Your microwave suddenly stops heating. You do some research and you realize that it is not the latch on the door, so it must be something else. Causes are a bit diversified. It could be a magnetron or perhaps a diode. All in all, while this repair makes a good DIY project, you need to ensure you learn how to discharge a microwave capacitor before moving on. Why do you have to do it and more importantly, how?
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How To Discharge A Microwave Capacitor?
Why learn how to discharge a microwave capacitor
As small and basic as it is, the microwave is actually a dangerous device. Microwaves can be dangerous, but at the same time, you should know that a microwave requires lots of electricity to run. Set it on a relatively weak circuit with other appliances and it may even flip the breakers.
What most people do not know is that your appliance also has a high voltage microwave capacitor. Its primary role is to ensure your food gets hot when you run the appliance. This part holds impressive amounts of electricity, even after you unplug the appliance.
Play with it and you risk getting electrocuted, even if the microwave is unplugged. In fact, this part is so powerful that you can get a proper shock even days after unplugging the microwave, so it obviously requires lots of attention. In fact, this is the main safety hazard when fixing something inside your microwave.
The good news is you can learn how to discharge a microwave capacitor and eliminate all the risks associated with it. Generally speaking, this operation is mostly recommended for professionals with experience. You should know what you are doing, but you should also know how to prevent electrocution.
Things you need to discharge a microwave capacitor
There are a few supplies and tools you will need for this quick fix. Keep in mind that these supplies are suitable to eliminate the risks only. You will still have to identify the problematic part and purchase it separately after.
All in all, you will need a screwdriver with rubber handles, needle nose pliers with rubber handles, rubber work gloves for safety and a torque screwdriver. Once you have all these items, it is time to get to work.
How to disassemble the microwave
The microwave capacitor is not visible or reachable without disassembling the microwave. Safety comes first, so the initial step involves getting your rubber gloves on. Unplug the microwave, move it to the working area, and put the gloves on to reduce the risk of electrocution.
Generally speaking, most microwaves come with the same general build. Of course, there are small particularities here and there, but the principles are the same. If you are not sure about anything in particular, check out the manual of instructions. Ideally, you should remove the whole case.
Take the spinning plate out, as well as the gliding roller. They have nothing to do with the repair, but they are quite loose. They will move around loosely and rattle, so you simply risk breaking them – more money, more headache.
Look behind the door now. Can you see a top grill? Some microwaves come with one. Others do not. These grills are usually fitted with screws. Get the screwdriver in and take them off. Slide the grill and lift it to take it out.
The bottom panel needs to be removed too. You have to close the door, then flip the microwave upside down. At this point, you will see a bunch of screws keeping the bottom panel fitted. Remove them and take them off.
Now, get all the screws fitted to the body out. Look around each side of the microwave and remove all the screws you can find. The case should feel relatively loose, so you should just pull it out. You have to do it slowly, as you risk catching other things, such as cords or wires. Your gloves should be on especially now, as you reach the electric interior.
Now, before you actually look for problematic parts, make sure you find the capacitor and terminals. Different microwaves come with different locations for the capacitor. The best way to do it involves checking the manual of instructions. The piece should have two terminals. You should see two wires – red and white – that connect to two screws, which are connected to a metallic container. It is usually long. Keep in mind that this part is dangerous, so do not just poke and touch stuff around. Use your eyes.
How to discharge a microwave capacitor?
Once you find it, learning how to discharge a microwave capacitor is relatively simple, despite the wide variety of products out there. First, decide on the tool you need to discharge the unit. If you can see and reach the terminal screws, a flat screwdriver along both screws will do the job. You will end up with a little spark, so do not worry about it. On the other hand, you may also have a capacitor with screws hidden behind plastic tubes. At this point, needle nose pliers will get the job done.
The point is to touch both terminals simultaneously with the same metallic tool, but also hold the rubber handle to ensure protection. You should wait around five seconds – maybe a few more to make sure. Ignore the spark or the fizzling sound, it is just electricity being discharged from your high voltage microwave capacitor.
Quick Step by step
Find the right tool(Nose Needle Plier and Screwdriver)
Put your rubber glove on
Disassemble the microwave using screwdriver
Look out for the terminal screw
HOLD the RUBBER HANDLE(Nose Needle Plier)
Reach out to the terminal screw with the Nose Needle Plier. (A slight spark will occur)
The Spark is a sign that the Microwave capacitor had successfully discharged
A short clip:
Once you learn how to discharge a microwave capacitor and you do it by the book, you can finally move on with your repair. You can look around and discover the problem. It is perfectly safe now. Once you locate the problematic part, you can order it separately from the manufacturer or just a general store.
Keep in mind that all these steps will prevent potentially nasty shocks you could get while working around the microwave, so it is critical to do everything by the book before attempting a repair.