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3 Simple Ways To Reset A Microwave (Step by Step Guide)


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Microwaves are sturdy, reliable appliances, but they can develop issues like any other electronic unit. These issues usually have simple solutions, whether a software glitch or a frozen microwave keypad.

Here are the three ways to reset a microwave:

1st way: The soft reset


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A soft reset may be just what you need to get your microwave in good working condition. This solution may be suitable when you run into problems like keying in the wrong cooking time or mode. A soft reset involves turning off your microwave oven to erase the program you’ve input. Here are some guidelines to keep in mind to perform this type of reset:

Step 1: Find the rest/cancel button

Look for the reset button on your appliance and press it. If you have a modern microwave, you should hear a beep, and any activity taking place on your microwave display will cease. However, if the digital display shows a lock icon, move on to the next step.

Step 2: Press and hold the button

Press and hold the reset/cancel button for a few seconds to turn off your microwave.

Step 3: Test the microwave

To test if the microwave has reset, place a cup of water in your microwave and input a cook time of 30 seconds. If your appliance works normally, you’ve successfully reset it. However, if you’re still having issues with getting it to run correctly, consider performing a hard reset.

2nd way: The hard reset


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Sometimes you may need to perform a hard reset to resolve your microwave issues. Follow the steps below to do it properly:

Step 1: Find the power cord

Look for a cord that leads from the microwave power supply to the power outlet on your wall. 

Step 2: Unplug the microwave

Once you find it, unplug it from the wall outlet. If you have an over-the-range microwave, you might need to look for the electrical outlet inside a cabinet. Avoid touching the plug without rubber gloves if you notice any scorch or burn marks around the electrical outlet.

Step 3: Let the microwave rest

Leave the microwave unplugged for a couple of minutes. This will allow it to discharge.

Step 4: Plug the microwave in

Plug the microwave back in depending on your microwave’s model and brand, you might need to reset the time and (possibly) other settings. To set the time of the day, press the clock button and then input the minutes and the am/pm. After setting the correct time, press the start button to start the clock.

Step 5: Check to see if it functions properly

After performing a hard reset, test the microwave to see if it acts normally. You can do this by using the water test described in the soft reset test above. If it doesn’t function as expected, you might have to repeat the reset process. If this fails to resolve the issue, your next best solution is to contact a professional repair person to fix your appliance. 

3rd way: Resetting a microwave with a child lock feature


While older microwave oven models or smaller units may not have a child lock feature, many modern microwaves available on the market today have this unique add-on. Follow the steps below to reset a microwave with a child lock feature:

Step 1: Check to see if the child lock feature has been activated (small key icon above the timer)

Step 2: Press the Stop/Clear/Off button on the keypad for 3 seconds

Step 3: Check to see if the child lock feature has been deactivated

Step 4: Try it! Your microwave is ready to be used

The 7 Common microwave issues and how to fix them


There are many different microwave issues that you may come across. You may be able to deal with some of these issues by simply resetting your unit, while some other problems may require different solutions.

Before you start, some of the recommendations need to disassemble your microwave. Don’t forget to unplug your microwave and discharge the capacitor. If you don’t know how you can do it, please don’t do it; instead, ask for help from an electrician.

Here are 7 common microwave repair problems and how to fix them:

1. The microwave oven doesn’t turn on


To use a microwave, you need to get it running. A unit that fails to turn on can mean a few different things, and here are some of the most common possibilities:

  • The microwave isn’t plugged in

One of the first things you should do is to check if your microwave is plugged in and turned on. If you suspect the issue is coming from the outlet, try removing the microwave cord and inspecting it before putting the cable back into the outlet. You can also try plugging the microwave power plug into another power outlet and see if it turns on. If it does, the power outlet is faulty and will need to be repaired or replaced. 

  • A tripped circuit breaker

The next thing you should inspect is the circuit breaker. If you already tried plugging your microwave back into the wall outlet and it still doesn’t turn on, go to your circuit breaker to see if it has been tripped. If this is the case, it means that there was an overflow of current in your home.

  • A faulty door switch

A malfunctioning door switch can also prevent your microwave from running. The door switch signals when the unit is closed and when the microwave can turn on. Any faults in the door switch’s interlock system will prevent it from turning on. To check if you have this issue, test the door switch with a multimeter to confirm if it has continuity – if it doesn’t, you might need to replace it. 

  • A faulty door latch assembly

Next, you’ll need to test the door latch assembly to see if it works properly. To do this, check if the microwave door closes without any issues.

  • Debris on the door or door hinge

In some cases, if the door or door hinge is covered by food or debris, the microwave might not turn on. To prevent this, clean the door and the point where the door connects to the microwave frame.

2. The microwave touchpad is partially or fully unresponsive


Setting the specific temperature for the food you heat in a microwave oven is crucial for using these units. Many modern microwave models feature touchpad controls that allow you to program various cooking settings with the touch of a button. If the touchpad is unresponsive, you can’t cook or heat your food at the desired temperature, rendering your microwave useless.

Your touchpad may be failing to respond because of a faulty membrane switch or control board. The membrane switch determines the responsiveness of each button by signaling the control board to power specific settings in the microwave. If it is faulty or worn out, you may observe that some of the buttons stop working. On the other hand, if the microwave touchpad is entirely unresponsive, you might want to check the main control board for defects. When faced with this issue, the best approach is to have your microwave repaired or replaced.

3. Microwave starts then suddenly stops


In most cases, this defect stems from a faulty door switch that fails intermittently. If you have this issue, be sure to inspect your microwave door switch for any signs of overheating, arcing, or burning. You’ll also want to check it for continuity. If your switch displays intermittent continuity or any visible signs of damage, you’ll need to replace it. A defective thermostat or a tripped Thermoprotector may also cause your microwave to run intermittently. 

4. The microwave turntable fails to spin


Most microwave ovens feature a rotating glass plate that has two primary purposes:

  • To evenly distribute heat so that the food being heated cooks properly
  • To absorb any excess microwave energy that the unit may put out. 

If the plate fails to spin when the microwave is in operation, then your food might not be heated evenly. This problem usually comes up because one of the components of the spinning assembly is defective. 

To deal with the issue, check that the plate isn’t broken or improperly positioned. Next, check the guide roller that sits underneath the plate and helps it stay on track while rotating – is it cracked or broken? Continued use can damage the guide and consequently impede the plate’s movement. If either of these two components is faulty or broken, you will need to replace them.

Problems with turntable movement can also result from a broken drive motor. The drive motor is a component that provides the spinning motion required to rotate your microwave plate, and replacing a faulty one will likely resolve any issues. You may also have to get a new drive motor coupler.

5. Microwave sparks when running


It can be alarming to see your microwave producing sparks or arcs when used. Some of the possible causes of this issue include:

  • Damage to the microwave waveguide cover

During operation, the production of sparks in your microwave may indicate that the waveguide cover is defective. The waveguide cover helps the microwave energy stay safely within the oven’s cavity, and any damage inflicted on it will lead to arcing in the unit. The waveguide cover will need to be replaced if any of its underlying connectors are burnt out, melted, or damaged in any other way. 

  • Paint peeling off inside the unit

If you notice sparking along the sidewalls of your microwave, it could indicate that the paint in that area is peeling. To solve this problem. Apply microwave-safe paint to cover up any exposed metal spots in the unit. 

6. The internal light doesn’t turn on when the microwave is in use


The internal light in the microwave lets you know that your unit is on and allows you to keep track of the food/drink you’re heating. When the microwave light fails to turn on, you’re likely dealing with a broken bulb that needs to be replaced. To do this, you will need to switch off all the power supply to the microwave, fully open up the protective casing, find the bulb’s socket, and replace it with a new one. However, if it isn’t a defective bulb, the culprit might be your control board. 

Related article: 10 Simple Way to Get Rid of Cooking Smells from Your Apartment

7. The microwave makes too much noise


It’s expected for your microwave to emit a humming noise when in operation, but when it’s too loud, it can be an indication of a problem. The easiest issue to diagnose and deal with is a noisy microwave turntable. If the plate is rattling, check the guide roller and coupler to see if they are improperly positioned or defective. If they are damaged, you’ll need to replace them. Next, check the magnetron or driver motor, the cooling fan (if your microwave has one), and the high voltage diode. If any of these components are damaged, be sure to replace them.

Related article: The Microwave Wattage Guide: How Many You Really Need

Final thoughts

Resetting your microwave is a simple solution to everyday problems that you may encounter when using your unit. However, it doesn’t always get the job done, and you may need to try other solutions. If you’re not able to fix the problem on your own, always seek the help of an expert microwave repair person.

Last update on 2022-09-27 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Zoltan Szatmari

Zoltan is a test and industrial engineer from Europe who loves learning anything new and working on small projects. When he is not working, he is usually hiking or going to the cinema.

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