Replacing an over-the range microwave without neending new mount
March 4, 2013 10:57 AM   Subscribe

I have a Sharp R1500 microwave that was bought in 2001 that just blew up. I'd like to get a new one that can fit into the same slot. Deets below.

Can anybody tell me either:

a) What, if any, new Sharp model would be compatible? Ideally, I'd like to just unscrew the old one, slide it out and slide the new one in.


b) Where to find that kind of info? Google searches have not helped.

And, bonus question:

c) Does Sharp make a convection microwave that would be compatible with this slot.?

I have noticed that R15xx microwaved tend to be 1.5 cubic feet, which might mean they are compatible, but I don't know this for sure.

Thank you!
posted by odragul to Home & Garden (8 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I don't have an easy answer for you but I wanted to point out that your microwave may be hard-wired into a circuit and not just plugged into an outlet (I'm assuming here. You may have checked and know it has a plug.) If you aren't comfortable with doing some minor electrical work this wouldn't be a simple plug'n'play job, that goes extra if your hood vents to the outside.

This PDF has the R1500's dimensions listed as 29 15/16" x 16 1/4" x 15 9/16". In my experience installing my range hood (non-microwave,) they are mostly similar in dimensions because they're all designed to be installed over a standard 30" range. The trick here is that I understand microwave/range hood combos are usually installed with brackets whereas standalone range hoods mount directly to the cabinet because they're lighter. The brackets are probably not universal. The best answer would be to call the number listed on the bottom of the PDF (1-800-BE-SHARP) and ask them.

In general, appliances aren't really meant to be plug'n'play, they require minor installation. Honestly if you can hang a shelf you can mount the brackets for a new microwave/range hood. If your existing microwave plugs into an outlet than this doesn't really need to be a tough job at all.

On Preview: The cubic footage doesn't matter because that's internal size, you want the outer dimensions when comparing units.
posted by InsanePenguin at 11:30 AM on March 4, 2013

I have been informed, by a contractor, that over the range microwaves generally do not vary in size, unless you explicity bought one as such. Otherwise, can you just measure the dimensions?
posted by wocka wocka wocka at 11:39 AM on March 4, 2013

I think they're all pretty standard. Here's the operating manual for your microwave (pdf). It provides the mounting instructions on page 6. I say bring a tape measure to a department or home improvement store that has microwaves on display and compare the mounting dimensions. In addition to mounting and wiring, be sure the new microwave vents the same as your current one.
posted by Terminal Verbosity at 11:49 AM on March 4, 2013

I will just share our experience when replacing an over-the-range microwave. We looked up the model number, searched on the googles, and lo and behold discovered the manufacturer still sold that model number of microwave! Hallelujah, we thought, this will be easy.

The dimensions of the new microwave turned to be .25 inches taller than the old microwave. This was just big enough not to fit in the slot, and so mr. ambrosia had to play carpenter to get the thing to fit. (It was a plug-in model, no electrical work required.)

The lesson: be very, very precise in your external dimensions.
posted by ambrosia at 11:50 AM on March 4, 2013

They're all the same width (30" less a fraction for clearance) and all made to work with standard 12" deep upper cabinets. They're also all similar in height. If you're setting it up to vent out through the wall rather than recirculate back into the room, the ones I've futzed with have all had the exhaust in the same location (top center). But, the wall brackets aren't standardized, and neither are the hole placements for the screws that go through the floor of the cabinet above into the top of the microwave. You will probably have to unscrew the old bracket from the wall, position and screw the new bracket to the wall, and drill new holes through the floor of the cabinet above. If you aren't good with a level and tape measure, find someone who is.
posted by jon1270 at 1:27 PM on March 4, 2013

I'm not sure, but you can call Sharp USA at 800-237-4277 with your model number and ask.
posted by magstheaxe at 2:12 PM on March 4, 2013

The wall space occupied seems to be a standard. I recently replaced my broken 20 year old GE with a new LG and it fit in exactly the same space.
The brackets looked nothing like each other, but it was easy to remove the old bracket and install the new one.
Depth is not standard, so your new one may stick out more or less.

BTW, LG make good, well priced OTR microwaves. I'm especially pleased with the quiet but effective vent fan. Best Buy had mine for $100 off list price, which was $50 cheaper than any other price I could find (eg at Home Depot).
posted by w0mbat at 3:01 PM on March 4, 2013

Thanks all, I had called SharpUSA and the lady I talked to had "system issues" and without her computer she was kind of useless.

I want to thank Terminal for posting the brochure link. I had googled it, but that site was blocked at my job (category: weapons), and the other sites I did get all involved registration, so I sent my wife the link and she was able to email me back the pdf.

Also, Sharp has them on their website, but don't search by model number, use the category search on the right. I did the model search yesterday and got no results and figured they just didn't have it. Then after Penguin posted the brochure above, I tried the product category search and found tons of brochures, so that allowed me to compare different microwaves' mounting systems.

Anyway, for posterity: Sharp microwaves all seem to use the same mounting system: you attach brackets to the wall, attach a mounting plate to the brackets, and the microwave attaches to the mounting plate. The trick is that not all mounting plates are the same on all models. In fact, as far as I can tell, none of the microwaves that are available to us in town for what we want to spend use the same mount plate, so we just bought the microwave we liked the best and we will figure out the mounting process. We went with another Sharp and I think we can at least reuse the brackets, which is nice, because those are sunk into wall studs with anchors.

If you are looking to replace a microwave, use the Sharp USA site as I mentioned above and you can pull up the brochures, look at the mounting systems and compare the hardware used. Most of the parts are similar, but there are key differences, and you can figure out that way if a given microwave uses the same mounting plates as the one you are replacing.
posted by odragul at 8:49 AM on March 5, 2013

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