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'[TECH] Microwave affecting WiFi'
2009\01\24@004431 by Vitaliy

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We bought a Sharp R209KKW oven, and recently noticed that it is affecting
WiFi (802.11g). When watching a movie over WiFi, the stream would stop when
the microwave is turned on. It happens every time.

Is this something I should be concerned about, personal health-wise? The
microwave is about 10 feet from the router, and 20 feet from the media PC
(not directly in the line of sight).

AFAIR, this was never an issue with the old microwave.

Vitaliy


2009\01\24@010318 by Bob Blick

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Vitaliy wrote:
> We bought a Sharp R209KKW oven, and recently noticed that it is affecting
> WiFi (802.11g). When watching a movie over WiFi, the stream would stop when
> the microwave is turned on. It happens every time.
>
> Is this something I should be concerned about, personal health-wise? The
> microwave is about 10 feet from the router, and 20 feet from the media PC
> (not directly in the line of sight).

Some people would consider it a health hazard, but they might consider
the wifi to be a health hazard too.

Just to be safe you might get a microwave oven leak detector.

20 or 30 feet is pretty short, you could probably move things around a
little bit and get better connectivity. Just a few inches can make a big
difference.

There are plans on the web for slide-on-the-antenna parabolas made out
of cardboard and aluminum foil. I have made them and they do work,
giving you some directionality and a little gain, 2 or 3 db as I recall.

> AFAIR, this was never an issue with the old microwave.

It might have been defective, operating out of band, or just better
shielded.

In my office, 60 feet from the access point, in another building, wifi
gets intermittent when I run the microwave. But at home (different wifi
and microwave and shorter distances and wood frame construction) I don't
have any problem running them both.

Cheers,

Bob

2009\01\24@012530 by apptech

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> We bought a Sharp R209KKW oven, and recently noticed that it is affecting
> WiFi (802.11g). When watching a movie over WiFi, the stream would stop
> when
> the microwave is turned on. It happens every time.

> Is this something I should be concerned about, personal health-wise? The
> microwave is about 10 feet from the router, and 20 feet from the media PC
> (not directly in the line of sight).

> AFAIR, this was never an issue with the old microwave.

uWave ovens are a known show stopper for WiFi, both using the same ISM band.
As an oven uses a magnetron cavity tuned resonator the exact location in the
band probably varies between brands and models.
I imagine (and this is from general and not 'specific to this application'
RF experience) that a small change in frequency MIGHT make a large
difference.

It may be (and i'm making this up as I go) that you MAY be able to retune
the oven by playing with its magnetron ever so slightly).

Re health - you can get cheap diode based RF sniffers that will give at
least some reading on the worst locations on any oven and so can then be
used to effectively go over an oven of unknown provenance to check it's
safety. Worst outlets in a faulty oven are liable to be where there is a
long slit. A door edge slit is the most likely I imagine. I've sniffed a few
uWave ovens 9using the apposite technology) and found some variation and som
that seem quite enthusiastic at some points.

Also long ago I found that a randomly selected  (ie the one I was holding)
portable phone could be used as a reasonable sniffer with acoustic output
(use loudspecking mode and keep your head clear :-) ).

Odds are a modern new oven is reasonably safe - especially one sold into the
US market by an experienced constructor. But, sniffers are cheap and can be
shared around.

On reflection, your oven is almost certainly made in China. Common prudence
(based on far too much recent experience, alas) suggests that, name brand
notwithstanding,  a modicum of testing would be wise.



 Russell



2009\01\24@020018 by Nate Duehr

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They both basically operate at 2.4 GHz and yes... Get the oven checked  
for leakage.

Its all supposed to stay INside that little Farraday cage.

If it's interfering with the WiFi, some is getting out!

--
Nate Duehr
Sent from my iPhone

On Jan 23, 2009, at 22:43, "Vitaliy" <spam_OUTspamTakeThisOuTspammaksimov.org> wrote:

{Quote hidden}

> --

2009\01\24@022409 by apptech

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> Its all supposed to stay INside that little Farraday cage.

> If it's interfering with the WiFi, some is getting out!

Indeed and indeed.
BUT it's also fitted with a number of slot radiators (4 on the doors and
maybe some where the case lines fit) and while people have added some nasty
attenuators to spoil their act, a teeny bit does get out (say the sniffers
that I have used).

Also, the conducted signal on eg the mains cord will be "low".
But, if a signal 120 dB down from what's talking to your food can manage to
talk to your WiFi then you'll know about it.
It's a tribute to their engineering that they manage attenuations in excess
of that, while doing their best to use no more than bent steel. (Alas a
little Beryllium, Silicon, copper etc usually seems to be necessary as
well.)(Follow the 'EHT' lead to find the Beryllium).



   Russell



2009\01\24@142446 by Vitaliy

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"apptech" wrote:
> Re health - you can get cheap diode based RF sniffers that will give at
> least some reading on the worst locations on any oven and so can then be
> used to effectively go over an oven of unknown provenance to check it's
> safety.

Having zero experience with RF in this band, where could I buy a 2.4 GHz
sniffer?

Vitaliy

2009\01\24@144002 by Djula Djarmati

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>> Re health - you can get cheap diode based RF sniffers that will give at
>> least some reading on the worst locations on any oven and so can then be
>> used to effectively go over an oven of unknown provenance to check it's
>> safety.
>
> Having zero experience with RF in this band, where could I buy a 2.4 GHz
> sniffer?

In your neighbourhood and the price is also right:

http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=310103712089

Djula

2009\01\24@154425 by Vitaliy

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"Djula Djarmati" wrote:
>>> Re health - you can get cheap diode based RF sniffers that will give at
>>> least some reading on the worst locations on any oven and so can then be
>>> used to effectively go over an oven of unknown provenance to check it's
>>> safety.
>>
>> Having zero experience with RF in this band, where could I buy a 2.4 GHz
>> sniffer?
>
> In your neighbourhood and the price is also right:
>
> http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=310103712089

Does it work?


2009\01\24@183516 by Michael Algernon

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>
> On Jan 23, 2009, at 10:43 PM, Vitaliy wrote:
>
> We bought a Sharp R209KKW oven, and recently noticed that it is  
> affecting
> WiFi (802.11g). When watching a movie over WiFi, the stream would  
> stop when
> the microwave is turned on. It happens every time.
>
> Is this something I should be concerned about, personal health-wise?  
> The
> microwave is about 10 feet from the router, and 20 feet from the  
> media PC
> (not directly in the line of sight).
>
> AFAIR, this was never an issue with the old microwave.
>
> Vitaliy
>
Try building a Faraday cage around the Microwave ( openings no larger  
than 1.2 cm which is 1/10th of the wavelength ).  Maybe aluminum foil  
will work.  Put a ferrite choke on the power cord.  See if your WiFi  
becomes happy.
MA

WFT Electronics
Denver, CO   720 222 1309
" dent the UNIVERSE "

All ideas, text, drawings and audio , that are originated by WFT  
Electronics ( and it's principals ),  that are included with this  
signature text are to be deemed to be released to the public domain as  
of the date of this communication .

2009\01\24@220321 by Sean Breheny

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You could probably use your WiFi router to test whether the meter works.

I have had problems with microwaves interfering with wifi before. I
also have a general-coverage radio receiver which covers up to 3.3GHz
and it can easily hear the output of many microwave ovens. I think
that the amount of RF which is allowed to leak out of a microwave oven
is usually higher than the wifi signal strength.

I believe that the maximum allowed level is 5mW/cm^2. Imagine that you
have a sphere around the microwave with a radius of 1 meter and that
it has an average of 5mW/cm^2 on its surface. This would work out to
630W of radiation. Of course, any leakage is likely to be in a narrow
range of angles, so let's say that 1/1000th of the surface has
5mW/cm^2. This is still 600mW of radiation - much more than any
home-based wifi transmitter (which would be about 10mW).

Sean


On Sat, Jan 24, 2009 at 3:43 PM, Vitaliy <.....spamKILLspamspam@spam@maksimov.org> wrote:
{Quote hidden}

> -

2009\01\25@021447 by Vitaliy

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"Sean Breheny" wrote:
> You could probably use your WiFi router to test whether the meter works.

*After* I buy it? :-)

I know it's just a few bucks, but that is what actually made me suspicious.


> I have had problems with microwaves interfering with wifi before. I
> also have a general-coverage radio receiver which covers up to 3.3GHz
> and it can easily hear the output of many microwave ovens. I think
> that the amount of RF which is allowed to leak out of a microwave oven
> is usually higher than the wifi signal strength.

I'm guessing that's because the regulation was developed way before WiFi was
around?


> I believe that the maximum allowed level is 5mW/cm^2. Imagine that you
> have a sphere around the microwave with a radius of 1 meter and that
> it has an average of 5mW/cm^2 on its surface. This would work out to
> 630W of radiation.

Are you sure? 630W is a lot of radiation. I would be pretty uncomfortable 1
m from an incandescent bulb that put out so much power. And the microwave is
tuned to boil the water inside my cells...


> Of course, any leakage is likely to be in a narrow
> range of angles, so let's say that 1/1000th of the surface has
> 5mW/cm^2. This is still 600mW of radiation - much more than any
> home-based wifi transmitter (which would be about 10mW).

I'll see what my spouse thinks about wrapping the microwave in foil, so we
could watch our movies uninterrupted.


Vitaliy

2009\01\25@025929 by apptech

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----- Original Message -----
From: "Vitaliy" <spamspamKILLspammaksimov.org>
To: "Microcontroller discussion list - Public." <.....piclistKILLspamspam.....mit.edu>
Sent: Sunday, January 25, 2009 9:43 AM
Subject: Re: [TECH] Microwave affecting WiFi


{Quote hidden}

Almost certainly.
Essentially a diode and pickup loop/wire and cheap meter.

As I noted (or adumbrated), if you get one and probe everywhere around an
oven up close you will get some reading somewhere if the meter works. Then
you have some Idea of how sensitive it is.

I found that ovenes usually have som slot somewhere that provides some
signal.
Door slots a good place to start.


       Russell

2009\01\25@025929 by apptech

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> Try building a Faraday cage around the Microwave ( openings no larger  
> than 1.2 cm which is 1/10th of the wavelength ).  Maybe aluminum foil  
> will work.  


Tinfoil hat for a microwave oven ? :-)


 R

2009\01\25@031233 by Vitaliy

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"apptech" wrote:
>>> cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=310103712089
>>
>> Does it work?
>
> Almost certainly.
> Essentially a diode and pickup loop/wire and cheap meter.

I guess I was overthinking it.

When I was about 13, I built an HF generator. The instructions explained
that the way to test it is to make a wire loop about 20 cm in diameter
(IIRC), and connect the ends to a small lightbulb. The light bulb actually
burned quite brightly.

At one point I also built (or was going to build, don't remember at this
point) a simple "tuner" for FM "bugs"/RC stuff. Basically, a crystal
receiver with a small meter in place of the headphones.

Vitaliy

2009\01\25@110211 by Adam Field

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I have the WiSpy, a cheap 2.4 GHz RF spectrum analyser and it will
show any microwave (or network or wireless camera) that's in use near
by.

I found an image on their site that shows what it looks like:

http://www.metageek.net/files/images/chan31-forbob2a.png

You can usually move your network to a channel along side your microwave.

2009\01\25@125917 by Nate Duehr

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apptech wrote:
>> Try building a Faraday cage around the Microwave ( openings no larger  
>> than 1.2 cm which is 1/10th of the wavelength ).  Maybe aluminum foil  
>> will work.  
>>    
>
>
> Tinfoil hat for a microwave oven ? :-)

Students at MIT proved the tinfoil hat made RF exposure to the head
worse.  :-)

Nate

2009\01\25@174546 by Michael Algernon

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>
> On Jan 25, 2009, at 10:59 AM, Nate Duehr wrote:
>
> apptech wrote:
>>> Try building a Faraday cage around the Microwave ( openings no  
>>> larger
>>> than 1.2 cm which is 1/10th of the wavelength ).  Maybe aluminum  
>>> foil
>>> will work.
>>>
>>
>>
>> Tinfoil hat for a microwave oven ? :-)
>
> Students at MIT proved the tinfoil hat made RF exposure to the head
> worse.  :-)
>
> Nate

How does that happen ?
MA


 WFT Electronics
Denver, CO   720 222 1309
" dent the UNIVERSE "

All ideas, text, drawings and audio , that are originated by WFT  
Electronics ( and it's principals ),  that are included with this  
signature text are to be deemed to be released to the public domain as  
of the date of this communication .

2009\01\26@021816 by Virchanza

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Michael Algernon wrote:
>> Students at MIT proved the tinfoil hat made RF exposure to the head
>> worse.  :-)
>>
>> Nate
>>    
>
> How does that happen ?
> MA


The aliens focus their beams on metallic orb-shaped objects.


2009\01\26@074045 by olin piclist

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Michael Algernon wrote:
>> Students at MIT proved the tinfoil hat made RF exposure to the head
>> worse.  :-)
>>
>> Nate
>
> How does that happen ?

Just guessing, but at the right wavelength the aluminum foil would resonate
and be more of a antenna than a shield.  The same thing happens to metal
chassis and ground planes that someone naively things work like a shield and
block all RF going in and out.


********************************************************************
Embed Inc, Littleton Massachusetts, http://www.embedinc.com/products
(978) 742-9014.  Gold level PIC consultants since 2000.

2009\01\26@160616 by Nate Duehr

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Yeah, Olin's got it.

Of course, it was the very first thing that came up for "MIT tin foil hat"
on Google, not like it was a difficult article to find...

http://people.csail.mit.edu/rahimi/helmet/

Nate

{Original Message removed}

2009\01\26@231822 by Vasile Surducan

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Yes, both the newest and the oldest microwave ovens are using 2.45Ghz,
but there is a major difference in spectral content between an owen
with a magnetron supplied with a transformer followed by a doubler
(2KV DC to 4KV pulses with half of the mains frequency) and a
magnetron supplied by an inverter without any filtering capacitor on
the inverter supply (as all Panasonic/Sharp models are)
There is also a major difference between a real microwave oven
manufactured in 1990 (with a real steel thinkness of about 1-1.5mm)
and a toy one from 2009 (0.5mm stainless steel).

And yes, the QAM is far away to be the top of the communication
modulations as is claimed. Wimax have exactly the same problesm as
WIFI, multiplied by 256/16 times...

Vasile

On 1/23/09, Nate Duehr <EraseMEnatespam_OUTspamTakeThisOuTnatetech.com> wrote:
{Quote hidden}

2009\01\27@003122 by Vitaliy

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"apptech" wrote:
{Quote hidden}

OK, I just placed an order. Shipping was 0.50 more than the cost of the
item, and I paid 0.30 AZ tax. :)

Vitaliy

2009\01\28@223149 by Vitaliy

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"apptech" wrote:
>>> cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=310103712089
>>
>> Does it work?
>
> Almost certainly.
> Essentially a diode and pickup loop/wire and cheap meter.
>
> As I noted (or adumbrated), if you get one and probe everywhere around an
> oven up close you will get some reading somewhere if the meter works. Then
> you have some Idea of how sensitive it is.
>
> I found that ovenes usually have som slot somewhere that provides some
> signal.
> Door slots a good place to start.

Got the meter today. No signal anywhere around the oven.

No reaction to the WiFi's antenna, either.

Broken meter?

Vitaliy

2009\01\29@032323 by apptech

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>> I found that ovenes usually have som slot somewhere that provides some
>> signal.
>> Door slots a good place to start.

> Got the meter today. No signal anywhere around the oven.
>
> No reaction to the WiFi's antenna, either.
>
> Broken meter?

Maybe.
WiFi is unlikely to register I think.
Place it hard up against the most likely places.

If no response at all then the brave/foolish could try cracking the door as
far as the interlocks will allow and seeing what comes out. I'd try that,
but carefully. Easing the door open with the oven running will show you
where the cutouts cut in. If you do this on low setting and wait until the
long off part of the cycle (you can tell by the sound it makes) then you can
do this with safety.



R

2009\01\29@143106 by Vitaliy

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"apptech" wrote:
> If no response at all then the brave/foolish could try cracking the door
> as
> far as the interlocks will allow and seeing what comes out.

Russell, I've always suspected that you wanted me to die a horrible and
painful death...

2009\01\29@151958 by Nate Duehr

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Or at least go blind.  Be careful, that type of RF does very bad permanent
things to corneas.

Nate

{Original Message removed}

2009\01\30@111443 by Vitaliy

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"Nate Duehr" wrote:
> Or at least go blind.  Be careful, that type of RF does very bad permanent
> things to corneas.

I think I'm just going to assume the meter is broken. :)

2009\01\30@113159 by Vitaliy

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"apptech" wrote:
>>> I found that ovenes usually have som slot somewhere that provides some
>>> signal.
>>> Door slots a good place to start.
>
>> Got the meter today. No signal anywhere around the oven.
>>
>> No reaction to the WiFi's antenna, either.
>>
>> Broken meter?
>
> Maybe.
> WiFi is unlikely to register I think.
> Place it hard up against the most likely places.

OK, I tried it again and detected some signal at the hinges (needle
deflecting ~1/3 of the way). The thing that confused me, is that the signal
is not constant -- the needle deflects once maybe every 2 or 3 seconds.
However, the leak is directed straight at the media PC. Should I try using
metallic tape to seal the crack?


> If no response at all then the brave/foolish could try cracking the door
> as
> far as the interlocks will allow and seeing what comes out. I'd try that,
> but carefully. Easing the door open with the oven running will show you
> where the cutouts cut in. If you do this on low setting and wait until the
> long off part of the cycle (you can tell by the sound it makes) then you
> can
> do this with safety.

Sorry, call me a coward if you want, but this just reminds me of the sort of
thing that happen prior to the criticality accidents.

Vitaliy

2009\01\30@135842 by Sean Breheny

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What power level did you have the microwave set at? Most microwaves
pulse the power on and off every few seconds if they are at less than
100% power.

Sean

On Fri, Jan 30, 2009 at 11:30 AM, Vitaliy <@spam@spamKILLspamspammaksimov.org> wrote:
> OK, I tried it again and detected some signal at the hinges (needle
> deflecting ~1/3 of the way). The thing that confused me, is that the signal
> is not constant -- the needle deflects once maybe every 2 or 3 seconds.
> However, the leak is directed straight at the media PC. Should I try using
> metallic tape to seal the crack?
>
>

2009\01\30@181400 by Nate Duehr

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Yeah, since there's really no cheap/good way to vary the power output, they
just turn it on and off.

The mode shouldn't be called "power", it should be called
"transmitter-duty-cycle".   But the average Joe wouldn't know what that
meant...

Nate

{Original Message removed}

2009\01\30@190226 by apptech

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> OK, I tried it again and detected some signal at the hinges (needle
> deflecting ~1/3 of the way).

I'd say "1/3 deflection" is moe than "some" !!! :-).
And you can probably get 100% deflection with intelligent positioning.
You seem to have a nice slot radiator as suggested - just a shorter one than
could have been.

Sounds like it's working about right AND has found what you are looking for.

> The thing that confused me, is that the signal
> is not constant -- the needle deflects once maybe every 2 or 3 seconds.

As adumbrated / noted by me and others, ovens set their power by PWMing at
0/100% power with a cycle time of typically 10 to 20 seonds. That's SLOW PWM
:-).
So you can use it to advantage to not be there when the powe ris.

>> If you do this on low setting and wait until the
>> long off part of the cycle (you can tell by the sound it makes) then you
>> can
>> do this with safety.

> However, the leak is directed straight at the media PC. Should I try using
> metallic tape to seal the crack?

Or turn it 90 degrees temporarily to see what happens. Or place a metal
sheet in front of the slot temporarily. Noting that you now have a mirror
and may have a "lens" :-).
Standing at a few feet remove helps heaps.

{Quote hidden}

Welcome to the club. We cowards tend to have longer lives. I'm seen as a
risk taker but I always try and take my risks with as much understanding as
possible - I don't see it as risky - rather intelligent dancing. eg if your
oven when set to 10% power level hums for 2 seconds and then makes far less
noise for 18 seconds then repeats ad infinitum, you can guess that it is
powering on during those two seconds. Placing the meter at the door hinge
and observing from a distance will help confirm this. If so you can then do
apparently risky things in the middle of that 18 second block. The designers
MAY catch you out, and cracking the door in the midst of a cycle MAY cause
the oven to emit briefly as the in\terlocks shut it down (there's no
accounting for software) but odds are the risk is very low. YMMV. Let it do
so intelligently.

An alternative to all this is to complain to the supplier. And/or check
another nominally identical oven and see if it is as badly affected.

Or add shielding, as you say.

Aren't you glad you bought the meter? :-)



            Russell

2009\01\31@061310 by Tony Smith

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> > Sorry, call me a coward if you want, but this just reminds me of the
sort
> > of
> > thing that happen prior to the criticality accidents.
>
> Welcome to the club. We cowards tend to have longer lives. I'm seen as a
> risk taker but I always try and take my risks with as much understanding
as
> possible - I don't see it as risky - rather intelligent dancing. eg if
your
> oven when set to 10% power level hums for 2 seconds and then makes far
less
> noise for 18 seconds then repeats ad infinitum, you can guess that it is
> powering on during those two seconds. Placing the meter at the door hinge
> and observing from a distance will help confirm this. If so you can then
do
> apparently risky things in the middle of that 18 second block. The
designers
> MAY catch you out, and cracking the door in the midst of a cycle MAY cause
> the oven to emit briefly as the in\terlocks shut it down (there's no
> accounting for software) but odds are the risk is very low. YMMV. Let it
do
> so intelligently.


There's no software involved, the door switches are wired in series with the
relays that control the magnetron.  You may be able to crack the door open a
few mm, micro-switches have that name for a reason.

What the designers may have done is wire the door switches to ground - if
you open the door with the relays still powered up, it'll short out and blow
the fuse.  It'll be perfectly safe then.  (Not a common trick, btw).

Personally, I'd not worry about it, adjust the hinges (tap with hammer) or
get a new one.  New can also be a dead one.  Almost all 'dead' microwave
oven have blown fuses, often caused by the MOV wearing out (& shorting when
dying).  New fuse (& MOV), done.  Sometimes it's the just the light, I guess
people fear they might loose their dinner in there somewhere if it's dark
inside.

Hard to kill microwaves, bar the electronics they're pretty simple.   I've
had one with no electronics at all, with mechanical timer & power knobs.  It
would still work if I hadn't removed it's 9kg (!) transformer to make a spot
welder.

Tony

2009\01\31@063043 by apptech

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>> apparently risky things in the middle of that 18 second block. The
> designers
>> MAY catch you out, and cracking the door in the midst of a cycle MAY
>> cause
>> the oven to emit briefly as the in\terlocks shut it down (there's no
>> accounting for software) but odds are the risk is very low. YMMV. Let it
> do
>> so intelligently.

> There's no software involved, the door switches are wired in series with
> the
> relays that control the magnetron.  You may be able to crack the door open
> a
> few mm, micro-switches have that name for a reason.

I was more making the point that when being an intelligent risk taker you
have to try to make sure you are smart enough. eg entirely hypothetically,
the interlocks may bounce as you wriggle the door near the operating point
and the software in the contrller board may activate the realy and the
operate time may be short and thr release time longer and ... brief burst.
Unlikey, and probably harmless enough, but assuming Murphy has a long reach
helps we intelligent risk takers to live long if not to proper.

> Almost all 'dead' microwave
> oven have blown fuses,

Maybe we have greasier food here :-).
About 50% of the dead microwaves ovens I've seen have started an arc on the
magnetron window due to food hardening there then heating enough to
carbonise the 'window' and an arc starts and great is the fireworks thereof.
Some while ago I bought a sheet of suitable window material and for such as
above I cut a new piece to shape and you have a 5 minute repair. Actually 30
seconds if you just take the old material ouit, but then the fat spatter
gets inside the uwave horn and ... :-).

Then there's the blown fuses.

Our own uWave oven is probably > 20 years old !!!.



         Russell


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