Microwave not Heating - Magnetron

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I encounter this complaint all the time. "Everything seems to be working fine, except it's not heating." The clock counts down the time, the lights are on, the fans work.

The main component that heats the food in your microwave is the Magnetron. That is what it looks like on the right of the window. When this stops working, you know. NO HEAT. No Popcorn. That sucks.

What you have to determine from this point is if the machine is worth repairing or not. Most microwave manufactures carry a five year extended warranty on this part. Check your reciepts. If you don't have a reciept, they normally go off of the date the machine was made at the factory. So have your Model and Serial Number when you call to check. You can also check this if you have your owner's manual. In the very back of your owner's manual they list everything that is covered and how long it's covered.

Moving on, let's say it's not covered. Basically, if your Microwave sits on the counter, replace it. The Magnetron will more than likely cost more than you paid for the Microwave in the first place. They range in price from around $90 to $160. Unless your emotionally attached to it and it has sentimental value just get rid of it, it's really not worth repair. If your Microwave is an over-the-range model you have to consider a couple things before you decide. You really need to think about this and make your own determination. If you have taken great care of it and it's a higher end model, it may be worth repair. If its falling apart and just plain ugly and you don't really like it anyway, throw it out.

So, it's higher end and you want to repair it. Should you do it yourself or call in an Expert? That is greatly going to depend on you. If you feel you are comfortable and have great patience and attention to detail you won't have a problem. The job is going to require you to remove the Microwave from the wall. Once the unit is off the wall, you will have to remove the outer shell and some of the panels on the inside to access the Magnetron. The total time to replace this component will take better than an hour. How much longer than an hour just depends on your skill level. If it takes me longer than an hour to replace a magnetron, it wasn't my fault.(lol)

The magnetron is directly behind the control panel area. It is a pain to squeeze out and you may have to ever so slightly bend a panel. That's normal. One important thing to remember. Before you buy a new Magnetron, replace the diode first. As seen to the left here. There is a slim chance that this peice has failed and that's why the magnetron isn't working. Replace it first and see. You need to replace the diode anyway when you replace the magnetron, so it's really not going to cost extra. They are only a couple dollars anyway. And wouldn't it be great if you could repair your Microwave for a couple bucks. But, if you replace the diode and you still have no heat, then go ahead and order and replace the Magnetron.

Some things to watch out for. There is a high voltage capacitor that the diode connects to. Don't

put your screwdriver or fingers across the two terminals on it. It's alot stronger than a 9-volt battery. The capactor is pictured on the right here. You should be careful during the whole repair. Make sure you pay attention to what was plugged in and where. Wear gloves. Have plenty of room to work. Best done on the floor, at least for me anyway.

Below is a video on how to repair your microwave if it is completely not working.  Thanks for watching.

Thanks for taking the time to read this and Good Luck with your repair. If you have any questions or comments please leave them below or on my YouTube.com channel.  My username is applianceoutlet.

My Refrigerator is clicking

In this article I'm going to talk about the Clicking Noise that may occur with your refrigerator. I answer Appliance Questions online and this is a very common complaint. So I will write it here to save me from retyping it over and over.

The components on the side of the compressor are called your relay, starter and capacitor. There are a few different styles but they pretty much do the same thing. They allow the electrical current to enter the compressor. IF the compressor is going bad, say shorted windings in the motor, this will cause the compressor to draw to many amps of electricity. When the compressor draws too much current, the overload will overheat and "CLICK". When you hear that click, that is the sound of, your refrigerator isn't going to get cold anymore and you better fix it quick noise. That's why you're here.

The clicking noise is very distinct and it will sound like it's coming from under the refrigerator or from the back. You may also hear buzzing. The overload will click when it cools down and lets current through the circuit again. So, click off, click on. But if the component parts are bad or the compressor is bad this cycle will happen again, and again, again, and so on and so forth. Usually about the rate of every minute or so.

Now, there are a few other things that will cause this to overheat and shut off. One is if your condenser coils are covered in pet hair and haven't been cleaned in some time. Lint, dust, hair, who knows what else can be there but you get the point. If those coils are not kept clean, the compressor will run hot. That will cause the overload on the side of the compressor to overheat and "click"-no cool. Unplug the fridge and clean the coils. This may fix the problem if the overload or compressor weren't damaged. You will know right away. If the fridge runs fine after cleaning the coils then you are okay. You will know usually within a few minutes if the something has been damaged. It will still click.

Another thing that can cause the click is an adaptive defrost control board. It contains a relay that sends power to the parts on the side of the compressor. When the defrost board doesn't send full power to the compressor, this causes an increased amp draw to make up for the voltage drop. Increased amp draw equals "CLICK"

One more thing that may cause this clicking sound is the condenser fan not working. The condenser fan is the fan that is next to the compressor. It has a couple jobs. Evaporate the defrost water and keeping the heat off the condenser coils and compressor. If the fan isn't running when the compressor is running, guess what will happen. "CLICK" I think you know why by now, but just in case, the compressor overheats and the overload on the side of the compressor, protects it by shutting off the power. Hopefully if your fan motor was bad, the overload did its job and saved your compressor. You can place a separate fan on the floor blowing on the compressor and coils to temporarily get you by until your new parts arrive.

Okay, you cleaned the coils, got a fan if you needed one and it still clicks, now what? The first thing to do is replace the components on the side of the compressor. Hopefully the compressor starts up and the new components don't click like the old ones. If they don't click you are good to go. Good job, you just saved a bunch of money on appliance repairs.
But what if it still clicks? Well, to put it nicely, your refrigerator may need to find a new home(scrapyard). That means your compressor has internal damage or you have some sort of freon restriction. If your refrigerator is less than five years old it may be covered by the manufacture's limited warranty. That means this repair will not cost you. But, if it's older than that or you don't have some sort of extended warranty plan, this repair will cost you at least $300. And if you are really unlucky it could cost around $600. The difference in price being whether you only need freon work, or you need the compressor replaced.

I think I've covered the basics. You now know what the annoying clicking sound is when your refrigerator gives up and stops getting cold. The clicking is capable of happening periodically. Make sure the refrigerator isn't running in temperatures above 85 - 90 degrees F. Don't let the refrigerator be exposed to direct sunlight. Keep the coils clean. Don't leave the doors hanging open for long periods of time. If you are having a defrost issue this sound could be heard. That is because with a defrost issue, the compressor runs constantly and that will cause it to overheat.

If you are having a Defrost Issue be sure to read about Defrost Problems on my blog.  Search for Frost in my Freezer.

Thanks for taking the time to read this. If you have more questions about this I can be found on YouTube.com/ApplianceOutlet.  Post your Comments or Questions either on this Blog or at the bottom of my YouTube videos.

Frost in my Freezer

You wake up in the morning and go to the refrigerator to get some breakfast. When you get out the milk, juice or whatever it is you get for breakfast, you notice something is wrong. It's not cold! The next thing you do is open up the freezer and see if that is still working properly. Wheeew it is. But why?

What you probably didn't notice was that the freezer has not been going through it's normal defrost cycle. Because of this un-noticed event going on, there has been frost building up on the evaporator coils that doesn't belong there. After this frost continues to build up over the course of a few days to a week or so, now you are going to start to notice the effects.

Here is what's happening when you have a malfunction in the defrost system.
  • Air cannot circulate from the freezer(where the cold happens basically) to the fresh food section.
  • Your refrigerator will run constantly to try to cool the fresh food section. This will develop a new set of problems with your refrigerator. More on that later....
  • Excess frost builds up within the coils inside the freezer. This is what is blocking the air flow to the fresh food section
  • Usually you will notice the icemaker will stop making ice. Poor air flow and not quite cold enough temperatures in the freezer cause this
  • Water will not come through the dispensor on the door. Cold air settles, the water resovoir will freeze.
  • Compressor may overheat and shut off. This is when you hear, click,click,click. Not good
  • Ice Cream in the Freezer will start to get soft. That's really not that bad. lol
What can you do about this. Let me explain the defrost system in general so you get an understanding of what is going on.

The coils inside the freezer are the only part inside the whole refrigerator that "get cold". They need to stay free from excess frost build up so that air can pass through the coils and reach the refrigerator section of your refrigerator. Every eight hours or so, depending on the type of defrost timer or control you have, the compressor and fans will shut off and the machine will go into defrost mode. When the refrigerator is in defrost there is a heater that is tied into the evaporator coils inside the freezer that comes on. This heater is behind the rear panel inside the freezer where the evaporator coils are located. It melts the frost that has accumulated over the course of time. After about thirty minutes the machine comes out of defrost and goes back to normal operation.

Now the air can continue to pass through the coils and keep the freezer frozen and the refrigerator cool and everybody is happy.

What components make up the defrost system?
  • Defrost control or timer.
  • Some refrigerators have a defrost timer. This type works like a clock. Every eight hours or so the machine hits the defrost spot and that's when defrost occurs
  • Some refrigerators have an Adaptive Defrost Control. This is what makes a refrigerator energy efficient. It varys the length of time it takes the machine to go into defrost. So instead of the energy hogging heater coming on every eight hours, it may be 24 hours, 18 hours, 10.5 hours, who knows. It depends on how many times you have opened the doors, how long the compressor has run. This is good because the refrigerator may not need to go into defrost every eight hours. Now you are saving energy. Good Stuff
  • Defrost Thermostat
  • This is the component that controls how long the heater stays on when the machine is in defrost mode. Say the defrost cycle is thirty minutes, the heater may only be on for ten of those thirty minutes on the timer controls. On Adaptive Defrost Controls, when the heater shuts off, shorty after the machine exits defrost mode. Basically if the heater only stays on for ten minutes, the whole defrost cycle will only be about 12 or 13 minutes long.
  • Basically when the heater comes on, it starts to melt the frost on the evaporator. Once all the ice and frost is gone, the temperature behind the panel will start to rise. Once the temperature behind the panel rises to a certain temperature, the thermostat will break the current of electricity going to the heater. Bam, it shuts off and prevents your freezer from becoming a sauna, or an oven. I'm sure you get the drift. The heater is on the bottom of the evaporator coils and the defrost thermostat sits on top of the evaporator coils.
  • Defrost Heater
  • This is the last component in the defrost system. This one should be pretty simple. By now if you have read this far you should already know what this does and how important is it. Some defrost heaters are a coil of wire in a glass tube under the evaporator coils. Works like a light bulb basically. The other style looks like the bake element in your stove. They both get red hot either way and melt the frost.
So what happens now? Well the first thing you can do to get the machine running is to remove the rear panel of the freezer. From there you will want to remove all the frost and ice that has built up. Pouring hot water over the coils is the best method. The water will drain out of the freezer through the drain hole in the bottom of the freezer under the evaporator coils.  From there it will evaporate on it own.

Once all the frost is gone, you could put the machine back together and it would work fine. For a few days, until the frost has developed again due to the defrost issue. That would only be a temporary fix.

Hopefully between this article and video you are able to find your problem and repair it. Feel free to post in the comments or visit the Appliance Outlet website to get further information about fixing your defrost problem.  If you have any request for videos or questions with your repair, feel free to ask.  You can reach me on Google+ or on my YouTube Channel  Thanks for taking the time to read and watch this and good luck with your repair.