How long before I can take my microwave apart or let the kids have at it?

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I understand at one time you couldn't take apart a TV set because supposedly it held a charge and could kill you. It may be true, or not, I don't know.
Now I have a microwave that went FUBAR. First the LCD didn't work correctly. You couldn't read anything. Then it would start and stop for no reason. Finally, the thing blew out "electrical fire" inside the microwave. Now it will no longer heat food.
So, since it is bad, I wanted to let my kids disassemble it for education purposes. Do I need to wait for the unit to discharge before allowing them to mess with it? It has be unplugged for around 2 weeks.
Thanks B M
_________________________________________________________________________ The difference between a truth and a lie is: 1) Do you believe it? 2) Did you get caught? 3) Can you convince others of your conviction.                 -MM                     How I lost the day.
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Take the door off. Cut the cord and throw it away. Microwaves excite molecules to boil water. Your kids are made of both.
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Brett Miler wrote:

Normally I would say it should be drained after a couple of hours, BUT your is not working as expected. Therefore all bets are off. Those capacitors could hold a charge for a very long time. While I suspect it is now safe, I would not want to turn a kid loose on it without KNOWING it was safe. It would appear you feel the same way. My recommendation is that unless you can locate and drain each power capacitor (shop manual would be nice to have) I would give up on the plan.
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There's only one big, high voltage capacitor in there, but..... There's lots of really sharp edges on these cheaply made cabinets. Into the metal bin with it.
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wrote:

Ohhhh, lots of sharp metal.... scarey !!!! Lets protect our kids from everything so they end up with no brains at all, and go out on the streets with drugs and guns because their parents would not let them live normal lives, and be cuious and creative, or should I say "be kids".
That reminds me of a guy who would not let his kids ride the shetland pony he bought as their pet, because they might get hurt. So one of the kids got hurt trying to ride one of their cows. When the father was scolding the kid after the accident, the kid said "you said I could not ride pony, so I rode the cow".
To the OP. if you are concerned, take off the MW cover and short a screwdriver across the large capacitor. Cut off the cord, replace the cover and give it to the kids.
I suspect the sparks you saw WAS that capacitor. It fried.... Which leads to one other thing. If gobs of nasty stuff came out of that capacitor, them you might NOT want to let the kids touch it. That could be toxic and far more dangerous than sharp metal. Why not let the kids watch you open the thing, short the cap, etc. Teach them something in he process....
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TV set HT voltages are quite high (up to 25Kv or more), and it can often be "stored" (capacitively) in the picture tube for quite a while - months or longer. It's quite painful to be hit by it, the risk from it is more a matter of what you do when you get hit. I remember (but only vaguely) jumping 9 feet straight up in a basement that had a 8' ceiling. A friend tried to discharge one once with a screwdriver, and miscued as to what he touched first. The screwdriver embedded itself in the door frame behind him (narrowly missing someone...).
Discharging them ain't all that difficult, but...
Microwave HT voltages aren't quite as nasty (~4Kv) and _should_ discharge within a few minutes.
You might find this of use:
http://www.everist.org/special/mw_oven /
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Chris Lewis, Una confibula non set est
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Brett Miler wrote:

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Its my understanding a Microware contains a cathode-ray tube which is radio active. There fore something kids should not play with.
If it is junk then see that it is JUNKED for the safety of your children.
MICROWAVES ARE NOT PLAY TOYS PERIOD!-!-!-!
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snipped-for-privacy@sbcglobal.net wrote: ..

Nothing radioactive in there. No cathode-ray tubes there either, but you do have a big one on most TV sets.
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On 7 Mar 2006 07:11:24 -0800, snipped-for-privacy@sbcglobal.net wrote:

Nothing radioactive in a microwave oven or a tv. Color tv's and color computer monitors, other than thin screen, use high voltages that generate X-rays (at least in some cases?), but there is enough shielding that this is not a health problem.
Monocrhome tvs and thin screen tvs (not the same as flat screen, although they are also flat) do not use such high votages.

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On 7 Mar 2006 07:11:24 -0800, snipped-for-privacy@sbcglobal.net wrote:

No, it's a magnetron.

They're not.
Magnetrons emit electromagnetic (EM) radiation, something very different from nuclear radiation, and not present unless the device is operating. Mainly what you have to worry about is high voltage.

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On 7 Mar 2006 07:11:24 -0800, snipped-for-privacy@sbcglobal.net wrote:

Damn.... You just Flunked electronics class !!!! None of what you said is correct.
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On Tue, 07 Mar 2006 02:18:17 -0500, Brett Miler

Cut the cord off, and take the capacitor out yourself. THEN let them dissemble it.
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Goedjn wrote:

Good idea...
And, for those here who've never learned about "dielectric adsorbtion" in capacitors (or been zapped by it.) read on:
http://www.faradnet.com/glossary/d_gloss.htm#da
Jeff
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Goedjn wrote:

Or chuck it in a farm pond for a few days and then let the kids fish it out to play with.
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Brett Miler wrote:

It's probably safe by now, but don't take chances. There's a large high voltage capacitor, approximately 2" x 3" x 1", that can retain a few thousand volts indefinitely if its bleeder resistor fails, and bleeder resistors do fail. It must be discharged by unplugging the AC cord and then shorting the capacitor's 2 terminals together with a plastic-handled screwdriver (merely wrapping a metal screwdriver handle with electrical tape is NOT adequate). But this may not be possible because of the physical placement of the terminals, in which case each terminal should be individually shorted to the oven's chassis. Do this by wrapping some bare wire around a screwdriver shaft and connecting the other end of the wire securely to bare metal inside the chassis (you may have to loosen a nut or bolt to insert the wire under it and then tighten for a good connection). Then and only then touch the screwdriver's metal tip to each capacitor terminal.
If the high voltage capacitor isn't discharged, it can be a much worse hazard than a picture tube, despite the much lower voltage, because at least the picture tube won't put out a lethal level of current, as a microwave oven capacitor can.
There is no radiation from the magnatron tube when the power is turned off.
Do NOT let your children play with the large transformer, which puts out 1,000 volts when plugged into 120VAC. So after discharging the oven's high voltage capacitor, clip all the transformer's wires flush so it can't be used. Some ovens may instead have a high-frequency power supply with a much smaller transformer on a circuit board. I suggest removing that as well and destroying it.
The magnatron tube has a pair of large ring magnets that most people want. They're epoxied to the metal body, but at least one magnet may have cracked by now.
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On 7 Mar 2006 10:40:50 -0800, do_not_spam snipped-for-privacy@my-deja.com wrote:

Just cut off the cord for heavens sake.... The thing already blew sparks and smoke and there is no reason the kids should have the opportunity to get shocked or start a fire. No cord, no danger... Besides that, MW cords are excellent to reuse. In fact I made a 6 foot heavy duty extension cord out of one of them for my gas range. The cord on the range was too short to reach the outlet, and all I could find to buy was an expensive 14-2 +g extension cord that was 15 feet (too long). Or one of those super heavy duty air cond. cords (also expensive). The MW cord and a $3 female plug solved the problem.
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On Tue, 07 Mar 2006 18:43:56 -0600, snipped-for-privacy@UNLISTED.com wrote:

It is hard to get short, thick extension cords.
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Mark Lloyd wrote:

Sure it is, just bought a 3-foot one at Walmart for $1.99.
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On Wed, 08 Mar 2006 20:37:13 GMT, "George E. Cawthon"

I guess that's changed. They didn't have any when I looked.
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snipped-for-privacy@UNLISTED.com wrote:

Uhmmm, I suggest that you look at that MW cord you cut off and check what it says is the size of the wire. Mine says it is 16 gauge, lots of insulation, not much copper.
You are doing something wrong or living in the wrong place if all you can find is an expensive 14-2 extension cord. I have an extension with a multiple outlet bar is 14-3, 6 foot long, and cost $3. You need to check Walmart. Sure you can spend $6 or even $12 if it has a surge protector but you don't need to.
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