It can be a headache when your microwave display flickers; it makes it difficult to set timers or check the clock for the time. What causes the display to flicker, and is it dangerous?
A microwave display flickers from a loose display connector cable, a faulty display board, short-circuiting, a blown electrical fuse, a damaged power supply, or because it’s not plugged in all the way. Flickering displays are generally safe and can sometimes be fixed by unplugging the microwave for 30 seconds and then plugging it back in.
This post explains why the microwave display may flicker, whether it is worth fixing, and how to stop it from flashing.
Is a flickering microwave display dangerous (or normal)?
If the display does not work properly, you’ll likely find it difficult to set the cooking times accurately or even confirm the selected program. Other than that, is it cause for real concern?
A flickering microwave display is generally not dangerous, as the causes are minor and typically don’t risk electrical fires. Flickering caused by a faulty outlet, however, is dangerous. Replacing the outlet will not only stop the microwave’s display from flickering but also reduce fire risk.
The flickering display on microwaves can be normal with older models. The LED board inside can wear out over time, causing an intermittent glitchy display of numbers or letters.
A flickering or flashing light on the inside of the microwave is another issue that can be caused by a loose or burnt-out light bulb.
Contact the supplier if it is still under warranty or a qualified microwave technician if you do not have the skills and cannot follow the safety precautions the manufacturer recommends.
6 reasons your microwave display flickers (and what to do)
Flickering microwave displays are a hassle. They make it difficult to set the timer and power level, leaving you wondering if you just put food in for 20 seconds or 20 minutes. What causes them to flicker, and how do you fix it?
Be cautious when fixing electrical appliances; if you get an electric shock when you touch your microwave, call a professional maintenance specialist.
Here are 6 reasons your microwave display flickers:
- The display connector cable is loose
- The display board is faulty
- The microwave short-circuited from water damage
- It has a blown electrical fuse
- The power supply is damaged
- It’s not plugged in all the way
The display connector cable is loose
The display screen may flicker on and off if the connector plug is not fitted firmly in the socket.
To fix it, you’ll need to firmly plug the connector from the display to the socket on the microwave.
Unplug the microwave and remove the front casing. Locate the display connector on the control board (usually in the top right corner of the microwave) and make sure it’s plugged in all the way.
Then, put the cover back on the microwave and test to see if it still flickers.
The display board is faulty
Rather than the faulty display connector, the entire board could have issues. Flickering microwave displays can come from a malfunctioning display board. This board sits directly behind the numbers and clock on your microwave’s casing.
Other common issues correlated with a faulty board include buttons not working or the display not lighting up. To fix this, you must replace the display board or test the microwave oven’s power supply. You can soft-test the power supply by confirming the microwave turns on.
It short-circuited from water damage
Short-circuiting can cause the power supply and any other electrical components in a microwave to stop working completely, including its display.
Flickering displays could mean your microwave received water damage. This can happen from spilling water on the microwave or even from excess humidity in the air.
It has a blown electrical fuse
Electric fuses are designed to blow in an emergency to prevent excess voltage from running through the microwave and reduce the risk of fires. If your microwave has a blown fuse, it could cause the display to flicker.
If the fuse is blown, there is not enough power brought to the microwave’s display, causing it to either not light up fully or flicker.
Fix this by replacing the electrical fuse. Turn off the microwave and unplug it. Then, wait a few minutes until removing the face of the microwave.
Check inside to see if the fuse has burn marks or is broken. After confirming it’s broken, replace it with a fuse that fits your microwave model.
It’s critical to replace the fuse correctly. Make sure it fits your microwave model and is installed correctly.
The power supply is damaged
The power supply in your microwave could be damaged, causing the display to flicker or not turn on at all. Microwaves with faulty fans or ventilation can cause the power supply to overheat.
Overheating can damage the wiring inside the microwave’s power supply, resulting in a flickering display.
Aside from causing the display to flicker, a failed power supply can cause the microwave to shut off on its own or not start.
Replacing the power supply is generally cheaper than buying a new microwave but requires a careful hand. Call a microwave repair service or contact your microwave model’s seller for support.
It’s not plugged in all the way (check the outlet, too)
If your microwave isn’t plugged in all the way, the display could flicker when it turns on or even if when it’s off.
Check if your microwave’s power cord is fit firmly into the wall outlet. If it is, then there’s another issue causing the display to flicker.
If you try to plug the cord in all the way, but it keeps falling out of the outlet, the outlet could be the reason the microwave’s display is flickering. In this case, replace the outlet immediately — loose electrical outlets are extremely dangerous for anything to be plugged into.
Test this by plugging the microwave into a different outlet. If the display doesn’t flicker and everything runs smoothly, then there’s nothing wrong with your microwave, and it’s the outlet you need to repair.
Is it worth fixing a flickering microwave display?
This depends on the cost of parts and labor to fix the display. Weigh your options before fixing the flickering display or buying a new microwave altogether.
A standard 1.6 cubic feet microwave costs about $150-200. If the repair costs are nearly as much as that, then it is more worth purchasing a new one with a warranty than repairing the old one.
Most microwave parts are cheap and can be replaced. However, hiring a professional to fix them can be costly.
Consider whether or not you can make the fixes yourself before deciding whether or not it’s worth it to buy a new one.
How to fix when your microwave display flickers
The fix may be easy; for example, in the case of a loose display cable connector, making sure that it is firmly seated in the socket can stabilize the display.
Cycling the microwave power off, waiting for at least 30 seconds, then turning it back on might stop the flicker.
If this fails to work, contact an authorized service technician for assistance.
Always follow the manufacturer’s recommended safety guidelines when repairing the microwave.
Why a microwave display may be showing strange characters
Microwaves often have built-in error codes that show up on the display when something goes wrong internally.
A microwave may show strange characters to inform of an error. The error code can show numbers, letters, or a combination of symbols. Consult the microwave’s user manual to diagnose what an error code means.
You can also search for the error code online.
Simply type your microwave’s make and model into a web browser, followed by the error code shown on the display. This will likely bring you to your microwave seller’s website, where you can find an answer or contact customer support.
Summary of Microwave display flickering and what to do
If the microwave display flickers, it could be because the display connector cable is loose, the display board is faulty, it is short-circuited, there’s a blown electrical fuse, the power supply is damaged, or it’s not plugged in all the way.
Most of these reasons are not a major cause for concern, but if you find the outlet you’re using is loose, stop using it and replace it immediately.
Compare the costs of fixing it to purchasing a new one with a warranty. It may be better to get a new one with a warranty rather than buying replacement parts or hiring a professional to fix it.