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What Are the Different Types of Microwave Parts?

A magnetron converts electrical current to microwave radiation.
The key panel is located on the front of the microwave and is used to show cooking times and energy level.
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  • Written By: A.M. Boyle
  • Edited By: PJP Schroeder
  • Last Modified Date: 22 November 2014
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Microwaves are intricate machines, and while many people are familiar with the readily observable microwave parts, like the key panel, power chord, turntable, and cooking cavity, the inside has integral microwave parts that few ever see. Basically, the interior of a microwave is divided into two sections, namely the control section and the high-voltage section. The control section contains the timer, energy output controls, and a series of interlock switches and safety devices. The high-voltage section contains the high-voltage transformer, the diode and capacitor, the wave guide, and the stirrer blade.

The key panel on a microwave is generally located on the front and is the area where users will input cooking times and desired energy level. The power cord is simply the part that plugs into a wall socket. The cooking cavity is the space within the microwave where the food is placed. The turntable is the platform within the cooking cavity that, in many microwave models, rotates as the food is cooked.

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The control section contains several microwave parts that regulate the energy output. The timer, which is linked to the keypad, has a series of interlocking circuits that monitor the frequency of the signals sent to the parts that apply the voltage and generate microwaves. Most microwaves contain two interlock safety switches near the door that will interrupt the production of microwave energy when the door is open. Various fuses and thermal protectors are located in the control section and serve as emergency shut-off mechanisms in the event of overheating or electrical problems. The triac, an electromagnetic relay switch that creates a voltage path when the microwave is ready to cook, is also part of the control section.

The high-voltage area of the appliance contains parts that create the microwaves. The transformer is an integral part in that it transmits the voltage from the household outlet to the diode and capacitor. The diode and capacitor are the microwave parts that magnify the voltage to between 3,000 and 5,000 volts, depending upon the model. The increased voltage is transferred to a part called a magnetron tube, which converts the voltage into microwaves.

Once the microwaves are created, they are transmitted into a metal channel called a waveguide. The waveguide feeds the energy into the cooking cavity. The cavity contains a part called a stirrer blade, which slowly rotates to disperse the microwaves evenly within. Most microwaves have special metal screens on the door windows and metal coatings along the walls so that the microwaves will bounce around the interior and penetrate the food from all angles.

Other microwave parts include the cavity lamp and blower motor. The cavity lamp is the small bulb that illuminates the interior of the cavity. The blower motor is a small fan that keeps the appliance from overheating when in operation. Microwaves come in different styles and sizes, and the specific parts and their locations vary.

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