Adding LED's inside microwave for better lighting - possible with shielding?

Discussion in 'General Electronics Chat' started by RogueRose, Feb 17, 2017.

  1. RogueRose

    Thread Starter Member

    Oct 10, 2014
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    It is VERY difficult to see what is happening inside my microwave even when the lights are on. It's almost impossible to see if water is boiling unless there is a hue plum of steam coming off of it and other things are difficult to see which is important as to not over-cook things.

    It currently has 2 lights, one on the side where the magnetron is and another on the top, pointing down on the opposite side of the unit.

    I don't know what voltage these are, I think there is a 12vdc circuit inside the unit if I recall and IDK if that is for the lights and maybe some motors (table or fans) so maybe I could tap into that for power - but a power source isn't my main concern as that can be dealt with if this is possible.

    I guess I could try replacing the lights with LED type lights in hopes that they would be brighter. I would like of like to add another light across from the one next to the magnetron and maybe another one facing down on the other side of the unit. This is a big microwave, I think 2.2ft^3. Also, the mesh on the front door makes it difficult to see especially with the darkened (tan/brownish) glass (no it isn't dirty!).

    So, I'm wondering what you think could be possible and how to test this. I have some LED's I could throw in and see what happens when the unit is turned on - just to see what happens. I have some of the mesh that is on the doors from old units that could be used to shield any new LED that is installed but that is much denser than the mesh/grate that is covering the existing lights.

    I also don't know if the microwaves would cause havoc with the way an LED works, like how a tesla coil lights a flourescent tube (this could be totally off, but just throwing it out there).

    Any suggestions?
     
  2. spinnaker

    AAC Fanatic!

    Oct 29, 2009
    5,663
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    So you want to hack you microwave, possibly creating a fire or even radiation hazard, just so you can have more light? Sounds like a really stupid idea to me.

    Get to know how long it takes to cook different food items seems like a good idea to me.
     
  3. ian field

    AAC Fanatic!

    Oct 27, 2012
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    Power microwaves is a "dark art" of electronics - I agree that messing with it is a really bad idea.

    Here in the UK, many shops have LED replacement bulbs in the standard size that fits microwave ovens. The power consumption is lower as you'd expect - not sure if they're much/any brighter, but they're whiter.

    Also fits fridges - but I don't think it would last long in a regular oven which it would fit as well.
     
  4. Tonyr1084

    Well-Known Member

    Sep 24, 2015
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    I'm with the others on this one. The LED's, unless they produce more lumens than the incandescent bulbs installed you're not going to see more light. And it's been my experience with every MO (Microwave Oven) I've ever scrapped, the bulbs have been 120 VAC.

    Here's a stupid hack if you want to try it: Get an old CFL (cork screw type light) and desolder it from the power board so that you ONLY have just the light. Trim the excess wire off and end up with just the glass tube and no other metals. Microwaves will light CFL's. You can place a ceramic base (no metal) holding your light, and you can put it next to your cup of water and see what's going on.

    Keep in mind I said this is a stupid hack. I don't know what the risk of having the bulb breaking might be. So you COULD be cooking something with the extra light and have the bulb shatter, casting phosphor and mercury all over your food, and potentially contaminate the oven itself.

    Keep this first and foremost - it's a STUPID hack. Follow this ONLY if you fancy yourself as being - um - the word escapes me - starts with an "S".
     
  5. MikeA

    Member

    Jan 20, 2013
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    The magnetron has a fairly narrow beam of energy that goes horizontally from right to left near where the spinning plate is. I'm willing to bet the top 2" of the microwave chamber don't get any energy at all. Tape up some aluminum foil to the top of the microwave and turn it on to see for yourself.

    Some LED strips that are maybe 1/8" thick affixed to the top of the chamber should work just fine.
     
  6. ian field

    AAC Fanatic!

    Oct 27, 2012
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    The metal electrodes inside the glass will get very hot. If they heat the glass to red hot; that will also become electrically conductive and start heating on its own. If the wires through the seal expand and crack the glass, the CFL tube will still be rendered inoperative.

    If you don't believe the conducting glass bit - try microwaving a thermionic tube. Usually, one way or another; the glass gets hot enough to melt. The vacuum pulls it on the internal structure like cling film.

    Sometimes conductivity in the gettering is enough to get the glass started, but heating the internal structure will do the job eventually.
     
  7. A Homeschoolers Workbench

    Member

    Jul 26, 2016
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    If I where you I would try this outside.
    A.H.W.
     
  8. BR-549

    Distinguished Member

    Sep 22, 2013
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    What are the true part numbers/specs of the existing bulbs? Are they AC bulbs or DC?
     
  9. Tonyr1084

    Well-Known Member

    Sep 24, 2015
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    As I said, it's a "STUPID" hack.
     
  10. ian field

    AAC Fanatic!

    Oct 27, 2012
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    Actually - an LED is one of the few things I haven't zapped in a microwave.

    The outcome might have some entertainment value.
     
  11. dl324

    Distinguished Member

    Mar 30, 2015
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    No one has asked, so I will... Why do you need to see what's happening?

    When I heat my tea in the microwave, I first use my lips to see how warm/cold it is and select an appropriate time. If I'm reheating some food, I consider the type and quantity and pick a time. If it's not warm enough, I zap again. If it's too hot, I make note of it for future reference.
     
    Last edited: Feb 19, 2017
  12. BR-549

    Distinguished Member

    Sep 22, 2013
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    You could install mirrors and use a flashlight.

    Personally I would determine the polarity and power of existing bulbs and look for led substitutes.
     
  13. dl324

    Distinguished Member

    Mar 30, 2015
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    Or he could open the door.
     
  14. Tonyr1084

    Well-Known Member

    Sep 24, 2015
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    Every microwave oven I've ever scrapped had incandescent 120 VAC bulbs.
     
  15. BR-549

    Distinguished Member

    Sep 22, 2013
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    The microwave....for cooking....is a love/hate relationship. The speed and power cost are great.
    But even with rotation the temperature density is terrible. We need to go up several water harmonics.....to get a much smaller wavelength. Terahertz territory.
     
  16. GopherT

    AAC Fanatic!

    Nov 23, 2012
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    This guy reminds me of a golfer that can't keep his head down. He doesn't believe the ball will fly towards the hole unless he sees it leave the tee and he watches it go down the fairway. Unfortunately, nobody's eyes (or neck) are fast enough and the guy ends up missing the ball or severely hooking it as he tries to make sure physics works.

    This guy doesn't believe the microwave will heat the food unless he can see it. He has to make sure physics works, too.
     
  17. Tonyr1084

    Well-Known Member

    Sep 24, 2015
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    When I want to see inside my microwave oven during the cooking process (to monitor my oatmeal, not overflowing the sides of the bowl) I turn the lights out in the kitchen and then weave side to side. Weaving while gazing through the small holes gives the illusion of transparency and I can see almost as if there were no obstructions.

    Of course, if my neighbors saw me standing in front of the MWO weaving my head side to side they might call the white coat guys.
     
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  18. Tonyr1084

    Well-Known Member

    Sep 24, 2015
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    I thought it was "A watched pot never boils."
     
  19. GopherT

    AAC Fanatic!

    Nov 23, 2012
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    That is making sure physics doesn't work.
     
  20. BR-549

    Distinguished Member

    Sep 22, 2013
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    I watch my microwave all the time. I watch as the pot boils in a very short time.
     
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