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lillycoyote's avatar

The number keypad on my microwave is failing. Is there possibly a fix, other than replacing the entire control panel?

Asked by lillycoyote (24835points) May 24th, 2012

I’m thinking not, but I thought it wouldn’t hurt to ask.

All the other buttons work fine, as does the microwave itself, including the carousel, display, etc., but, the numbers 6, 7 and 9 on the keypad don’t work at all, and the 1 works, or doesn’t, erratically. That leaves me with the 2 ,3 ,4 ,5 and 8.

When the 1 isn’t working, if I want to cook anything that requires more than 10 minutes, but less than 20, the closest I can get, without going over, is 8 minutes, 58 seconds, then I would have to cook it for any additional time it might need; something that needs to cook for 14 minutes, e.g, without a functioning 7, I would cook for 6 minutes, 58 seconds, twice, just because the math is easier.

Anyway, you get the idea.

I am really reluctant to replace it, because I don’t use it all that much and there’s kind of a work around. It is kind of frustrating though. I am handy enough that I think I could replace the control panel myself, but I can’t find the part.

Would repairing this problem actually require a complete replacement of the control panel, if I could find the part?

Is there anything else I can do?

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13 Answers

gailcalled's avatar

You have a pretty good jerry-rigged system. If it means setting the timing twice, why not? It’s certainly cheaper than replacing it. These days it seems impossible to get any small or medium-sized appliance repaired.

Have you tried calling customer service at the manufacturer’s?

lillycoyote's avatar

@gailcalled That’s kind of what I was thinking, but it is kind of annoying to have to do it that way, rather than simply having it work properly. And some of it just the frustration of the very thing you mention: the difficulty of getting something like that repaired, or even just finding the parts. It’s kind of tedious to do it that way, but it seems so wasteful to replace the whole thing when it is about 95% functional. And it just seems you have to do that with so many things these days, as you point out. For the want of a nail, the microwave was lost. :-)

I was hoping maybe someone had some little trick or fix that would take care of it.

WestRiverrat's avatar

I would look at yard sales and flea markets for a new old microwave, and hope I found one before the old one finally dies.

woodcutter's avatar

Try taking it apart to look for obvious problems like some foreign matter inside. You will pay a lot of money for a pro to do it probably as much as a replacement cost so what have you to lose? The work around is clever enough. I hate tossing things and I will do almost anything to not do that.

Bellatrix's avatar

Very annoying. I would suggest looking on ebay for the same microwave coming up so you can steal the parts BUT microwaves have some very nasty things in them so I wouldn’t be playing in there. My ex used to repair such things for a living.

I would stick with your system until it reaches the point where too many buttons don’t work.

lillycoyote's avatar

@Bellatrix Thanks so much sweetie, for the kick in the ass! I really know better, and I’m very good about unplugging things before mess with them; I’m not a complete fool, but sometimes forget about that whole “discharging the high voltage capacitor” thing so thanks for the reminder. LOL

LuckyGuy's avatar

Yes. There is a way.
Back in the days when microwave ovens were expensive, a friend of mine had a similar problem. Being an electrical engineer, he took a keyboard from a cheap calculator and wired that to the interface of the oven.
He made a cross-reference chart that mapped the microwave functions into the calculator keyboard strokes and posted it prominently on the cupboard next to the door. He insisted there was no reason to replace it since the microwave was fully functional.
While he was technically correct, his wife did not see the elegance of this arrangement and complained about it daily.
Looking back, that might have been the beginning of the end of their marriage.

lillycoyote's avatar

@LuckyGuy Thank you.

I could:

I could build my own circuit board to replace the control panel on my microwave

I could turn my microwave into a smelter

and, if I actually owned a salad spinner, I could use it, along with a

”... a little styrofoam, a camp stove, microfuge tubes, a “screwdriver-like grinder and certain solutions, to extract DNA in fairly primitive conditions

I know these things are possible, I’m just not quite that handy.

LuckyGuy's avatar

@lillycoyote Nice Projects!
I should add that my friend, now single, let the keyboard dangle from the ribbon cable for years, causing frequent hang-ups with plates of food, cups of coffee, and soup bowls.
Frankly I don’t know how his wife stood him for 20 years.

(I confess if my microwave was acting in the same manner as yours I would somehow gain access to the keyboard connector and try to wiggle it. If that did not work i would buy another one – not made in China.)

lillycoyote's avatar

@LuckyGuy My microwave was apparently made in Thailand, not China. I discovered that earlier today, when I was looking for the model number. And if all else fails, I am considering just giving the thing a good, solid whack with a rubber mallet. I’ve had some success with that approach before, with other things that don’t work. It’s kind of hit and miss though, when you go that route. :-)

LuckyGuy's avatar

The rubber mallet idea is a perfectly good approach. Once you’ve decided to replace it you have nothing to lose.

It does my heart good to see someone at least trying work around an issue like this rather than immediately giving up, throwing it in the trash and buying a new one. You are saving resources- yours and the country’s. Nice.

If /when you decide to replace it, try microwaving a CD for 5 seconds . Place it on the rim of a mug in the center of the oven. Do it at night with all the lights off. Nice.

Bellatrix's avatar

The ‘technical thump’ might be just the ticket @lillycoyote! It might just work.

Charles's avatar

You might be an engineer if you try to fix a $5 radio.

If your time is worth $3/hour, go ahead and try to fix it. Microwave ovens are so cheap.

Otherwise, enter the time using the working digits as you can probably operate it for any amount of time you want with the digits that are working.

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