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-   -   Wanted: Appliance / household wiring experts (http://cellar.org/showthread.php?t=34121)

Glinda 02-28-2019 08:33 PM

Wanted: Appliance / household wiring experts
 
I have a crazy household mystery that's bugging me, and because we have so many clever, creative "how to design it/make it/fix it" types in our midst who love figuring out what makes things tick, I humbly bring this mystery to you and ask for your insight. :)

Note that there are several bits of evidence to consider. Here we go . . .
1. I left the house to do two pet sitting jobs around 3:15 this afternoon. I returned at about 4:40. When I opened the front door, I could smell hot wiring and there was an electronic or appliance buzzer screaming somewhere in the house. I raced into the kitchen to find my huge, ancient microwave oven in full coronary arrest. The machine was on, full throttle, and multiple lights on the keypad were lit; none of them would work to my touch, though.

I yanked the power cord from the outlet and opened the oven door. It was very hot in there, but nothing had caught fire. I left the door open until the whole thing cooled off. Then I plugged it in and tested it. Seems to work fine.
1a. This microwave - an "MGA Mitsubishi Electric, Magnatronic Range" - is approximately 50 years old. I only use it to defrost food, because my modern (much smaller) microwave insists on knowing how much the food weighs, and then shutting down every minute or two to force me to turn the food around in the oven for even thawing, and then un-pause it. Fuck that shit. My old MGA defrosts like a champ and it don't need a helping hand every few minutes to do its friggin' job, FFS.

I searched everywhere for a photo of this microwave - this was the closest I got. Note that my machine doesn't have the programmable recipe card option.

https://i.ebayimg.com/images/g/qlsAA...QrS/s-l500.jpg
2. My kitchen garbage can sits at the base of a counter about three feet from the microwave discussed above. The can was dumped over and rummaged through; obviously my lunatic kitten did this (little fucker). The question is, could he have jumped on the counter and touched the microwave keypad which caused it to beep and light up and begin cooking, which in turn scared the cat, which jumped off the counter, knocking over the garbage can? Or is the trash-digging cat completely unrelated to the microwave meltdown?

3. After setting things to rights in the kitchen, I walked down the hall to my bedroom and noticed that my digital clock on my night stand was flashing on and off. It does this when the electricity goes out, even if it's just a very brief hiccup in the power.

Walked through the house to reset my other clocks. The only other clock that needed to be reset was an identical digital clock in the living room that sits next to the TV. The stove clock and the clock for the more modern microwave (above the stove) were both correct. These two clocks only ever need to be reset if the power is off for more than 60 seconds or so.
So. Did my elderly microwave just fritz out on its own? Did the power blip out for a second and cause the microwave to spaz out? Did the overheated microwave (who knows HOW long it was going at full blast?!) cause the house power to short out? Did the cat set off the microwave which blipped out the power? Was it aliens?

Any and all ideas are welcome!

sexobon 02-28-2019 09:00 PM

I hope you're unplugging the microwave; or, have it plugged into a power bar with a switch where you can turn the power off before you leave the house now.

I'm unsure of the relevance of the garbage can; unless, you have a pet that can get on top of it and claw at the microwave control panel.

ETA: A lot more info was added to the OP since I posted this. I wouldn't continue to use that microwave.

Gravdigr 02-28-2019 09:18 PM

I wouldn't leave that plugged in. Period.

monster 02-28-2019 09:19 PM

Where is your kitchen garbage can normally, in relation to the microwave?

Gravdigr 02-28-2019 09:20 PM

Do you use scented garbage bags?

monster 02-28-2019 09:21 PM

oh and buy a new microwave. i know you like the older, "reliable" stuff but really, this is technology that is still improving and not super expensive. Why risk it?

Glinda 02-28-2019 09:29 PM

OOOPS! I hit the wrong button early in my narrative, and accidentally posted it. Unfortunately, I was far from finishing it. SORRY!

Meanwhile you all came up with some great info and questions! Please reread the original post to see if any of the additional info helps...

ETA: It's unplugged now, and will stay that way. ;)

Also:

https://i.imgur.com/8eXPHw6.jpg

https://i.imgur.com/2ycPL9B.jpg

monster 02-28-2019 09:40 PM

defrosting what? You want easy? put it in a ziplock and dump it in a bowl of hot tap water.

monster 02-28-2019 09:42 PM

...and if it's really old, unlikely the buttons are sensitive enough for a cat to activate. could have been something caused by a powercut..... but dude, dump it

Glinda 02-28-2019 09:54 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by monster (Post 1026977)
defrosting what? You want easy? put it in a ziplock and dump it in a bowl of hot tap water.

Usually frozen meat. I do the hot tap water thing for small things that need defrosting, but a hunk of meat needs a bit more than that.

Clodfobble 02-28-2019 09:56 PM

Do not continue to use that microwave. Throw it away immediately.

Think about it this way: even if it was caused by an errant power flicker, or a cat's stray paw, those situations could happen again in the future. What's more, if you have an electrician look at the internal wiring, the only way you'll know for sure if the repair worked is if ten years go by and your house still hasn't burned down. If you're wrong, you'll find out the hard way--and if it happens at night, you could die from smoke and carbon monoxide inhalation before you ever have a chance to wake up to see the danger.

Your life and home are not worth saving $60 on a new microwave.

sexobon 02-28-2019 10:04 PM

Power outages can be preceded by power surges and the old microwave may no longer be able to handle the surges even though the amperage rating for the house wiring and circuit breakers/fuses can.

Glinda 02-28-2019 10:12 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by monster (Post 1026978)
...and if it's really old, unlikely the buttons are sensitive enough for a cat to activate. could have been something caused by a powercut..... but dude, dump it

The buttons are still very touch (not press) sensitive. Until today, the only problem it's had is a sticky press bar to open the door.

As for my cat, I can't rule out his pawing the touch pads. There are freakin' cat prints all up and down my fridge, oven door, and dishwasher. They all have black reflective surfaces (just like the microwave), and the stupid cat thinks there's another cat in there. He does the same thing when he sees his reflection in a window. Cat prints everywhere. I once found cat prints up and down my bathroom mirror. :D

https://i.imgur.com/0ztFwHx.jpg

https://i.imgur.com/rAKjkSb.jpg

Glinda 02-28-2019 10:17 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Clodfobble (Post 1026980)
Do not continue to use that microwave. Throw it away immediately.

Think about it this way: even if it was caused by an errant power flicker, or a cat's stray paw, those situations could happen again in the future. What's more, if you have an electrician look at the internal wiring, the only way you'll know for sure if the repair worked is if ten years go by and your house still hasn't burned down. If you're wrong, you'll find out the hard way--and if it happens at night, you could die from smoke and carbon monoxide inhalation before you ever have a chance to wake up to see the danger.

Your life and home are not worth saving $60 on a new microwave.

*pout* You're right, of course, but shit. :(

And it's not about the money; it's about stupid new stuff with stupid programming. Does anyone make a microwave these days that doesn't force you to fuck with defrosting food every 60 seconds?

Glinda 02-28-2019 10:19 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by sexobon (Post 1026981)
Power outages can be preceded by power surges and the old microwave may no longer be able to handle the surges even though the amperage rating for the house wiring and circuit breakers/fuses can.

Ah. Now this makes perfect sense to me. I was sure there was a house wiring component to this mystery. Thank you! :)


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