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Frigidaire CFMV164LSA over-the-range microwave capacitor location

Discussion in 'Power Electronics' started by Tonya, Jan 8, 2019.

  1. Tonya

    Tonya

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    Jan 8, 2019
    I tried to upload some photos, but each time I got a pop-up that only said "There was a problem uploading your file". I noticed in other brands of microwaves, the capacitor is located behind the time display. Is it the same for my model, which I described in the title of this post? Can I use my long-handled plastic brush with plastic bristles and metal wire that hold the plastic bristles to the plastic long handle, or would enough electricity travel down and hurt me? Should I buy a pair of linesman gloves? The safest ones I've been able to find online are rated up to 35kV, but they are often like $130 USD, so that's pretty expensive. I live in Canada, and we have 110/120V wall outlets, just like America. Should I buy a rubber grounding mat as I attempt to clean the grease and dust out that is probably behind my capacitor (it looks like it got high up in my microwave), and some electrician's rubber booties? Or is that overkill? The reason I don't want to hire an appliance repair technician just yet is because I doubt they'lI spend much time cleaning out the grease. This is because once I paid almost $200 for an appliance repair technician to come to my apartment and open my dryer to retrieve a plastic part that fell off into the dryer (I was using a plastic vacuum hose attachment to suck out the dust). He asked me to bring a vacuum cleaner over to him, so I did, but to my dismay he only spent a few seconds vacuuming out SOME of the dust bunnies, even though I never made any mention of the dust/lint present. I wished he spend more time sucking out more of the dust that was visible after removing the front panel of my dryer, but he didn't. I asked him why not, and he said that it's a bad idea to interfere too much inside an appliance that's already working. I guess he had a "if it's not broke, don't fix it" kind of attitude. So I think if I want my microwave's metal insides to be free of dust and cooking grease, I should try to remove as much of it as I can by myself. I can't find Formula 409 anywhere in Canada, and that product was recommended to me by two technicians (one was to clean wall electrical outlets in my kitchen, before I put those plastic "baby-safe protectors" in them. Previous tenants admitted to loving fried food). What can I buy that would be similar and safe to use on the metal parts inside my Frigidaire CFMV164LSA "over the range" microwave, behind the two bottom grease filters? I had removed the grease filters over a year ago and never bothered to install the brand new filters I had laying around my house, because I wanted to clean my microwave first, but never got around to doing it. Now I finally want to do it, but I see that all those months of frying foods in canola oil and coconut oil, and making soups on my stovetop has caused lots of yellow grease half-spheres to be hanging on the metal flat horizontal sheets that I can see when I stick my flashlight up in there. There is also dust clinging to the yellow grease. I don't know what type of metal those inner parts are made of, or what the stuff behind the front panel above the door is (I unscrewed the screws from it, to reveal a single skinny rectangular horizontal grease filter. So, there are 3 total grease filters on my microwave). I know that Citro-Cycle, a bike parts degreaser with an orange scent, says not to use it on aluminum because it is flammable that way. I know that there are videos of teens putting aluminum foil balls into water bottles filled with toilet bowl cleaner, screwing on the lid, and then throwing it and watching it explode. The hydrochloric acid inside the toilet bowl cleaner is what reacts with the aluminum. Here is a list of cleaners I already own, in case I don't have to go out and buy a new product: Easy Off Heavy Duty (yellow plastic spray bottle), Goo Gone, Goo Gone caulk remover spray, Weiman Glass Cook Top, Glisten Washer Magic, Nature Clean (a Canadian company) Natural Barbecue & Oven Cleaner, Nature Clean window cleaner, EcoZone (a British company) oven cleaner gel, Live For Tomorrow (a Canadian company) Dish the Dirt Dish Liquid 2X concentrated, EcoMax lemongrass all-purpose spray, Concrobium (a Canadian company) Mold Control, CLR (Calcium Lime Rust), Vim diluted with some water, Method all-purpose spray diluted with some water (because I got to the bottom of the bottle so I'm just trying to get every last penny from the leftover residue on the sides), Drano, HG (a Dutch/Netherlands company) Liquid Drain Opener (biodegradable), bleach, non-sudsing household ammonia, and a bunch of common items around my home including a lemon, vinegar, baking soda, cream of tartar, light mineral oil, food grade mineral oil for bamboo cutting boards (I have no idea if it's light or heavy mineral oil), 70% rubbing alcohol, hydrogen peroxide, laundry powder detergent, Cascade powdered dishwasher detergent, Dri-Z-Air dessicant granules made of calcium chloride (I don't know if it has other ingredients), Nature Clean Tub&Tile abrasive cream cleanser, motor oil. Please look at the photos I've attached. I don't think the manual descibes what types of metal and what type of hard plastic is used on the parts inside the microwave. Should I buy a bottle of 99% isopropyl alcohol from an electronics hobbyist shop, and poor them over the two lightbulb things that are hanging from the bottom of my microwave? The sticker on the bottom panel of the microwave says not to use ammonia, but it doesn't mention anything else. I'm thinking they're only talking about the outside of the microwave and in the cavity where the food is cooked, not in the insides of the microwave.
     
  2. Bluejets

    Bluejets

    3,483
    706
    Oct 5, 2014
    Why don't you just simply isolate the power?
     
  3. dave9

    dave9

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    186
    Mar 5, 2017
    That is far too much text to concisely convey all information, and that lack of formatting (!), so I may have missed the essence of your post and will just throw a few line items out.

    - Your file might be too large, try an image hosting site like imgur.com and link to it in your post.

    - Once you take the cover off the microwave it will be obvious where the capacitor is, nothing else in there looks like it, a big silver can (or oval can) shaped object.

    - Yes you can use a plastic brush. No you don't need rubber boots/etc (lol). However once you ensure that power is off, you can drain (bleed) the capacitor by putting a high (1000 ohm+) resistor across its terminals for a moment. If you feel more comfortable wearing rubber gloves to do so, along with insulated pliers, that's your call. Some microwaves have bleeder resistor(s) across the capacitor already so you wouldn't need to do that if this is the case, but it's better to be safe than sorry.

    - Note that much of the accumulated grease vapor in it may have hardened over time and is quite difficult to remove. It might help if you first heated a bowl of water in the microwave to boiling for a few minutes to steam heat the interior thoroughly, then be quick about taking it down and disassembly so the grease is still soft from the hot steam.

    - Any cleaner with ammonia in it would be good for the grease, but do not get that on any aluminum nor on the circuit board. Outside of that your main easy to source cleaner would be very hot dishwashing detergent solution, which you could get on most interior things but I would avoid getting it anywhere near a relay or the buzzer, and the keypad, and display window, and be careful not to get any into the seams in the front door panel/window (for appearance reasons). It might save some headaches to also keep it away from the (door interlock) switches.

    - No hydrochloric acid, unless you're trying to clean rust off of something and accept that it'll attack the metal too. No need in a microwave. I would use dilute ammonia with dish detergent, except as mentioned above, a detergent solution without ammonia for aluminum or circuit board areas, or just skip the ammonia since you stated a sticker advises against it, and use detergent alone unless you find it won't cut through the grease well enough. Yes the sticker is for the outside only, they don't consider it appropriate for an owner to ever open it for any reason aka "no user serviceable parts inside".

    If there is a lot of grease in the interior under-cover cavity this could end up a very messy project, are you sure you don't want to just try wiping excess out with a paper towel and leaving a bit behind? If the microwave is very old it might not even have much lifespan left, if nothing else the fluorescent tube displays tend to go out eventually. Ignore this if the display is the rarer LED type.

    - Light bulbs, just take them out and clean as you would any other light bulb. No ammonia, just detergent solution.

    The main thing is, make sure it is 100% dry inside before hooking power back up to it. I'd point a fan at it to speed up the drying. This includes little crevices where water pools, and the back side of the circuit board that you can't see unless it's removed (which is another reason why just wiping bulk amounts of grease away rather than an aggressive amount of cleaning every tiny little bit of it, might be the best route to take on this). Some people are perfectionists and might disassemble the whole thing piece by piece to clean it and then besides that overkill/burden, you can get the most grease out and make sure every piece gets dry, especially the transformer which if it gets water in the windings and/or core laminations, could take a very long time to dry out. For this reason I would try to make sure the transformer never gets wet.
     
    Last edited: Jan 8, 2019
  4. duke37

    duke37

    5,227
    718
    Jan 9, 2011
    I think it is an alkali such as sodium hydroxide which will react with aluminium to produce hydrogen not acid.

    Grease could be cleaned off with white spirit or paraffin and then washed well.
     
  5. dave9

    dave9

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    Mar 5, 2017
    Last edited: Jan 8, 2019
  6. Tonya

    Tonya

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    Jan 8, 2019
    My microwave has been unplugged for over 5 days now. Is it safe to touch the capacitor now? Should I pour 99% ispropyl alcohol over the lightbulb connectors (or whatever those flat metal things are called). You can see 16 photos of my microwave here: https://anannymouse.imgur.com/all/ 20190108_204625.jpg 20190108_204625.jpg
     
  7. Bluejets

    Bluejets

    3,483
    706
    Oct 5, 2014
    I would not recommend sticking your fingers in anywhere until it is verified it is isolated from the mains supply.
     
  8. dave9

    dave9

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    186
    Mar 5, 2017
    Are you sure you shared those pics publicly? The link takes me to a page with no pics just states "Zoinks! You've taken a wrong turn"

    The metal body of the capacitor is always safe to touch, it's the metal contacts at the top and the other ends of the wires that shouldn't be touched. How thoroughly are you trying to clean this oven out? For a basic cleaning job you shouldn't need to touch the capacitor contacts with bare hands or anything metal, but I haven't seen the pics...
     
  9. Tonya

    Tonya

    8
    0
    Jan 8, 2019
    I went in and changed it to "Public". Try the same link again. If that doesn't work, here is another link that might work:
    http://imgur.com/a/XDyAiSK (automatically puts an "s" after the http, even though I'm logged out. I would have though it would do the opposite).

    I forgot to mention, I already wiped like 75% of the grease and dust that was originally there with light mineral oil on cotton balls and lint-free cotton tissues. I didn't use it on that circle thing in the centre of the microwave, nor did I use it on the wires leading down to the lightbulb sockets, nor on the lightbulb sockets themselves. But I can see what looks like maybe 3 or 5 or so polyester fibres, stuck on to the black plastic of the lightbulb sockets, but they are probably cotton fibres from the cotton balls that were airborne.
     
    Last edited: Jan 10, 2019
  10. dave9

    dave9

    794
    186
    Mar 5, 2017
    You should be fine using a plastic brush, or just start taking screws out so you can disassemble it further to see how bad it is inside.

    Keep in mind that the majority of the gunk you see is probably grease pulled up from the vent hood function (assuming it has one) and so just the bottom and through its fan and duct are where most of the grease is going to be.
     
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