Mistakenly put oven on with nothing in it. It ran for about twenty minutes before I realized it. Yet it seems to work fine now. Also, previous to this mistake, at another time, the oven had burning smell while in use. Is it still safe to use it? thank you
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A microwave oven works on the principal of a high power high frequency radio transmitter. The device that emits the microwave energy is a tube called a magnetron . When you run the microwave empty with nothing to absorb the microwave energy it is all reflected back to the magnetron causing it to overheat and destroy itself or cause failure in the High Voltage power supply due to excessive current draw.This is caused by standing waves.
If you ran this unit empty on full power as a timer, it burned out the magnetron. You have to have a load in a microwave or else there is nothing for the energy to work on so it backs up and destroys itself. It's like putting a potato in a tail pipe..... only worse....
When you say it's not working do you mean it is completely dead??? or it turns on but it don't heat?? When running an empty microwave it can damage the MAGNETRON because the inside coating of the microwave is design to bounce (reflect) the waves to whatever is sitting in the bottom/middle (food)... if nothing is there to ABSORB the waves, than it bounces back into the MAGNETRON and can damage it (if it runs long enough)... the magnetron is generally more expensive to replace than the oven it self... so to make sure if the magnetron is working, you could try a test with a HENE lamp (small orange neon bulb) in a glass of water, put the bulb in a full glass of water than put the glass in the oven, start the oven, if you see the bulb glowing orange (lights up) it means that the MAGNETRON is working, if not than you need a new oven...
Hopefully not!. Microwaves have a failsafe circuit built in that when they overheat they shut dowen for about 3/4 hr in severe cases and then reset themselves. By now it has probably come back on line.
If you ran it for that long with nothing inside, there is a good chance it self cooked.
It can probably be repaired. The economics of the repair is something you will have to judge for yourself.
To assist you, may i suggest you visit www.repairclinic.com and check on some major parts for your make and model. If the parts = more than 25% of replacement, I think id be moving on. Expect to pay a pro at least $100.00/hr labor. You should NOT do it unless you are skilled at handling delicate and lethal electronics. A microwave can kill. Another thing, after you fix it, you have a lot of $ invested and still have a old machine that ran for 13 + minutes empty.
It's posible that since it was running empty, the magnetron overheated
and a thermal cutout or thermostat located on the magnetron opened.
Magnetrons may be protected by a thermostat, which will reset when it cools, or a
thermal fuse, which is a one-time use device. It is also possible that
in some cases, a thermostat will fail when opened.
In the worst case the magnetron may be damaged due to running empty.