Can a (bad) GFCI kill a microwave?

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Old 12-16-10, 06:42 AM
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Question Can a (bad) GFCI kill a microwave?

I've had an old Kenmore microwave plugged into a kitchen outlet for 10 years or so. Last month it died. I replaced it with an inexpensive model from Walmart. It lasted a week. I thought it was just a bad unit so I replaced it with an identical one. It lasted a week. I took that back and went to BrandsMart and bought a $250 Frigidaire thinking I was just buying crap. A couple of days ago the display went nuts (randomly displays just pieces of the time digits) and will not work. Can my GFCI or something in the house's power be killing my microwaves?
 
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Old 12-16-10, 09:07 AM
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Originally Posted by cmarciales View Post
Can my GFCI or something in the house's power be killing my microwaves?
Not the GFCI, but a bad power source could be the culprit. You'll need to get a multimeter and set it to the AC voltage scale (120V or higher setting). With the microwave plugged in to one half of the receptacles use your tester probes on the other half. Measure from wide slot to narrow slot, narrow to round and round to wide slot. Do this with the microwave off and with it on and let us know the results for each test.
 
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Old 12-16-10, 11:49 AM
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Thanks for your response. I did what you asked, and these are the results:
Microwave off:
Wide to narrow - 125
Narrow to round - 125
Round to wide - 0
Microwave on:
Wide to narrow - 121
Narrow to round - 121
Round to wide - 0

So there was a bit of a voltage drop while the microwave (another NEW one) is running at full power (1000W). So doc, what's the prognosis?

Carlos
 
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Old 12-16-10, 12:16 PM
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The circuit seems perfectly normal, however it's very strange for that many microwaves to go bad.
 
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Old 12-16-10, 12:27 PM
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Is there any sort of line conditioner (power strip, UPS, something else I don't know about) that can be added that will make the microwave safer? Is there anything you know of that can help?
 
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Old 12-16-10, 12:31 PM
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Have you had any other electrical abnormalities lately? Flickering lights or especially lights that get brighter?
 
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Old 12-16-10, 04:21 PM
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First of all .,

Is this circuit is just a striaght circuit or MWBC ?? if later you should able indentfiy two pole breakers or two fuses { if you have fuse box }

The most likey curpit is loose connection or surge can affect it.

If you have backstabbed recepetales then move them to the screw and it will hold alot better than backstabbed receptales.

Do you have anything else on this circuit ??


Merci.
Marc
 
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Old 12-16-10, 04:34 PM
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Just in case you aren't familiar wit the term a "backstab" would be a regular receptacle with the wire inserted into a small hole in the back. If this is A GFCI it may be back wired. That is different from back stabbed. That is ok because it uses a presure plate. The screws on the side of a GFCI tighten the pressure plate. Make sure those screws are tight.
 
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Old 12-16-10, 05:09 PM
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Originally Posted by cmarciales View Post
Is there any sort of line conditioner (power strip, UPS, something else I don't know about) that can be added that will make the microwave safer? Is there anything you know of that can help?
Putting the microwave temporally on a surge protector (make sure it is a surge protector and not just a power strip) until you figure this out might be in order. At least it might save the microwave.
 
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