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Dangers of dismantling OLD microwave?

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    kss started this thread.
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    Dangers of dismantling OLD microwave?

    Ive searched for a while on the forum, and not finding exactly what I am looking for, figured I would ask. Is there anything "dangerous" in an OLD microwave? I know the magenatrons can have harmful stuff, so I am 100% not even going to touch the magnetron and just leave it where it is.

    But I found a microwave that is old and weighs probably 100lbs. I took the covering off it, and cut out a few pounds of wire. And there is what looks like a 20lb transformer in there I want to get to, some circuit boards, transformers, electric motors (for a vent fan), and other bits.... I just wanted to check before digging into it further, if the magnetron is the only thing to look out for or if there is any other bits to avoid in there specifically in old, large microwaves.

    I took out a massive capacitor too. I know that was dangerous and probably should have been more careful with that as it could still hold a charge.

    I know the user eesakiwi has a few posts on this topic, but I am specifically wondering if the size or oldness might come into play, or have any more/different hazards. This is a hobby to me, and I am all about saftey. If there is even a remote chance of anything hazardous (other than scrapes and cuts from the metal on my arms that heal and come with scrapping of course ) , I dont want any part of it!

    Last edited by kss; 12-03-2019 at 08:59 PM.


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    The insulators inside of the magnetron are made of beryllium,

    DO NOT risk the chance of getting sick with Berylliosis (beryllium disease) because you scratched the insulation!

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Berylliosis

    Beryllium Oxide CPU's?

    https://www.scrapmetalforum.com/.../15144-beryllium-oxide-cpus.html
    6 Feb 2013 ... I have an electronics technician friend who keeps going on about all the older ceramic cpu's are beryllium oxide based whether they are ...

    https://www.scrapmetalforum.com/.../3532-beryllium-copper-tools-mercury. html
    3 Jul 2011 ... Beryllium Copper Tools . And Mercury. Does anyone know where to scrap these? Berylco, Ampco, are common names for these non-sparking ...

    https://www.scrapmetalforum.com/.../32508-inside-mysterious-magnetron
    . html




    26 Feb 2018 ... I dont like those beryllium things. I beleive Mech688 use to call them "the pink pill of death". hobo finds's Avatar. hobo finds said: 02-26-2018 ...

    https://www.scrapmetalforum.com/.../...ave-scrap.html
    9 Sep 2012 ... Beryllium oxide is in that pink thing and it's dust causes cancer. Do not smash it. People may laugh at me, but that's ok. I laugh all the way to the ...

    https://www.scrapmetalforum.com/.../...m-microwaves-2. html
    11 Jan 2013 ... Beryllium copper (BeCu), also known as copper beryllium, beryllium bronze and spring copper, is a copper alloy with 0.5—3% beryllium

    https://www.scrapmetalforum.com/.../...rom-microwaves. html
    9 Jan 2013 ... Beryllium oxide - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Eric. I buy Tantalum Capacitors and offer other services. Check out my thread for more info.

    https://www.scrapmetalforum.com/.../...-metals-radio- transmitter-tube.html
    4 Sep 2012 ... The ceramic part may contain beryllium, and should not be broken when dismantling, as the beryllium dust is hazardous. Log in Full Site Top.

    https://www.scrapmetalforum.com/.../...-plated-cable- connector.html



    3 Mar 2013 ... If the connectors have a "toned" color to them, purples or reds present, it's probably Beryllium Copper. Here are some pictures of connecters ...

    https://www.scrapmetalforum.com/scra...olf-clubs.html
    16 Feb 2012 ... Some club heads are made from beryllium http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beryllium and somewhat popular on Ebay do to the fact that they are not ...

    https://www.scrapmetalforum.com/.../...ng-washer.html
    8 Jul 2014 ... On the magnatron, watch out for the pink beryllium, handle it with gloves and don' t break. Google beryllium and read up on it, Put it in a plastic ...
    Last edited by blackgold12; 12-04-2019 at 03:05 AM.

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    hobo finds's Avatar
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    I remove the marathon and put it with my electric motors. I do not break down the motors just turn in as is. The capacitors can go in with my dirty aluminum and the best thing about a microwave is you have a good container to put your small shred items into. Scrapyards in California do not take microwaves due to the beryllium.
    Better than the dump!

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    kss started this thread.
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    Quote Originally Posted by blackgold12 View Post
    The insulators inside of the magnetron are made of beryllium,

    DO NOT risk the chance of getting sick with Berylliosis (beryllium disease) because you scratched the insulation!

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Berylliosis

    Beryllium Oxide CPU's?

    https://www.scrapmetalforum.com/.../15144-beryllium-oxide-cpus.html
    6 Feb 2013 ... I have an electronics technician friend who keeps going on about all the older ceramic cpu's are beryllium oxide based whether they are ...

    https://www.scrapmetalforum.com/.../3532-beryllium-copper-tools-mercury. html
    3 Jul 2011 ... Beryllium Copper Tools . And Mercury. Does anyone know where to scrap these? Berylco, Ampco, are common names for these non-sparking ...

    https://www.scrapmetalforum.com/.../32508-inside-mysterious-magnetron
    . html




    26 Feb 2018 ... I dont like those beryllium things. I beleive Mech688 use to call them "the pink pill of death". hobo finds's Avatar. hobo finds said: 02-26-2018 ...

    https://www.scrapmetalforum.com/.../...ave-scrap.html
    9 Sep 2012 ... Beryllium oxide is in that pink thing and it's dust causes cancer. Do not smash it. People may laugh at me, but that's ok. I laugh all the way to the ...

    https://www.scrapmetalforum.com/.../...m-microwaves-2. html
    11 Jan 2013 ... Beryllium copper (BeCu), also known as copper beryllium, beryllium bronze and spring copper, is a copper alloy with 0.5—3% beryllium

    https://www.scrapmetalforum.com/.../...rom-microwaves. html
    9 Jan 2013 ... Beryllium oxide - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Eric. I buy Tantalum Capacitors and offer other services. Check out my thread for more info.

    https://www.scrapmetalforum.com/.../...-metals-radio- transmitter-tube.html
    4 Sep 2012 ... The ceramic part may contain beryllium, and should not be broken when dismantling, as the beryllium dust is hazardous. Log in Full Site Top.

    https://www.scrapmetalforum.com/.../...-plated-cable- connector.html



    3 Mar 2013 ... If the connectors have a "toned" color to them, purples or reds present, it's probably Beryllium Copper. Here are some pictures of connecters ...

    https://www.scrapmetalforum.com/scra...olf-clubs.html
    16 Feb 2012 ... Some club heads are made from beryllium http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beryllium and somewhat popular on Ebay do to the fact that they are not ...

    https://www.scrapmetalforum.com/.../...ng-washer.html
    8 Jul 2014 ... On the magnatron, watch out for the pink beryllium, handle it with gloves and don' t break. Google beryllium and read up on it, Put it in a plastic ...

    Thank you for finding all those links for me! I 100% am not going to even go near the magnatron. I will just keep it where it is and send it with shred with the rest of the microwave.

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    kss started this thread.
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    Quote Originally Posted by hobo finds View Post
    I remove the marathon and put it with my electric motors. I do not break down the motors just turn in as is. The capacitors can go in with my dirty aluminum and the best thing about a microwave is you have a good container to put your small shred items into. Scrapyards in California do not take microwaves due to the beryllium.

    Yep my plan is to take the wires, boards, transformers, etc and not touch the magnatron, and then send it as shred. The one yard around me says they dont take them (but I have seen them in their pile before),the other yard is fine with them.

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    Some of the older ones, the inside where you put the food is stainless steel... boy are those a pain to clean.

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    He hasn't chimed in yet, but you'll want to talk with 406Refining- I know he works with microwaves a fair amount
    More than Scrap Value Shipment Tips: http://www.scrapmetalforum.com/scrap...tml#post242349

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    kss started this thread.
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    Quote Originally Posted by matador View Post
    He hasn't chimed in yet, but you'll want to talk with 406Refining- I know he works with microwaves a fair amount

    Thanks I will try to look up some of his posts specifcally and glean some info from them. I probably come across 5-10 microwaves a week, but usually just leave them for someone else because I dont want any chance of chemical exposure or hazardous chemicals (same reason I dont pick up ACs, Fridges, freezers or anything with refrigerant). However this one was just SO big and SO heavy/old I thought.... there may be some goodies in there worth taking it, so I did. I just want to make sure I am in the clear as long as I steer clear of the magnatron.... I may start picking them up when I see them if that truely is the only risk, and it is only a risk if I mess with the magnatron. I had always thought there was more than just that (radiation or some other type of chemicals in there)
    Last edited by kss; 12-04-2019 at 11:59 AM.

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    I've had some luck in the past selling the glass platters and touch pad controls on eBay. Just make sure to get the make and model number before scrapping the unit. Also test the control panels (if possible) before reselling. Good Luck...

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    Yes Diamond, I have sold some of the glass plates on ebay. You also want to set the micro on a plank and plug it in and see if it lights up. If it works, list it for $20 and someone will pick it up. Even if you ****er down for $15, you will be getting way more than scrap.

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    Ill ad but its not really a danger, but some times there are roaches and mice nests in microwaves. Ummm tasty

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    Quote Originally Posted by t00nces2 View Post
    Yes Diamond, I have sold some of the glass plates on ebay. You also want to set the micro on a plank and plug it in and see if it lights up. If it works, list it for $20 and someone will pick it up. Even if you ****er down for $15, you will be getting way more than scrap.

    ... should have thought of this before snipping the cords off the 2 I found today! lol. Oh well, next time.

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    Quote Originally Posted by greytruck View Post
    Ill ad but its not really a danger, but some times there are roaches and mice nests in microwaves. Ummm tasty

    This doesnt really bother me.... when they are sticky with years of caked on food grease though.... THAT is gross.

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    The biggest non-magnetron danger with older microwaves is....to your back lol. Some of those devils are weirdly balanced and just heavy enough to make for awkward lifting

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    I never miss a good opportunity to post this video.

    HILARIOUS!... and a good way to get the copper out of the transformer.

    Use better safety protocol... and check to make sure it's really copper & not copper-plated(?)-aluminum

    Out of clutter, find simplicity. --Albert Einstein

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  22. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by kss View Post
    This doesnt really bother me.....


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    Theres a tiny chance that in really really old microwaves, that they could have a Mercury switch to turn it off if it got tipped over.
    I do think that thats not very likely. They did have a huge amount of safeguards on the first microwave ovens.

    The other possibility would be 'Mercury wetted' Reed switches, & breaking one open by accident, then maybe cutting yourself on the glass, since the Mercury probably wouldn't do much anyway.... Lol.

    The early microwaves had Gold plating on one end of the magnetrons Copper cavity. I have only seen one microwave of this era though.
    The Aluminium cooling fins around the Magnetron are Cast Ali or of a radial design, probably the same units that were made for Microwave RADAR equipment, just sidelined for home/commercial cooking use.

    Also the Magnetrons have a radioactive Thorated ( Thorium metal ) coated Tungsten emitter electrode.
    Its possibly enough radioactivity to set off the Scrapyards radioactive materials detector if its not in the microwave.. or theres a bunch of them in one place.
    Its not dangerously radioactive, its the same stuff that was in the older Gas lighting mantles to make them brighter. It helps 'shake off' the light.
    Same as shaking off the microwaves.

    Also used on some TIG welding electrodes, it helps 'shake off' the arc & stabilises it a bit. Not as common now because any tiny bits of it show up in the weld test Xray photos.

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