Possessed mircowave
March 30, 2014 7:22 AM   Subscribe

So my microwave makes a click noise (kinda like a Geiger counter) when plugged in but not running. It sounds evil.

So the only answer I have is to unplug the thing where the clicks slow down and finally stop. Here is a link to a YouTube of the same microwave with the same problem. (Not mine though). Emerson won't help and it's rare and hard to google. My biggest concern is fire risk and being awoken at night by the creep noise when it decides to be active. I'd rather not buy a new microwave. So suggestions on cause and or level of harmlessness would be appreciated. Oh and if something is trying to communicate with me I'll gladly perform an exorcism because this is seriously creepy.
posted by AlexiaSky to Home & Garden (8 answers total)
I’m not sure how it’s creepy, but my first guess would be a relay failing. Whatever it is it’s an electrical problem and I wouldn’t keep it because of fire risk, unless you’re going to take it apart and figure out how to fix it.
posted by bongo_x at 7:34 AM on March 30, 2014 [2 favorites]

I've worked on microwaves and radars (which microwaves evolved from).

Please do not under any circumstances attempt to work on this yourself, they have very high voltages with lots of power behind that voltage in them. They really are the deadliest thing in your house.

That being said, the problem sounds like a short in a high voltage capacitor or a problem with the power supply.

My recommendation is to buy a new one, cheap consumer electronics are not worth fixing.
posted by Confess, Fletch at 8:45 AM on March 30, 2014 [1 favorite]

Yeah don't try and fix it yourself. Capacitors can give you a pretty nasty shock even when the machine is unplugged because they store energy. A rotten practical joke we would play on each other in my Electrical Engineering course was to leave charged low voltage capacitors on each other's desks.
posted by srboisvert at 9:39 AM on March 30, 2014

Just to reiterate the above, the voltages inside a microwave oven at in the range of 2000 volts, and MAY PERSIST AFTER YOU UNPLUG. So don't go opening that up.

But you actually didn't say anything about fixing it yourself. You were just asking about fire risk, or other safety risk.

I invite the community to comment further on fire risk :)
posted by intermod at 10:26 AM on March 30, 2014

Now that I've listened to that clip a little more I think it's hard to tell if it's something wrong with the user interface or a high voltage short. Since it's hard to say what exactly the problem is I'd say assume that it's the worst case which would be a high voltage short. I can't think of any way that a high voltage short isn't some sort of fire hazard. Unplug it and get a new one.
posted by Confess, Fletch at 11:41 AM on March 30, 2014

it's hard to tell 100% for sure from the video, but the noise appears to be slightly louder towards the back, not towards the front where the beep speaker/piezo is.

So yea, power supply. Straight in the bin. Microwaves are very cheap at goodwill, i haven't actually bought a new one in my entire life. Any time i have one and it starts to screw up i just junk it. So many aspects of them are just kind of inherently dangerous if they start to fail in any way.

I've had one decide to start arc-welding itself internally and burn up half of the inside. That, or just the power supply shorting and flipping the breaker are probably the worst that could happen... but those are both also pretty bad. I mean even if it doesn't burn your house down, what if it blows the breaker while you're out of the house for a couple days and everything in your fridge spoils?

My microwave was $5. Is this hassle really worth $5-15 at a thrift store? You can sometimes get ones that cheap that are blatantly unused and maybe even still have the manual taped to the inside.
posted by emptythought at 2:40 PM on March 30, 2014

Yeah, my "unless you’re going to take it apart and fix it" comment was meant slightly sarcastically, but of course it doesn’t really look that way. I assumed you didn’t have the knowledge and wouldn’t do this, not a good assumption on my part.
posted by bongo_x at 4:27 PM on March 30, 2014

It sounds like an intermittent electrical arc (that is, sparks). Get rid of it before it catches fire.
posted by fantabulous timewaster at 9:46 AM on March 31, 2014

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