Question about Microwave Ovens

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I inherited a 1986 J.C. Penney Microwave and can't figure out how to program most of the features. I need an operating manual or a gnome.

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The clock must be set before you can use the microwave. When you plug it in, it should read all zeros. Enter the time, and press "Clock Set." Time is in 12-hour format. There is no daylight saving time.

For basic microwave use:
1. Press "Power."
2. Press the keypad corresponding to the desired amount of power, e.g., "High," or "Defrost." (The numbers on the keypad have little words on them, like "Warm," "Med," and "High".)
3. Press "Time."
4. Enter the desired cooking time, e.g., "1-0-0" will be 1 minute; you could also do "6-0" for 60 seconds. You can do as little as 1 second, up to 99 hours 59 minutes. "1-0-0-0" would be 10 minutes. "2-0-1-2" would be 20 minutes 12 seconds.
5. Press "Start."

NEVER operate the microwave when it is empty. Put at least a glass of water in it. Never put a glass in it empty; make sure the glass has something in it, like water. Be careful when taking out a glass of water that's been heated; the water has been known, in rare instances, to "explode" and severely scald people.

It is okay to use the approved metal rack (it's coated with ceramic to prevent arcing) when using the microwave in microwave mode. Of course, the metal rack is also fine for use in the convection/combination mode.

"Defrost" cycles between microwave and nothing, microwave and nothing, microwave and nothing. You can hear the cycles. If defrost takes too long, try "Low." Try to avoid using "High," as it kills most nutrients in the food. Opt for "Medium" for slightly longer time; it'll be more evenly heated and healthier. Some things, like popcorn, require "high" power.

To stop the microwave in the middle of cooking, simply open the door. (There's no such thing as microwaves escaping the oven and bouncing around the kitchen and zapping you. I have a microwave tester, and the moment you open the door, all microwaves dissipate; the reading at the door is "Zero" once it's opened.) Or, press "Cancel." If you open the door, you may test the food, and if it needs further cooking, you may close the door and press "Start," and it will resume where it left off. If you're all done, just press "Cancel."

There is no way to disable the 5 beeps at the end of the cycle. If the baby is sleeping and you don't want to hear the beeps, simply open the door right before the beeps when the countdown is at zero. Pressing "Cancel" will give you one beep.

If you have the Combination feature, that cycles between microwave and convection heat, giving the best of both worlds (cooking inside with microwaves and outside with convection), for things such as a whole meats.

To use Combination:
1. Press "Combination."
2. Consult the chart on the microwave (below the keypad) and choose a number from 1 to 4, depending on what type of food you're preparing (i.e., lamb, pork, etc.).
3. Press "Time."
4. Enter the desired time, using the method described above.
5. Press "Start."

The Convection feature simply blows hot air across the food, at the temperature and duration that you set. It's a great way to toast slices of bread for the whole family at once, or bake a pizza.

To use the Convection feature:
1. Press "Convection."
2. Choose the temperature (the degrees are printed on the keypad, such as "350 degrees."
3. Press "Time."
4. Enter the length of cook time, using the method described above.
5. Press "Start."

Be sure to cover foods (with a paper towel or suitable plastic cover) that are prone to splattering. Don't let foods explode and get up into the motor. Clean the inside regularly with a soft sponge and mild detergent, NOT harsh or abrasive chemicals like Comet. Then rinse the soap off with a clean sponge.


Be sure to close the door firmly before cooking, but don't slam it. Slamming it will wear out the latching part, but being too gentle in closing the door may cause the safety switch to not engage, and the microwave won't work (it'll count down and the light will turn on but the motor won't run).


Note: the Convection feature uses more wattage than the microwave counterpart. The volts and amps are listed in the door jamb; multiply them together and you get total watts (although the actual amount will vary depending on your "power" settings).

Posted on Jul 08, 2012

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I actually own this microwave..and it still works fully after 30 years. Convection, Convention. I have the book / manual / cookbook as well.

Posted on Sep 07, 2016

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We have one still, did you figure everything out on it? We can program it or help you.

Posted on Jan 16, 2011

  • bmasters576 Jul 21, 2011

    Don't know if chuckalotsun ever got a reply for this, but we are in the same boat- have the same microwave but no instructions on how to program it- even if it was just the basics. Can't seem to be able to find an owner's manual online since it's such an old model.

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These machines are obsolete.Unfortunately,no online vendor or forum have any copy of the owner's manual. But be advised in case of any internal problem, it is advisable to replace the unit than to get it repaired.

Let me know,if needed further assistance.

Hope i helped you.

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

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