Frigidaire has been making high-quality electronic appliances since the early 1900s. Despite many other competing brands, people still come back to Frigidaire for their exceptionally robust and well-priced microwaves.
But one issue seems to keep recurring with their microwaves, where it will continually trip the circuit breaker when plugged in.
This issue needs to be handled with care as microwaves withhold powerful electrical currents that can be discharged even after it’s powered off.
So in this article, we’re going to walk through all the main causes of this problem and how safely diagnose and fix the problem.
Why is my Frigidaire Microwave Tripping the Breaker?
Microwaves are powerful machines that utilize a lot of current to heat food up. But there are many components inside a microwave that can go bad, which means there is a large number of potential causes for this problem.
This can make diagnosing and fixing the issue quite challenging. Let’s look at all the leading causes of this issue so you can better understand what’s causing the problem.
1. Electrical supply issue
A defective power supply, socket, or plug is the most common thing to trip the breaker. These cables/sockets can sometimes fail and even melt when exposed to high currents, so we recommend visually inspecting them for signs of burning or wear.
If you believe the cable may have gone bad, it will need to be replaced with a new, working one.
2. The turntable motor has gotten wet
A small motor inside the base of the microwave allows the plate to rotate as it microwaves. The idea is that it helps food to cook uniformly and evenly.
However, because it’s one of the few electrical components to be exposed, it’s pretty easy for liquid from the food or condensation from steam to drip into the motor, causing a short circuit, which in turn trips the breaker.
3. The interference suppressor has failed
An interference suppressor (also called an interference suppression filter) is designed to suppress loud noises that come from the electronic components within the microwave, allowing for a more comfortable user experience.
These components can sometimes blow, creating a short circuit that will trip the breaker.
4. The door latch has failed
The door latch on a microwave is essential as it seals the microwaves inside and stops them from escaping. But it’s also quite a complicated component as additional sensors tell the microwave that the doors are correctly closed and that it’s now safe to start up.
When these switches fail, or if the physical latch hooks break, it can cause the microwave’s fuse to blow and will require fixing before it will operate without tripping the breaker.
5. The magnetron’s insulation has failed
The magnetron is responsible for actually generating microwave energy. It’s the primary power source in the microwave and is a vital component in the operation of the machine.
It’s also very well insulated as microwaves are dangerous and should only exit the magnetron in the intended direction.
Sometimes the outer casing of the magnetron can fail, causing an electrical leak, where current can breach into an area it should not. When this problem occurs, it will trip the circuit breaker.
6. Broken capacitor
Capacitors are a common electrical component that stores energy which can then be released quickly. It’s a more effective version of a battery.
However, they can also fail sometimes and end up tripping the breaker. This is a fairly common occurrence, and they are pretty easy to replace.
But do note that you should exercise extreme caution as capacitors can still hold an electrical charge long after the power supply to the machine has been cut.
7. Short circuit of a high-voltage diode
The diodes in the microwave are comprised of eight stacked diodes, otherwise known as HV (high voltage diodes). These can often short circuit or leak electricity which can easily cause an electrical problem in the microwave, which will, in turn, trip the breaker.
The faulty HV diodes will need to be replaced.
8. Faulty transformer
The transformer is an essential part of the microwave that takes the electrical current supplied by your home and amplifies it to a much higher voltage.
This is then used to power the microwave’s magnetron and other electrical components.
This transformer is also directly connected to the appliance’s ground, so when there is an electrical fault or the transformer becomes defective, it will blow a fuse or trip the circuit—effectively breaking the microwave.
9. The timer has become jammed
Many older microwaves use a mechanical timer (remember the old ticking sound). But these days, microwaves almost exclusively use digital electronic timers to interface with the control panel and receive instructions.
Sometimes the contacts on the timer can become corroded or damaged, which causes the circuit to trip the breaker.
If the timer is faulty, it will need to be replaced.
10. It’s not on a dedicated circuit
We often use dedicated circuits on our home’s electrical panel to serve just one appliance specifically. For example, an air conditioner usually will have its spot on the grid so it can be turned off easily at the source.
Microwaves are powerful machines and usually require their 20-amp circuit to be safe from overload.
If you find it trips the breaker often, you may not have it on its circuit and should move it over to one.
How to fix Frigidaire Microwave Tripping Breaker
Most of the time, this problem is caused by a component failure which usually results in an electrical leak or surge, which then trips the circuit breaker.
In most scenarios addressing or replacing the component in question is enough to restore functionality to the microwave, thus preventing it from tripping the breaker.
Let’s look at how this is done based on which component is causing the problem.
1. Fix the electricity supply
Unfortunately, the cable being physically wired into the microwave is not as simple as just purchasing a new cable.
You can first check it’s not just the fuse that’s blown. If it has, then that can be replaced. If it’s not, you will need to open up the casing of the microwave and remove the previous cable and wire the replacement into it.
If you are not confident in doing this yourself, you will need an electrician to do it.
2. Fix or replace the turntable motor
You can test if the turntable motor works using a multimeter in the ohm meter mode.
- Start by disconnecting the microwave from the power
- Discharge the capacitors to ensure it’s safe to handle
- You can locate the turntable motor from the bottom of the microwave
- Disconnect all the connectors and use the multimeter on each side of the terminals of the motor
If the motor is not working, then this, too, will need to be replaced with a working one
3. Replace the broken interference suppressor
The interference suppressor is a much easier device to diagnose as faulty or not. You can listen to the sound of the microwave while it’s in operation.
If it’s much louder than usual, it indicates that it’s broken and should be replaced.
4. Fix the door latch
The first thing to check is that the door is still latching. This is reasonably easy to test, as you should be able to feel the physical click of the door as it closes. Pull on the door gently to check there is some resistance.
If the door is physically latching, it may indicate there is a problem with the smaller switches that inform the microwave that the door is closed.
These ‘microswitches’ can be tested with a multimeter; if any are defective, they should be replaced.
5. Fix the magnetron’s electrical leak
The magnetron is a critical component of the functionality of the microwave. To ascertain whether there is an electrical leak, place one of the multimeter probes on the outer casing of the magnetron and the other one on the connection terminals.
You will need to test each of these terminals individually, and if any of them are not obtaining values, this confirms the electrical leak.
Ensure the device is disconnected and the capacitors have been discharged before working with the magnetron.
If the magnetron is not functional, it will need to be replaced.
6. Replace the faulty capacitors
When a capacitor has gone bad, you can still check it with a multimeter, but you can also inspect it visually. You should see a bulge on the top of the capacitor.
If you notice any bulging on the microwave capacitors, you can replace each one that has gone bad.
7. Replace the HV Diode
If the high-voltage diode is short-circuiting or leaking electricity, it can end up causing more damage inside the microwave. As these components are cheap and easy to replace, we recommend purchasing new ones and installing them.
8. Replace the broken transformer
Suppose the transformer has gone bad or is defective, although you can technically purchase a new one and wire it in yourself, as this is such a dangerous component and should be handled with care. In that case, we highly recommend contacting a trained electrician to do this for you.
It’s far too dangerous to do this yourself, and you risk electrocution if you do it incorrectly.
9. The timer has broken
The old analog timers were usually relatively easy to diagnose and repair on a component level. However, as small sensors need to communicate with the microwave on the newer digital ones, we recommend just replacing the component as it’s pretty cheap to do so.
10. Swap it for a dedicated circuit
If your microwave is on a shared circuit with other devices, it can cause many issues. The microwave will perform much better if you swap it over to its dedicated circuit, as other devices may cause it to keep tripping the beaker.