How to Test a Microwave Magnetron

How to Test a Microwave Magnetron 2Microwaves are one of the handiest modern electronic appliances. Heating food has never been this easy and the best part is that they are quite affordable. You can find a Microwave nowadays in every other household and considering the convenience they add to our lives, it is not surprising. Now if you are not tech-savvy or do not have much knowledge about electronics in general, then you may not know how things work behind the scenes. The Microwave Magnetron is what helps in generating the energy for the Microwave.

In short, all the wonders that you see the Microwave doing, are particularly due to the Magnetron. Being one of the most important components of a Microwave, if something happens to it, then the performance of your Microwave can also be affected. Although it is recommended to hire a professional to test a Microwave Magnetron, it can also be a DIY project.

So let’s dive in to see how a Microwave Magnetron works, its background and especially, how to test it.

How long has Microwave Magnetron been around for?

If you are looking for a history lesson, then Microwave Magnetrons are not new. In fact, the concept has been around since the 1930s, long before the first Microwave was even sold. It was invented by Dr Albert W. Hull and it acts as an oscillator.

The purpose of an oscillator is to provide oscillatory electric currents in simpler words. So, by this alone, you can determine how big of a role the Magnetron plays.

How does a Magnetron work?

Our ancestors couldn’t have even imagined the level of convenience Microwaves would add to our lives. There was a time when the only way to heat food up was through wood fire. However, now with a Microwave, it can be done within minutes and without any effort.

As simple as things may have gotten for us, inventing a Microwave isn’t that easy. There’s a lot of knowledge and science that goes behind it. So, if you are enjoying your piping hot meals with this electronic appliance, then it is worth peaking behind the scenes to know how it works.

A Magnetron generates Microwave energy as we mentioned. However, this is just one part of the story. After that energy travels through a waveguide, it reaches the metal cavity where your food is cooked. Once those waves reach the food, it excites up their water molecules. And thus, after a long process, you are finally able to enjoy your hot meals. But the best part is that all of that happens within a few minutes in front of you.

People often get confused that how exactly the food heats up in a Microwave Oven. So, to clear that up, the food is heated from the inside. However, when you are speaking about regular Ovens, then things are the opposite.

How to Test a Microwave Magnetron 3Safety Tips to Test Microwave Magnetron

1)     Unplug the Microwave

Disconnecting your Microwave from its main power is one of the main important parts of testing the Magnetron. Poking around electricity is never recommended, especially if you do not have much knowledge. On top of that, the last thing you would want is to be careless with power. So, before you run any tests, especially if you do not hire an expert then plug out the power first.

2)     Discharge the Capacitor

The chances are that you may have studied how a capacitor works, even if you are not an engineering student. However, if you have forgotten, do not worry. The job of a capacitor is to store electric current. So, even if the power of the Microwave is fully turned off, the capacitor has the potential to injure you if it is not discharged.

Discharging the capacitor may be tricky for some people, so you might want to look a detailed guide on that. However, if you know your way around electronics, then, in short, you need to create a short circuit. You can use an insulated screwdriver for this and touch the capacitor terminal with it.

It is best that if you feel even slightly nervous about this process, then you call an expert. Even though discharging a capacitor are the very basics of electronics, knowing what you are doing is essential.

3)     Safety Gear

Safety gear is always recommended when you are doing any electrical work. The same applies to this, regardless of how simple it may sound. Wearing goggles and most importantly, wooden slippers can be a great idea if you have them.

Microwave Magnetron Testing: Method One

Start by labelling the wires of your Microwave Magnetron. Although labelling does not make any difference on the test results at such, it helps you keep a track in case replacements are needed. To begin this test you need an ohmmeter, so make sure you have one at home. If not, you can always purchase it from your nearest electronic shop.

Set the resistance of the meter to the lowest. After you have done the required configuration with your ohmmeter, simply place it between the terminals of the Magnetron. The general rule is that, if the output you are getting is under 1 ohm, then your Magnetron is fine. However, if it is anything higher than that, then you might need to get Magnetron Replacement done for your Microwave.

How to Test a Microwave Magnetron 4Microwave Magnetron Testing: Method Two

The second test is relatively simple, and you do not require any special electronics knowledge for it. In fact, it is safe and anyone can do it at their homes as well. Place a cup of water in a plugged Microwave, at 70 degrees Fahrenheit for two minutes. If the water in the Microwave starts to boil, then it is a sign that the Magnetron is in good shape. However, if the temperature of the water changes only slightly, then you might need to get the Magnetron replaced.

It is recommended that if you are not calling a professional for the job, then you start with this method. It will give you a general idea that whether you need to call a technician or not.

Replacing Microwave Magnetron

The tests above would be enough to let you know whether you need to replace the Microwave Magnetron or not. However, once that is concluded, make sure that you do not try to replace it on your own. Replacing a Microwave Magnetron can be tricky. If you are not careful, then you can end up harming yourself as well.

Call a professional for the job so it can be carried out with optimum safety.


The Magnetron plays a major role in the overall function of a Microwave. It is safe to say that it is one of the most important components. The more the Magnetron wears out, the more the overall quality and performance of the Microwave is affected. This is why make sure that you test that whether your Microwave Magnetron is working fine. If it’s not, then get it replaced to enhance the performance of your Microwave.

Leave a Comment