Taking Apart a Microwave

About: 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 of most sorts and I am learning to be a sound guy...

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

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

Enough Blabbering. Lets get started.


Step 3: 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

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

Step 5: 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

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.



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

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

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

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!

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 :)




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    72 Discussions

    zazenergydog digger

    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

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


    dog diggerzazenergy

    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    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

    JeannovyBdog digger

    Reply 3 years ago

    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!


    2 years ago

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

    dog diggerbigredxyz

    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    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)

    JeannovyBdog digger

    Reply 3 years ago

    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!

    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!

    4 replies

    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!

    JeannovyBdog digger

    Reply 3 years ago

    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!


    8 years ago on Step 9

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

    4 replies
    dog diggerfoobear

    Reply 8 years ago on Step 9

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

    Exiuminddog digger

    Reply 7 years ago on Step 9

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