Last time, we talked about the two extremely handy ceramic magnets in every microwave oven’s magnetron. This time I’d like to quickly run through the simple procedure for removing them.
Mags are bolted to the wave guide with screws or bolts (usually 4). The one in the photo below is a little unusual, as it used 3 mounting bolts. Here’s the magnetron assembly pulled out of the old microwave oven, a Panasonic, I believe:
(Click on a photo to see a bigger view)
The hardest part, getting it out of the oven, is done! Once you’re to this stage, put on a pair of work gloves and use wire cutters to pry the 4 retainers from the corners, then pull off the top plate:
Once all 4 tabs are bent back, the top plate will pull off. You may have to spread the sides a bit with two pairs of pliers to get it to clear. Don’t be shy, just yank on it; there’s nothing in the Mag that can hurt you – no radiation, no electrical charge, none of that. Just sharp edges of sheet metal to watch out for.
With the top plate off, there’s often a big washer crimped on top of the upper magnet. Once that’s off, just grab the cooling fins and pull the mag “guts” out of the case, stretching the two wires right along out with it. Cut those off, and you’ll have the mag tube, magnets, and fins, in your hand. Here are the various pieces laid out:
Pull each magnet out and scrap the rest. Be careful when the magnets get close together; they can pinch your fingers, and they break easily (the magnets, not the fingers!)
That’s all there is to it! ‘Wish I could list all the things we use these magnets for around our place, but they have so many uses I wouldn’t know where to start.
Just because it’s interesting, here’s what an actual Magnetron tube looks like without its cooling fins:
It’s simply a vacuum tube, like those used in old radios and TV’s, but in a thick metal case instead of a clear glass tube. If you hacksaw it open, you’ll find chambers inside, sized to produce waves of around 2450 MHz (2.4GHz – the same as most WiFi, interestingly enough).
PS – If you still have the microwave oven cabinet, ground it and it becomes a Faraday cage. Anything you put inside will be protected from EMP weapons and solar flares. I’ve had one for years, with a small shortwave radio, walkie-talkie, extra batteries, etc, inside. (One of my favorite sayings has become “hey, ya never know!”)
Hope that’s helpful!
God bless you and yours,