see - use minor variations on the tried and trusted half wave doubler circuit, a few models have been designed using solid state high frequency inverters - in many ways similar to the deflection/HV flyback power supply of a TV or monitor. A typical circuit (from a Sharp microwave oven) uses full wave rectified but mostly unfiltered pulsating DC as the power to a large ferrite inverter transformer which sort of looks like a flyback on steroids. This means that the microwave output is pulsing at both 60 Hz and the frequency of the inverter! Bridge Rectifier Inverter Transformer Magnetron o H o----+---|>|------+--------+-------+ |:| +--------------------------+ ~| |+ _|_ Drive )|:|( Filament 1T #18 | +---|<|---+ | --- 25T )|:| +--------------+------+ | 115 VAC | | | #12 )|:| HV Cap | +-|----|-+ +---|>|---|--+ +-------+ |:| +-------||-----+ | |_ _| | | | | |:|( .018 uF | | \/ | N o----+---|<|---+ Drive |/ C |:|( 2,400 V __|__ | ___ | ~ |- o---| Chopper |:|( HV _\_/_ +----|:--+ (Interlocks and | |\ E |:|( 250T | HV |'--> fuses/protectors | | |:|( #26 Sense | diode | uWaves not shown) +-----------+ |:| +--+---/\/\----+---------+ o | 1.2 _|_ (Except for filament, # turns estimated) o H1 - Chassis Ground The chopper transistor is marked: Mitsubishi, QM50HJ-H, 01AA2. It is a LARGE NPN type on a LARGE heatsink :-). Note the similarity between the normal half wave doubler circuit and this output configuration! Base drive to the chopper transistor is provided by some relatively complex control circuitry using two additional sets of windings on the inverter transformer (not shown) for feedback and other functions in addition to current monitoring via the 'Sense' resistor in the transformer return. It is not known whether power levels in this over were set by the normal long cycle pulse width modulation or by control over a much shorter time scale. However, since the filament of the magnetron is powered from the same transformer as the HV - just as in a 'normal' microwave oven, this may not be very effective. Compared to the simplicity of the common half wave doubler, it isn't at all surprising why these never caught on (what is diagramed above includes perhaps 1/10th the actual number of components in a typical inverter module). Except for obvious problems like a tired fuse, component level troubleshooting and repair would be too time consuming. Furthermore, as with a switchmode power supply (which is what these really are) there could be multiple faults which would result in immediate failure or long term reliability problems if all bad parts were not located. Schematics are not likely available either. And, a replacement module would likely cost as much as a new oven! This is simply a situation where a high tech solution was doomed from the start. The high frequency inverter approach would not seem to provide any important benefits in terms of functionality or efficiency yet created many more possibly opportunities for failure. The one major advantage - reduced weight - is irrelevant in a microwave oven. Perhaps, this was yet another situation where the Marketing department needed something new and improved!
A microwave oven with its power cord cut or removed AND its high voltage capacitor safely discharged is an inanimate object. There are no particularly hazardous parts inside. Of course, heavy transformers can smash your feet and sharp sheet metal can cut flesh. And, the magnets in the magnetron may erase your diskettes or mess up the colors on your TV. Some may feel there is nothing of interest inside a microwave oven. I would counter that anything unfamiliar can be of immense educational value to children of all ages. With appropriate supervision, an investigation of the inside of a deceased microwave oven can be very interesting. However, before you cannibalize your old oven, consider that many of the parts are interchangeable and may be useful should your *new* oven ever need repair! For the hobbiest, there are, in fact, some useful devices inside: * Motors - cooling fan and turntable (if used). These usually operate on 115 VAC but some may use low voltage DC. They can easily be adapted to other uses. * Controller and touchpad - digital timer, relay and/or triac control of the AC power. See the section: "Using the control panel from defunct microwave oven as an electronic timer". * Interlock switches - 3 or more high current microswitches. * Heavy duty power cord, fuse holder, thermal protector, other miscellaneous parts. * High voltage components (VERY DANGEROUS if powered) - HV transformer (1,500 to 2,500 VRMS, .5 A), HV rectifier (12,000 PRV, .5 A), and HV capacitor (approximately 1 uF, up to 2,500 VAC, perhaps 3,000 V peak). * Magnetron - there are some nifty powerful magnets as part of the assembly. Take appropriate precautions to protect your credit cards, diskettes, and mechanical wristwatches. See the section: "The magnets in dead magnetrons". DOUBLE WARNING: Do not even think about powering the magnetron once you have removed any parts or altered anything mechanical in the oven. Dangerous microwave leakage is possible.
The dead magnetron you just replaced is fairly harmless. There is no residual radiation but it does contains a pair of powerful ferrite ring magnets. These can be removed without extensive disassembly and make really nice toys but should be handled with care. Not only can they pinch flesh (yes, they are that powerful) but they will suck all the bits right off your tapes, diskettes, and credit cards. If you do want to save the magnets: * Disassemble the magnetron assembly as follows: - Remove the top portion of the magnetron - it is either fastened with screws or some metal tabs which are easily bent out of the way. - Remove the cover over the box where the filament connections are located. This usually requires peeling off the sheet metal around the edges. - Cut the thick copper connections to the filament near the tube itself. (The thick copper coils are RFI chokes and prevent any microwave energy from escaping via the filament circuit.) - Spread the frame apart just a bit and lift out the tube with heat sink fins. CAUTION: the sheet metal fins may be sharp! - The magnets can now be pulled off. They may need cleaning :-(. - The magnetron tube itself can be disassembled by grinding off the welds around the edges of the large cylinder or cutting around it outer edge near one end with a hack saw but it takes quite a bit of curiosity to make this a worthwhile exercise. There is a slight chance that the coating on the filament is poisonous so don't take chances. You don't need to get inside to remove the magnets. * Keep the magnets a safe distance away from any magnetic media including what might be in your back pocket, mechanical wrist watches, and color computer monitors and TVs. * Paint the magnets with plastic enamel or coat them with the stuff used on tool handles to reduce their tendency to chip. The chips are as magnetic as the overall magnet. The ferrite is basically a ceramic and fragile. Smack them too hard and they will shatter. * Take care not to get your skin between the magnets when you bring them together since the attractive force when nearly touching is substantial. * Store the magnets in a box packed in the center of another box with at least 4 inches on all sides. Clearly mark: powerful magnets with appropriate warnings. Having said that, these magnets can be used to demonstrate many fascinating principles of magnetism. Have fun but be careful. Also see the section: "Magnetron construction - modern microwave oven".Go to [Next] segment
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