Introduction: Taking Apart a Microwave

Taking apart a microwave. Fairly simple. Fairly dangerous if you just plugged it in to "See if it works" and then start taking it apart. 
it's also worth the very little effort. I've taken one apart to show you what you get.

PS: I'm only thirteen so don't be too critical

Step 1: Things You Should Know

Picture of Things You Should Know

there are a few things you should know before you start. 
1. Don't power up the magnetron. You will probably DIE
2. Don't use the transformer unless you know what you are doing
3. Be Safe
4.Take out any loose objects (the glass plate)
5. Have fun

The tools you will need are simple and everyone should have them. 
A screwdriver and a pair of wire cutters.
It helps to have a drill with a screwdriver bit.

Step 2: OK

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Enough Blabbering. Lets get started.


Step 3: Remove the Cover

Picture of Remove the Cover

Remove the cover. This might be a little bit difficult but use common sense. Remove all  the screws golding it in place and lift up the cover like shown in the picture. it should snap right off.

Step 4: Lets Have a Look Inside

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title says it all.Remember to unplug any connectors instead of snipping wires.

Step 5: The Fan

Picture of The Fan

Take out the fan. Most parts in the microwave operate  on 120v AC (unless you live in a place that has 240v  AC like me)
This is good as a ventilation fan for the workshop of a cooling fan or something.  

Step 6: The Cap and Diodes

Picture of The Cap and Diodes

take out the high voltage capacitor and diodes. The Capacitor is worth a few dollars and the diodes are useful for other high voltage projects. 
the reason there are the diodes and capacitor in the microwave is because the magnetron  requires DC current to operate. These two components (cap. and diode) are used to convert the AC current from the transformer to DC.



Picture of The MAGNETRON

This component is the heart of the microwave and it's name sounds like something from transformers. 
The MAGNETRON. This thing heats up you food or drink or it cooks random stuff if you want to host you very own
"Is It A Good Idea To Microwave This?"

What this does is it converts the 2500 or so volts and transforms it into microwave radiation. Hence the name "Microwave"

Do not attempt to make a star-trek inspired microwave ray gun, you will most likely DIE

Step 8: The Transformer

Picture of The Transformer

This is the big block. It converts 240v AC into about 2000-2500v AC. It provides up to 2.5A and at 2500v, it will kill you.
I said up to 2.5A.

To find out your transformer's details, divide watts (of the microwave. goole your model in to find it if it doesn't state it on the microwave's body) by output voltage to find out the amps, volts times input amps equals watts (consumption) and amps (output) into watts (output) equals volts (output)

Step 9: The Timer

Picture of The Timer

Tis could be useful for timing something. It justs closes a circuit when it's counting down and it beeps when it's done.

(note: It's powered by mains) 

Step 10: Almost Done

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There are a few things left over.  The ones that are most useful to me are the switches found next to the timer. There is also a small motor that spins very slowly (6-7rpm) and it also operates on mains. There is also a nice little lamp. Probably Incandescent. 

Step 11: Done!

Picture of Done!

All done. 

Summary of parts:
High voltage capacitor
2 Diodes
A thermal fuse
Slow-RPM motor
3 Switches
Timer Circuitry
I think thats it.

Thanks for viewing my instructable and don't forget to leave a comment :)



zazenergy (author)2011-03-09

Cool! What are you planning to do with all those parts now?

dog digger (author)zazenergy2011-03-09


zazenergy (author)dog digger2011-03-09

LOL! I assumed as much. Let me rephrase my question: What are you planning to make with all those parts now?


dog digger (author)zazenergy2011-04-26

I'm going to make a few things with the parts but now I have them spare for when I do make something. You have probably seen many instructables that involve these parts but I have a few Ideas: For the fan, a generator or a fume extractor or something
For the magnetron: oversize fridge magnet
Lamp: a simple nightlight
Motor: revolving plate food server for parties or something
Transformer: cut off the secondary coil and replace with wire to make a high power 12v AC supply
Switches: robot sensors
Salvage the timer circuit components like the relays etc
Capacitor: For coils of some sort. Don't really have a use... yet
I don't really know.
I will probably make something awesome with this stuff

SethJ13 (author)dog digger2016-12-10

awesome bro!

JeannovyB (author)dog digger2015-12-21

I recommend that you NOT use the magnetron or try to open it because you can get cancer of the insulators and if you hook it up to the transformer you might get burnt by the microwaves!

SethJ13 (author)2016-12-10

to say that your magnetron attena burned, is that potentially dangerous?

bigredxyz (author)2011-03-09

did you have to discharge the cap first? if so, how did you do it?

dog digger (author)bigredxyz2011-03-10

My Microwave was left dormant for over 6 months so I didn't have to worry about the cap. But to discharge the cap, you have to short the connections on it with something conductive. Make sure that there is plenty of insulation between you and the conductive part (that is being used to short out the terminals with)

JeannovyB (author)dog digger2015-12-21

also if you DON'T discharge it for a long time while it is off in that time, it might have an broken or no resistor in it. because the capacitor can be fatal!

EngineeringShock (author)2011-04-26

That was a good instructable! I used to take apart every single microwave, TV, stereo, VCR, DVD player I could get my hands on! Fun stuff!
It's great what you can do with the stuff you salvage!

Thanks. Because I don't have tons of money to but the components with, I salvage them from broken equipment. Once I found an awesome audio power transformer from and old hifi amp left on the side of the road. You can also salvage parts that are hard to find and are only found specific things. Rear projection TVs are AWESOME. The panel is like a magnifying glass, you get some pretty decent speakers, the circuit boards have plenty of components and there are lots of flybacks!

JeannovyB (author)dog digger2015-12-21

it is better to at an warning for the high voltage capacitor that you must discharge it first and leave the magnetron in the microwave because it is a extreme dangerous part because it has berrylium in it!

Oh I totally agree. There is nothing more satisfying than salvaging something, and making it into something else. For free, no less.

I used to work at a Computer monitor company, and I always have a ton of flybacks to play with. Gave my self one hell of a shock once too =(

Anyhow, keep up the good work!

Nothing better than working for a technology company. You get tons of awesome stuff! I'm to young to work now but nothing will hold me back!

foobear (author)2011-03-09

It looks like the timer circuit has its own transformer, I wonder why?

dog digger (author)foobear2011-03-09

Probably to step-down the voltage for the LCD or the IC's or something.

theVader75 (author)dog digger2011-03-21

yes because all the parts at at the timer circuit are from 1-6 volts max

dog digger (author)theVader752011-04-26

Actually I think it's 18 volts because thats what the relays require to operate

Exiumind (author)dog digger2011-07-20

multiple secondary coils?
or from those 18v relays it uses transiistor to do the triggering (maybe a voltage divider for the ic circuitry)

JeannovyB (author)Exiumind2015-12-21

you call it not an voltage divider but an voltage regulator like the LM317

JeannovyB (author)dog digger2015-12-21

yes but the chips and the other parts use an voltage regulator or an zener diode to regulate the voltage. the chip might be for 3.3 Volt or 5 Volt.

hbell (author)2011-08-24

I like the fan, I dont know much about it, but it works like a transformer I think, but draws around 70 watts which is a HUGE amount of power for a little airflow, but I use it all the time, comes in handy when cooling down cakes from the oven.

dog digger (author)hbell2011-08-26

I think it draws 70W because it uses a transformer and it's far away from the actual motor so it makes sense

JeannovyB (author)dog digger2015-12-21

NO it doesn't use any transformer! the motor is an shaded pole motor...

hbell (author)dog digger2011-08-27

Yep it works similarly to a transformer, but the actual assembly of the motor is inside the iron part, so it must use AC directly.

Jimmy Proton (author)2011-03-21

I thought microwaves only had one diode...

Exiumind (author)Jimmy Proton2011-07-20

there is a "giant" diode on the capacitor connected to ground, at least mine has it, i think it is for dischrging the capacitor when the microwave is off or something..

dog digger (author)Exiumind2011-07-20

It's for Rectifying the AC voltage to DC for the magnetron to work.

JeannovyB (author)dog digger2015-12-21

that is NOT true. the magnetron also work without diode because the case of the MOT (microwave transformer) will be earth and then the magnetron works with the capacitor and the MOT also. the diode is NOT needed

Exiumind (author)dog digger2011-07-20

hm yeah, since the magnetron uses negative voltage.. =)

Jimmy Proton (author)Exiumind2011-07-20

I believe the diode is to turn the AC current into half wave DC-correct me if I'm wrong.

dog digger (author)Jimmy Proton2011-07-20

The capacitor is for smoothing the voltage after it's rectified

dog digger (author)Jimmy Proton2011-04-18

Well mine had two. For rectifying one "channel" you need two diodes. For the Live and Neutral you need four diodes. You probably know more about this than me.

JeannovyB (author)dog digger2015-12-21

no! you only need one diode, and 2 diodes are an halve wave rectifier and 4 diodes are an full bridge rectifier. Know what you say!

Rahere (author)dog digger2011-12-18

Research Wheatstone Bridge

Basically, your mains freed is probably tapping one phase of a three-phase, sometimes four-phase, street feed against neutral (some soul at the far end of the street usually has all phases, and in Belgium they tap across phases, two lives, no neutral). That means live feeds fluctuate sinusoidally, usually both sides of zero. But you need a second rectification bridge for the negative side from the positive, and to bridge the two into a single output you need further capacitors ti buffer against the unwanted phase being tapped on the other circuit leaking into the output. The result is a loop of four diodes, negative to positive all the way around, input across connections 0 and 2, output across 1 and 3.
That simply flips the sine wave into a bumpy DC, as the trough becomes a peak alongside the existing peak. To smooth that out, a capacitor is used to flatten the peaks and troughs

the magnetron itself is a diode(its a vacuum tube too) and yeah it rectifys the ac

those two diodes and the capacitor are arranged in a voltage doubler matter of fact

JeannovyB (author)The 4th Doctor2015-12-21

no, it is only an diode if you remove the magnets from the magnetron and it the capacitor is needed to double the voltage from the MOT. the diode isn't really needed.

I_StarkGuy (author)2014-02-26

A safe way to discharge the capacitor is to wear thick leather gloves and touch both terminal with a couple of wires connected to an incandescent bulb. Then you solder a BIG resistor across the terminals to keep the capacitor from recharging with static electricity.

JeannovyB (author)I_StarkGuy2015-12-21

that is not a good way! wear rubber gloves and use pliers to short the terminals of the capacitor!

Cube_ (author)2014-05-08

Actually the diodes and capacitor are a voltage doubling rectifier circuit.

The magnatron operates not at 2.5Kv but at 5Kv. (1.25A 5Kv is an instant kill zap on that matter)

As for the rectifier circuit used it's probably a Greinacher rectifier (it's cheap and has good ripple characteristics, parts used: one capacitor and two diodes incidentally)

a quick google search provided this schematic
Mind you I feel somewhat obliged to mention that you REALLY shouldn't be playing with electric power in excess of 5Kv at any age.

JeannovyB (author)Cube_2015-12-21

I am even 12 years old and I know a LOT of electricity and I am playing with 2100 Volt and I use an long isolated pipe and I understand electricity and I use the right safety!

tinstructable (author)2011-12-16

Microwaves are a lot more dangerous than you think to take apart. The capacitor can store a charge for a long time, so never assume it's completely discharged until you discharge it yourself. Furthermore, the capacitors charged carry around 200 joules of energy [1/2 x (Voltage squared) x capacitance in farads], it only takes 100 to restart your heart. Be careful with them. Without the transformer they are pretty much useless as they won't carry near enough energy to do anything, and they're AC capacitors so you can't use them for any coils? like you said.

Fans like in microwave ovens work through inductance of magnetic fields. A magnetic field surrounds the motor spindle which carries small magnets of alternating poles, causing the motor to spin (Wikipedia inductance motor, and AC motor for more on how it works). I have no idea what you're talking about with it drawing 70W because it uses a transformer and its far away from the actual motor. It does not use a transformer, it uses standard AC that the microwave plugs into and the motor is attached directly to the fan blades. The fan is inefficient and draws so much power because manufacturers of microwaves try to make the microwave as cheap as possible, which includes inefficient fans, bulky transformers, and cheap parts. Newer microwaves use more efficient transformers that require less power, and use more quality parts.

Microwave ovens use one 2000v diode to supply half wave dc to the magnetron (again, Wikipedia rectification)

Actually, the capacitor is mainly to double the voltage output of the transformer to 4000 volts dc, (half wave) rather than smoothing the voltage. The magnetron really doesn't care how consistent the voltage is.

The beryllium oxide is a carcinogen as in cancer causing. According to the state of California, wood dust is a carcinogen, as is everything else in that state. Anyway, it is not particularly harmful to the environment, so it's not a hazardous waste material.

Again, be careful, don't experiment with high voltages until you're older, so good job sticking with a 12v ac transformer rather than the 2kv MOT. Have fun!

JeannovyB (author)tinstructable2015-12-21

You can use them for DC, but if the power is removed it will be DC because it is unpossible that capacitors can store AC energy when you remove the power. Thunderstorm is also DC. but the diode is maximum for 15kV and the transformer generates 2100 Volt.

dog digger (author)tinstructable2011-12-16

That's why I discharged the cap with an insulated screwdriver but I never got an arc because the microwave hadn't been used for 5+ years. Also, I said transformer (with the fan) and I should of said electromagnet. One question; would moving the electromagnet closer to the man motor assembly make it more efficient? Also, how does the cap double the voltage? I had 2 diodes in my microwave but that could differ from microwave to microwave. I think that the beryllium oxide (like asbestos) must be agitated to be effective as a carcinogen. Wood dust as a carcinogen? if it was treated wood, that would make sense.
Anyway thanks for the advice.

applemac1217 (author)dog digger2015-05-22

You seem SO smart. But if you were my grandson, I wouldn't be able to sleep at night. Please be careful...someone loves you! ;-)

Jem D (author)2015-10-12

Hi searching for whats inside a microwave thinking that i can remedy it.. Our 110v microwave was accidentally plugged to a 220v socket pop! it goes.! I wAs told that there just might be a fuse to be replaced.. Is there? You didnt mention any fuse in the parts. Shall i procede to repair or just throw it? Thanks much!

atlantis43 (author)2015-06-01

Great thread! Just wondering about step 3: "Remove the Cover.

I'm trying to remove cover for repair purposes. All screws are out, but metal cover appears fastened to front/top of unit in such a way that it doesn't seem to release.

Is there some trick to releasing? ids there an adhesive present?

applemac1217 (author)2015-05-22

WHY would anyone take one of these apart? Please stop.

302422 (author)2015-03-30

I'm takin apart a old vcr and i ended up snapping the cirquit board

About This Instructable




Bio: I like electricity I like electronics I like.... SO MANY THINGS music, subwoofers, computers, woodwork and metalwork, Just look at my interests! I love music ... More »
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