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Troubleshooting and Repair of Microwave Ovens

Troubleshooting and Repair of Microwave Ovens

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Published by: top_gun_toronto on Oct 24, 2010
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Nearly all microwave ovens use basically the same design for the microwave generator. This has
resulted in a relatively simple system manufactured at low cost.

The typical circuit is shown below. This is the sort of diagram you are likely to find pasted inside the
metal cover. Only the power circuits are likely included (not the controller unless it is a simple motor
driven timer) but since most problems will be in the microwave generator, this schematic may be all
you need.

Page 22 of 86

Notes on the Troubleshooting and Repair of Microwave Ovens



|| +------------------------+

||( 3.3 VAC, 10 A, typical |

TP Relay or || +------------+------+FA F| Magnetron

_ Fuse I __ Triac || | +-|----|-+

o------- _---+---/ -- ----/ ----+ || +------||----+ | |_ _| |

| )||( HV Cap | | \/ |

AC I \ I=Interlock )||( __|__ | ___ |

Line | TP=Thermal Prot. )||( 2,000 VAC _\_/_ +----|:--+

o------------+-------------------+ ||( .25 A | HV |'--> Micro-

||( typical | Diode | waves

(Controller not shown) || +------------+---------+


- Chassis ground

Note the unusual circuit configuration - the magnetron is across the diode, not the capacitor as in a
'normal' power supply. What this means is that the peak voltage across the magnetron is the
transformer secondary + the voltage across the capacitor, so the peaks will approach the peak-peak
value of the transformer or nearly 5000 V in the example above. This is a half wave voltage doubler.
The output waveform looks like a sinusoid with a p-p voltage equal to the p-p voltage of the
transformer secondary with its positive peaks at chassis ground (no load). The peaks are negative
with respect to the chassis. The negative peaks will get squashed somewhat under load. Take
extreme care - up to 5000 V at AMPs available! WARNING: Never attempt to view this waveform
on an oscilloscope unless you have a commercial high voltage probe and know how to use it safely!

The easiest way to analyze the half wave doubler operation is with the magnetron (temporarily)
removed from the circuit. Then, it becomes a simple half wave rectifier/filter so far as the voltage
acrtoss the capacitor is concerned - which will be approximately V(peak) = V(RMS) * 1.414 where
V(RMS) is the output of the high voltage transformer. The voltage across the HV rectifier will then
be: V(peak) + V where V is the waveform out of the transformer. The magnetron load, being across
the HV diode, reduces the peak value of this somewhat - where most of its conduction takes place.

Note that there is a difference in the labels on the filament connections of the magnetron.
Functionally, it probably doesn't matter which way they are connected. However, the typical
schematic (as above) shows FA going to the node attached to the Anode of the HV diode, while F
goes to the lone Filament terminal on the HV transformer.

WARNING: What this implies is that if the magnetron is not present or is not drawing power for
some reason - like an open filament - up to V(peak) will still be present across the capacitor when
power is removed. At the end of normal operation, some of this will likely be discharged
immediately but will not likely go below about 2,000 V due to the load since the magnetron does not
conduct at low voltages.

Other types of power supplies have been used in a few models - including high frequency inverters -
but it is hard to beat the simplicity, low cost, and reliability of the half wave doubler configuration.
See the section: High frequency inverter type HV power supplies.

There is also usually a bleeder resistor as part of the capacitor, not shown. HOWEVER: DO NOT
THE OVEN HAS BEEN POWERED. The bleeder may be defective and open as this does not effect
operation of oven and/or the time constant may be long - minutes. Some ovens may not have a
bleeder at all.

In addition, there will likely be an over-temperature thermostat - thermal protector - somewhere in
the primary circuit, often bolted to the magnetron case. There may also be a thermal fuse or other

Page 23 of 86

Notes on the Troubleshooting and Repair of Microwave Ovens



protector physically elsewhere but in series with the primary to the high voltage transformer.

Other parts of the switched primary circuit include the oven interlock switches, cooling fan, turntable
motor (if any), oven light, etc.

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