Computers & Electronics

Is it worth reparing old microwaves?

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  • Jun 15th, 2021 2:22 am
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Deal Expert
Jan 27, 2006
20250 posts
13581 upvotes
Vancouver, BC
redflagdealsguy wrote: Or maybe just buy a new microwave for $50.

How much are your time and lungs worth?

Microwaves still last for years, and they're economical to replace.

This sounds like a DIY project for the curious, not for the economically conscious.
I don't believe anyone here is recommending/considering disassembly of the magnetrons... We are talking about swapping whole parts.

Troubleshooting any appliance rather than just outright replacement is economical and environmentally friendly. Some items aren't worth repairing like a blown magnetron but a blown $2 fuse? I would go with replacing a $2 fuse all year long rather than replacing the microwave when ever the fuse blows regardless of how cheap a replacement microwave is.
Deal Expert
Feb 24, 2018
24032 posts
30602 upvotes
craftsman wrote: I don't believe anyone here is recommending/considering disassembly of the magnetrons... We are talking about swapping whole parts.
This is why DIY never takes off with respect to commodity products with relatively low replacement cost. You may be thinking quick wholesale part replacement, but Joe Blo may not stop there and then he ends up snorting magnetron dust sending himself to cloud 9 for all the wrong reasons.
Troubleshooting any appliance rather than just outright replacement is economical and environmentally friendly. Some items aren't worth repairing like a blown magnetron but a blown $2 fuse? I would go with replacing a $2 fuse all year long rather than replacing the microwave when ever the fuse blows regardless of how cheap a replacement microwave is.
Basic troubleshooting is advisable, even the manufacturer will often include basic troubleshooting guidance in their owner manuals. It's when we're talking about something more substantial that I feel I should step in and moderate the expectations of some folks here.

We all DIY are houses, if we own them, that's materially different and takes us away from commodity products towards the alternative cost of human labor. Not surprisingly, fathers, husbands, and bachelors become somewhat adept at solving household problems when they know they can avoid an expensive contractor / plumbing / etc. bill.
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Deal Expert
Jan 27, 2006
20250 posts
13581 upvotes
Vancouver, BC
redflagdealsguy wrote: This is why DIY never takes off with respect to commodity products with relatively low replacement cost. You may be thinking quick wholesale part replacement, but Joe Blo may not stop there and then he ends up snorting magnetron dust sending himself to cloud 9 for all the wrong reasons.
Joe Blo may also decide to overvolt the microwave or build a Frankenstein microwave out of parts. There's no way a thread on a fairly small subforum that talks about being cheap are going to encourage someone to do something crazy like snorting dust from a microwave! Joe Blo will either have it them to do it or they won't. One thread won't make a difference.

redflagdealsguy wrote: Basic troubleshooting is advisable, even the manufacturer will often include basic troubleshooting guidance in their owner manuals. It's when we're talking about something more substantial that I feel I should step in and moderate the expectations of some folks here.
In other words, you feel that you need to police the forums in order to prevent people from doing crazy stuff that they would have probably have done by themselves? I would suggest that if you want to moderate a forum, maybe apply to RFD to do so. I'm sure they are always looking for good people to do good work.
redflagdealsguy wrote: We all DIY are houses, if we own them, that's materially different and takes us away from commodity products towards the alternative cost of human labor. Not surprisingly, fathers, husbands, and bachelors become somewhat adept at solving household problems when they know they can avoid an expensive contractor / plumbing / etc. bill.
Not much different actually from DIY appliance repairs. Someone can easily remove a load-bearing wall without realizing it or start demo'ing a wall full of asbestos without the proper pre-cautions or knowledge that the asbestos was even there. Appliance repairs are a much safer endeavor.
Deal Expert
Feb 24, 2018
24032 posts
30602 upvotes
craftsman wrote: Joe Blo may also decide to overvolt the microwave or build a Frankenstein microwave out of parts. There's no way a thread on a fairly small subforum that talks about being cheap are going to encourage someone to do something crazy like snorting dust from a microwave! Joe Blo will either have it them to do it or they won't. One thread won't make a difference.
Let's re-frame the conversation because you're missing the point. DIY to your heart's content, but let's not pretend there's an economic or time-conscious wisdom behind such efforts. It stokes principled or hobbyist interests in mainly men, and so be it, enjoy.

My comments are simply here to advise the readers at large that this isn't necessarily the first best option when a commodity product breaks down.
In other words, you feel that you need to police the forums in order to prevent people from doing crazy stuff that they would have probably have done by themselves? I would suggest that if you want to moderate a forum, maybe apply to RFD to do so. I'm sure they are always looking for good people to do good work.
Complete misreading. The moderation comes through rational discourse rather than fiat or force. The big hint here is that my pseudonym text is not green and I'm not a moderator.
Not much different actually from DIY appliance repairs. Someone can easily remove a load-bearing wall without realizing it or start demo'ing a wall full of asbestos without the proper pre-cautions or knowledge that the asbestos was even there. Appliance repairs are a much safer endeavor.
You're making arguments from logical extremes. Commodity products which are replaceable at low cost are sometimes best replaced, if the implied repair is too intensive, the parts too expensive, or the task too time consuming. The thought process changes if you're doing it as a principled or hobbyist pursuit, but if that's the case, let's be upfront about it and not obfuscate.

You like DIY, you like to repair rather than replace, god speed to you.
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Deal Addict
Nov 12, 2006
2548 posts
1653 upvotes
London
redflagdealsguy wrote: This sounds like a DIY project for the curious, not for the economically conscious.
Those two concepts are not mutually exclusive.

You are ignoring another significant group, "the competent".
Why not save a few bucks (in addition to the spinoff advantages mentioned), if you are capable?
Many of the posters that commented are quite capable, including in my opinion, the OP.
Some people lack these skills, and can't grasp that people may be proficient in doing some things themselves.
Deal Addict
Nov 12, 2006
2548 posts
1653 upvotes
London
thriftshopper wrote: Panasonics are said to be pretty cheaply built and break (plastic parts such as door locks).
I have a Panasonic, which had a door latch break.
I was able to reconstruct the latch mechanism, and it's been working for several years now.
A handful of parts I had in my workshop, and a couple of hours, saved $200.

OP, you may want to examine that area now for signs of an issue, and reinforce while still intact.
Deal Expert
Jan 27, 2006
20250 posts
13581 upvotes
Vancouver, BC
redflagdealsguy wrote: Let's re-frame the conversation because you're missing the point. DIY to your heart's content, but let's not pretend there's an economic or time-conscious wisdom behind such efforts. It stokes principled or hobbyist interests in mainly men, and so be it, enjoy.

My comments are simply here to advise the readers at large that this isn't necessarily the first best option when a commodity product breaks down.



Complete misreading. The moderation comes through rational discourse rather than fiat or force. The big hint here is that my pseudonym text is not green and I'm not a moderator.



You're making arguments from logical extremes. Commodity products which are replaceable at low cost are sometimes best replaced, if the implied repair is too intensive, the parts too expensive, or the task too time consuming. The thought process changes if you're doing it as a principled or hobbyist pursuit, but if that's the case, let's be upfront about it and not obfuscate.

You like DIY, you like to repair rather than replace, god speed to you.
If you don't like to DIY, then please spend your time wisely and try not to stop into threads about DIY.
Deal Expert
Jan 27, 2006
20250 posts
13581 upvotes
Vancouver, BC
arisk wrote: I have a Panasonic, which had a door latch break.
I was able to reconstruct the latch mechanism, and it's been working for several years now.
A handful of parts I had in my workshop, and a couple of hours, saved $200.

OP, you may want to examine that area now for signs of an issue, and reinforce while still intact.
$200 saved is $200 bucks earned!
Deal Guru
Aug 14, 2007
12126 posts
3087 upvotes
--
jdmfishingonly wrote: Costs less to buy a new one. Goto Costco
This is the problem with today.

Replacing the part yourself if you can is generally much cheaper. Keep stuff out of land fills.
Deal Expert
Jan 27, 2006
20250 posts
13581 upvotes
Vancouver, BC
XtremeModder wrote: This is the problem with today.

Replacing the part yourself if you can is generally much cheaper. Keep stuff out of land fills.
Or that they think it's too much trouble to replace the part so just buy a new one... However, my favourite excuse is you had it for years so it doesn't owe you anything!

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