Question about Microwave Ovens

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After having it on to say pop corn, after 4 minutes it goes dead. Then 2 hours later there are 2 letters that appear. Then it will work again. I have had it for 2 weeks and this has happened several times.

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  • Microwave Ovens Master
  • 8,871 Answers

I'll bet the letters are "PF", as in power failure, right?

If it is going dead, sounds like the magnetron is overheating and opening the thermostat.

This can be caused when the internal cooling fan is not running or by a magnetron that is failing.

When I say internal cooling fan, I do not mean the hood vent exhaust fan which you can turn on and off manually.

I'm instead talking about the internal fan which comes on automatically whenever you microwave.

It is vital that the cooling fan runs, or the magnetron will be destroyed.

If you or someone you know decide to look into it, we have critical safety information and disassembly information at our site, and our link is at our listing here on FixYa.

You can usually find helpful exploded view diagrams and order parts by entering your full model number here.

There should also be a "mini-manual" hidden inside the unit behind the control panel or hidden on the left side behind the grille, which is very helpful when troubleshooting & testing.

We're happy to help you with free advice and we'd appreciate your thoughtful rating of our answer.

Posted on Dec 02, 2008

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The oven has no power. The outlet is hot. The unit will power up intermittently, but as soon as you try to turn it on it loses all power.


This is a safety feature of the microwave. Unplug it and leave the door open for about 10 minutes and it should work again with no problems.
P.S. My kids overheat mine all the time making pop corn.

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It's 850 Watts, 0.9 cu ft.

That's enough for popcorn, but a magnetron does lose power once it starts to age.

The figure I've heard is an average life expectancy of 2000 hours for a magnetron.

Two "Band-Aid" suggestions for better exposure and more even heating:

1. Place the popcorn bag on top of an upside-down paper plate.

2. Place the bag off-center instead of dead center. Placing food in the center of the turntable is not as efficient as placing it off-center.

We're happy to help you with free advice and we'd appreciate your thoughtful rating of our answer.

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If the cooling fan is not running or the air vents are blocked, that wil allow the magnetron to overheat.

If air flow is not a problem, then you may have a defective magnetron.

Assuming it's still under warranty, it would be best to let a Magic Chef-authorized servicer handle it.

For more help from Magic Chef / Ewave : http://www.mcappliance.com/ ; Contact page http://www.mcappliance.com/contactus/contactus.asp ; Order

parts https://www.mcappliance.com/orderpart

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