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When to get a microwave serviced

Discussion in 'Electronic Repair' started by pipjon, Feb 8, 2007.

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  1. pipjon

    pipjon Guest

    I have a panasonic microwave, which I believe works perfectly.
    However the bulb has gone.
    There is no easy way to replace it and in fact the instructions say to
    get it done by a technician.

    I have received 2 quotes
    The first offers to replace the bulb at a total cost of 1000% of the
    cost of a bulb.

    The second offers to replace it and service the oven for 2000%. This
    would be attractive if it needed a ervice

    When does a microwave oven require a service - and what can be
    serviced anyway?
  2. Bob

    Bob Guest

    Nothing needs service if it works okay.

    You can probably replace the bulb yourself if you are handy with a

    In my experience, the main thing that goes wrong in those units has to
    do with the connectors on the control board, and the display gets flaky.

  3. ian field

    ian field Guest

    - and what can be
    Your wallet mostly!!!
  4. Arfa Daily

    Arfa Daily Guest

    There can be an issue with clag in the waveguide, I understand from friends
    who do work on these items. That leads to increased cooking times due to a
    reduction in microwave power reaching the cooking cavity. I suppose cleaning
    out the microwave path, and checking that the fans are running smoothly and
    are not obstructed, and checking that the door switches are securely fixed,
    and that the door and cabinet seals are all intact and not leaking, is what
    would constitute " sevicing ". Otherwise, I agree that there's not a lot
    that can be serviced in the traditional sense.

  5. ian field

    ian field Guest

    Good points but IME obstructions in the wave guide generally cause failure
    if not cleared immediately, and this only happens if the mica/plastic window
    has been removed because of arcing, whenever people have brought ovens to me
    in this condition I point out the temporary bodge of removing the mica
    should have been taken as notice to start thinking about buying a new one.

    It should be easy to hear if the fan is running and doesn't require a genius
    level to clean the grating if that's what's needed, door switches OTOH are
    not trivial although faults usually manifest themselves in an obvious way -
    like blowing the fuse as the door is shut. Door seals are easy to check with
    commercially available microwave leakage meters which are not at all
    expensive, actually the most common cause of leakage is dirty seals - a
    service is only a temporary fix for this if the owner doesn't clean it
    (usually the engineer has earned his fee just cleaning it in this case!).

    Getting back to what the OP really wanted, its worth being forewarned to
    check before ordering which of the 2 sizes of ES thread sizes in common use,
    also 220V microwave ovens sometimes have 2 110V lamps in series - they
    should be replaced as a pair.
  6. Meat Plow

    Meat Plow Guest

    Usually by the time something major needs serviced, it's time to scrap it
    and buy new. You can replace the bulb your self in most cases. Unplug
  7. Never.

    Not much.

    These things are VERY dangerous and you should only try a repair if you have
    enough brains to avoid being killed by them.

    To quote an earlier message

    WARNING: Microwave ovens are the most dangerous consumer appliance to
    service due to the up to 5,000 V at high current inside. Even with the
    power off, there is a HV capacitor that can produce quite a kick. This
    capacitor must be discharged before touching anything in the microwave
    generator circuitry.

    Don't even think about tackling it yourself unless you have the appropriate
    background and have thoroughly studied the Microwave Repair FAQ at the site
    below as well as the info at:, or a book
    microwave oven repair. There is one by Homer L. Davidson that may be
    available at your public library.

    Especially the SAFETY warnings and guidelines.
  8. pipjon

    pipjon Guest

    Thanks to everyone for their useful responses, from which I can assume
    that a service isn't required, and that it would be ok to unscrew the
    casing (having unplugged first) and replace the bulb (having ensured
    the correct size) myself - as long as I don't touch or fiddle with the
    circuitry. If I can clean the fan filter so much the better.
    Please let me know if I've misread the situation, but other than that
    thank you all again. What a useful group!
  9. That's about it. There's a big 'can' with two terminals in there. It will
    kill you if you touch it and are unlucky. Otherwise you should be fine.
  10. If it ain't broke (except for the lamp), don't fix it. :)

    --- sam | Sci.Electronics.Repair FAQ:
    Repair | Main Table of Contents:
    +Lasers | Sam's Laser FAQ:
    | Mirror Sites:

    Important: Anything sent to the email address in the message header above is
    ignored unless my full name AND either lasers or electronics is included in the
    subject line. Or, you can contact me via the Feedback Form in the FAQs.
  11. Hi!
    When the bulb burns out. :)

    In all sincerity, microwave ovens are very reliable pieces of equipment. It
    is not uncommon for one to go 20 or more years with no reduction in
    performance. Things that might require service include the moving parts,
    such as the fan or turntable (if equipped) motor/drive system. Since there
    is a fan inside most ovens, it stands to reason that dust will be pulled
    inside the oven. This should be periodically cleaned out. Grease from things
    such as bacon will eventually plug air passageways in the oven, but this too
    can be cleaned up.

    Other things can go wrong--the relay or triac on the controller board could
    fail, units with mechanical timers could have the motor or gear train jam or
    fail, and the magnetron can go weak or bad. These are all relatively
    unlikely to happen.

    Replacing the bulb is unlikely to be terribly difficult. Some ovens have an
    access door for the bulb. (I have a small GE microwave oven from 1986 that
    has a door on the side that can be unscrewed.) Others may make you take the
    top cover off to get at the bulb. (I have a 1985 model large Sears Kenmore
    (Sanyo) oven that is like this. It uses a strange type of bulb with a
    "permanently" fastened socket. I was able to get a new bulb, but haven't put
    it in yet.)

    The Kenmore microwave recently had its internal fuse die of old age.
    Replacing it with a new fuse fixed it, so maybe I'll replace the bulb while
    I'm in there.

  12. James Sweet

    James Sweet Guest

    If you're *very* careful and don't touch *anything* you don't know what
    it is, it's only a few scres to remove the cover and replace the bulb
  13. ian field

    ian field Guest

    (I have a 1985 model large Sears Kenmore

    Back in the days when I used to repair a lot of microwave ovens I
    encountered these "funny" lamps from time to time, they were somewhat more
    expensive than the normal ES types so holders were transplanted from a scrap
    oven so normal bulbs could be used.
  14. Guest

    Better IME is to put a standard SES socket in, as non-nuke bulbs are
    cheaper and work fine. The exception to this is with combis, where
    tablelamp bulbs arent really upto spec.

  15. Guest

    fuses of the sort of current ratings used in nukes dont usually die of
    old age. Its possible it died due to an interlock fault that burnt the
    interlock switch or shorting resistor out, leaving you with a now
    dangerous nuke. When the main fuses pops you need to check the
    microswitches and shorting resistor. Hopefully you already did.

  16. There is a fuse inside that can blow. Easy and cheap to replace unless
    you 'have' it done. Just like a TV, usually cheaper to trash it and buy
    a new one.
  17. James Sweet

    James Sweet Guest

    Microwaves are the one appliance I've had blow fuses occasionally for no
    apparent reason. The one my parents had in the early 80s blew the fuse
    when it was about 10 years old, replaced the fuse with a new one of the
    same rating and it ran fine for another decade before it was replaced
    for cosmetic reasons.
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