Introduction: How to Fix a Microwave Turntable Motor

Picture of How to Fix a Microwave Turntable Motor

What's the matter Wall-e, why so sad?
Is your microwave making funny noises? Is your gourmet dinner all chewy in spots 'cause it's not cooked evenly?

Well I can relate!

The turntable on my over-the-stove microwave had been broken for a while, just made a nasty grinding noise and didn't turn. There is a button on the control panel so I could turn off the grinding noise, but things really cook better when the turntable spins. I wanted to see if I could fix this microwave rather than replace it.
It turned out to be easy!

This Instructable will show you how a broken turntable motor can quickly, cheaply (and safely) be replaced in no time flat!
The unit doesn't even have to be taken off the wall for this repair.

Over-the-Range vs Tabletop - the images shown are for an over-the-stove microwave, but you'll find that counter-top units have an access panel on the bottom making the repair nearly as easy.

Safety first!
Warning, microwaves contain large transformers and capacitors that can deliver fatal shocks!
(and capacitors can shock you even when the unit is unplugged)

This Instructable does not require you to remove access panels to those areas of the microwave, but you still need to use caution. Unplug the microwave during this repair and be on the lookout for that capacitor if you do open the main panel.

What is needed for this Instructable?
-Phillips screwdriver
-multi-meter
-replacement motor (i snagged one from a junked microwave, sounds like they are very similar, but repairclinic.com would be a good place to order one as well)

Step 1: Degunk and Debug!

Picture of Degunk and Debug!

If your turntable isn't turning at all, the first thing to verify is that some Moo Goo Gai Pan or some other goo isn't gumming up the works. This wasn't the case for me, but from what I hear it can happen. Just pop the three-toothed gear off the motor as shown in the picture and make sure all is clear.

Next, unscrew the bottom panel. the over the stove models generally just need 3 screws removed and then they'll tilt down.
(if you're working on a table top microwave model, you may need to actually cut some tabs to open the access panel...but they are made to then be turned around and screwed back in)

You should now be able to see the turntable motor, it's got an easy to detach connection.
Detach the wires, plug the microwave back in, run it and test for AC 120V.
If there is no power coming to the turntable motor, that would be bad...could be a problem with the microwave control board...and that would be costly
If there is power to the motor, then we're almost finished!


Step 2: Replace, Repair, Reheat and Rejoice!

Picture of Replace, Repair, Reheat and Rejoice!

Ok, now we just have to plug in the replacement motor ...it's a good idea to test it now by running the microwave a bit.
It works, right? Yay!

Now just screw the motor in place (making sure the three-toothed gear thing fits)
(since mine wasn't an exact replacement I had to tweak the tabs that hold the motor in place with some pliers)
 
Screw in the access panel.

Now heat up that leftover Moo Goo Gai Pan and Enjoy!

Thanks for checking out this Instructable, I hope it was clear and helpful.

Comments

SalmeenA (author)2017-03-19

My turntable coupler keeps coming off causing the plate to come off or stop rotating. I can see where it should sit and I can adjust it, but anything a bit unbalanced or heavy, and the coupler comes off again. Is there a safe way to glue it on the metal bit it sits on?
Thanks

MarcP27 (author)2016-01-04

Not a handy person but this made it very easy for me. I thought it would be a project to get to the motor and replace it. Now for $15 my microwave is running new again. Thank you!

mazzmn (author)MarcP272016-01-05

Congrats and that is great to hear! thanks for the feedback!

Whats the frequencyK (author)2015-04-29

I want to second the advice to check RepairClinic if you're at all handy! I've returned or replaced three microwaves in less than a year since the turntable motor in mine died. They all seem to be junk now. The replacement motor wasn't available when I tried finding it for frugality sake. Fortunately, something encouraged me to try again, and this time it was available! Few times have I better spent $17, including shipping!

r3cgm (author)2014-05-17

Thanks to this instructable I had the confidence to attempt a motor replacement on my own. My multimeter shows 22V AC going to the drive but the drive does not work. So, I'm looking at a $26 repair instead of replacing the whole unit. Thanks, mazzmn!

mazzmn (author)r3cgm2014-05-17

Awesome, way to go! You saved some green by being green too! :-)

mazzmn (author)2013-05-29

True enough, thanks for the comment. It's a good thing to know and it's good that one can use a Phillips screwdriver on Pozidriv screws

Mindmapper1 (author)2013-05-29

Just to be slightly pedantic you will not find Phillips headed screws on this type of equipment as they tend to be used on audio equipment. Most equipment these days is held together with Pozidriv screws which have a different head shape. It has a small square in the centre of the cross where as Phillips just have a cross.

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