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What Are the Different Types of Microwave Parts?

A.M. Boyle
A.M. Boyle

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.

A magnetron converts electrical current to microwave radiation.
A magnetron converts electrical current to microwave radiation.

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 key panel is located on the front of the microwave and is used to show cooking times and energy level.
The key panel is located on the front of the microwave and is used to show cooking times and energy level.

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.

Discussion Comments


@heavanet- Before you spend a lot of money on a microwave replacement plate, you should look at an appliance store or the appliance section of a home improvement store. Both places carry a wide variety of affordable replacement parts for all types of appliances. What they don't carry in stock can be ordered.

I also recommend that you buy two microwave plates so you always have an extra one on hand. If you break one again, or if one is dirty, you won't have to wait to microwave your food because you will have a spare one to use.


@heavanet- If you have to replace a microwave part, the turntable plate is the easiest and most affordable part. However, you can't just use any type of plate, because you need one that has the groves to fit your particular microwave model. The plate also has to be made of the special glass that is strong enough to withstand daily microwaving.

If you have a kitchen specialty shop in your area, this is the most convenient place to look for this type of microwave replacement part. These stores often carry a variety of repair parts, especially one that is as easy to replace as a microwave plate. Some retail stores also carry microwave plates, but you are probably less likely to find a plate that will fit your model in that type of store.

If you can't find a plate to fit your microwave, you will probably have to call the manufacturer. When you do, you will be able to provide the model number for your particular model, and should be able to order a new turntable plate for it. Though it might be a bit more costly than one you find in a store, you will have the peace of mind of knowing it will fit and will be a high-quality part.


Fortunately, I have a microwave that only needs a very basic microwave replacement part. I broke the glass plate that sits on the turntable, and need to find a new one. Where should I look to find this microwave oven part?

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    • A magnetron converts electrical current to microwave radiation.
      By: Michael Ballard
      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.
      By: trekandphoto
      The key panel is located on the front of the microwave and is used to show cooking times and energy level.