My father wants to disassemble a working microwave oven, should I let him?

Discussion in 'Off Topic [BG]' started by phxlbrmpf, Aug 7, 2005.

  1. phxlbrmpf


    Dec 27, 2002
    My parents decided to acquire a new microwave and throw their old one, which is still in working order, away because it doesn't meet their high standards any more, I guess.

    As my father thinks he's quite the electronics wizard he's planning to disassemble the 'wave because he knows a place that'll get rid of parts of electronic equipment for free.

    Now I was wondering: doesn't everyone tell you that microwave ovens should not be messed with, let alone opened, kind of like computer monitors that are known to explode if you tinker with them, even when they've been without power for months? I really wouldn't want him to be injured/killed.

    What do you think? When he me he was planning to disassemble the 'wave, I instantly asked him if he was insane and told him to keep his hands off the damn thing. Have I been fooled by an urban legend, or are those things really as dangerous as everyone says? Anyone here an expert on microwaves?
  2. DigMe


    Aug 10, 2002
    Waco, TX
    I call this place "the garbage can."

    brad cook
  3. LajoieT

    LajoieT I won't let your shadow be my shade...

    Oct 7, 2003
    Western Massachusetts
    If you are in any way handy and have enough of a head on your shoulders, there's no problem with dissasembling a Microwave. There *IS* a capacitor in there that requires a bit of respect when dealing with it, but other than that there is nothing inherently dangerous inside an *UNPLUGGED* Microwave. I can't think why an electronics place would take a dissasembled microwave but not an assembled one, but to each his own. We had one that bit the dust a while ago and I decided I was going to try to fix it rather than replace it. It was rather a no-brainer and after a bit of diagnostics, found that the microwave emitter had bit the dust, which unfortunatley costs more to replace than the entire unit, so it did not make fincancial sense to fix it. I would say that if you don't know what a capacitor is, what they do, and how to handle them safely, you don't have any business disassembling it (or considering yourself an "Electronics Wizard".)
  4. phxlbrmpf


    Dec 27, 2002
    Getting rid of stuff like that isn't that easy over here in good ol' Europe, unfortunately.
  5. Time Divider

    Time Divider Guest

    Apr 7, 2005
    If you live in his house and eat his food, you should "let him" do anything he wants (as long as it's legal, of course). Taking apart a microwave is fine as long as he's not planning on putting it back together and using it. That's best left to professionals.
  6. Josh Ryan

    Josh Ryan - that dog won't hunt, Monsignor. Staff Member Supporting Member

    Mar 24, 2001
    Our town dump has a spot you can drop off monitors etc. for $5.
  7. phxlbrmpf


    Dec 27, 2002
    Thanks a lot, guys, I've passed on your information. I think he knows how to handle capacitors, though.
  8. fourstringdrums

    fourstringdrums Decidedly Indecisive Supporting Member

    Oct 20, 2002
    San Antonio
    This sounds like a job for mythbusters.

    I don't think taking apart an unplugged microwave is dangerous, so if he wants to have it, good luck to him. But if I were him I'd sell it at a yard sale or flea market or something. Even if he could make $10 that's still more than $0 for the priveledge of giving it to an electronics place.
  9. Aaron Saunders

    Aaron Saunders

    Apr 27, 2002
    Monitors don't "explode." If you don't properly discharge the monitor, however, it WILL hit you with an electric shock so powerful that if it doesn't kill you, the resulting impact with the far wall sure as hell will.

  10. :D!

    Yeah. Well, if you want a cool light show before you trash it, put two balls of tin foil in it and turn off the lights... and stand WAAAAAAAAYYY back from it.
  11. Microwaves just produce very high freq radio waves in the microwave spectrum. Not dangerous to take apart. If you botch the reassembly, or try to run it you could blast yourself with microwaves. Designed to cook food, so you do the math as to whether its harmrul....

    But as long as he doesn't try to put it back together and use it, it wouldn't be dangerous. Like someone said, watch the capacitors they can hold current a long time.

  12. kserg


    Feb 20, 2004
    London, UK
    So far everyone is useless...

  13. Time Divider

    Time Divider Guest

    Apr 7, 2005
    That's why you're the king, Serge.
  14. I believe Microwave ovens have "radioactive" material in them at least older ones do; As do Australian smoke detectors. Dont know how much is in there, but there was a TV segment on in Australia years ago about how old microwaves leak radiation- not enough to be all that harmful, except it's above the recomended radiation intake which could be harmfull to children... Something along the lines of that.

    Failing that there would certianly be something in there like a in a TV, Computer Monitor, or even bass amp that could give you quiet a nasty shock- A microwave is practicly an energy amplifer, and I dare say there may be some danger to opening one up, and fooling around with it.
  15. A light bulb in a glass jar is a good one too I believe. Never tried it though...
  16. put a bar of soap in there. turn that baby on for a minute or so. you will not be disapointed.
  17. Actually, there was a Mythbusters episode where they did some super duty microwaving.

  18. LajoieT

    LajoieT I won't let your shadow be my shade...

    Oct 7, 2003
    Western Massachusetts
    100% false. There has never been anything radioactive necessary for the production of microwaves, and they have been around in scientific study and development since the 50's, but not commercially viable until the late 70's.
  19. One thing I'd be worried about is a stored charge (the capacitors I believe?) but if he knows how to handle em and doesn't attempt to put it back together in any way I can't see danger in an unplugged microwave.
  20. I have a JC Pennys microwave from 1976! That thing is cool. But not as cool as a chrome Amana Radarange...