How To Scrap A Magnetron

Before reading this you may also want to read How To Scrap A Microwave.

The Magnetron is a device that creates arbitrary microwave radiation from a voltage source. In the case of the microwave oven, it is used to heat our food!

When you pull ones of these magnetrons out of a microwave, you can sell it at motor price along with the transformer. These two work together in a microwave; the transformer steps up the voltage to the correct level for the magnetron to be effective.

A magnetron’s efficiency is about 65%, meaning 65% of the electric power it uses is converted into EM radiation used to cook out food.

As you can see on the left, There is actually very solid components in a magnetron and no digital “electronics” in the modern sense. There are two large magnets in the magnetron, some aluminum fins that function as heat sinks, and a copper core with cavities. This copper core is often too difficult to cut out, so I recommend selling the whole thing at Copper Breakage or Motor price.

A quick warning: The pink/white output antenna ceramics may contain beryllium oxide. This can be very toxic, more so than lead, so dont smash this thing to pieces. This may be the reason a few yards do not accept microwaves all together.

Coolmind March 17, 2011 at 5:29 pm

the magnets are very stong and useful .. worth digging out of the magnetron

The Irrationalist March 17, 2011 at 7:16 pm

While the magnets are large, I don't think they are "very strong." They are probably .5 Telsa or so. If you want some strong magnets, check out the magnets inside of a Scrap Hard Drive.

The hard drive magnets are neodymium magnets, where as the magnetron magnets are cheap and bulky ferrite magnets.

That being said, I have a 3 giant stack of these things, probably over 150.

Michael November 14, 2011 at 6:10 am

Lucky I only have 3 little magnets from disk drives:( I had a hard drive one that shattered:(

Chris Ayars August 10, 2011 at 4:50 am

I sell the magnets at yard sales for a $1 each and have no problem selling every one I can get my hand s on. Love the site. I have learned many things so far and verified information I have already learned in practice. Thanks.

ScrapMetalJunkie August 10, 2011 at 2:37 pm

I’m glad to hear it! Please enjoy the site! Also, if you havn’t done so already, add yourself to the free scrap metal removal classified ads section. It is a great way to get more business, and it has just started up!

Brian August 30, 2011 at 11:55 pm

How do you test to see if a magnetron works?


the rabbit man January 19, 2012 at 8:55 pm

DONT! if you do manage to fire one up, outside of the machine, you will cook yourself from the inside out!!

meme0101 September 2, 2014 at 2:40 pm

That’s a little bit over-reactive. You won’t exactly cook yourself. (I had a functioning magnetron/transformer,capacitor setup in my room once to try and figure out why an old microwave wasn’t working. I never did figure it out, cause 1, all the essential parts *were* working, and 2, I accidentally brushed by the cap on the day it finally built up a full charge and abandoned my experiment shortly thereafter) 😉

BUT, you may give yourself cancer if you don’t have a functioning waveguide (direct *away*from your vicinity,naturally.) Years later, I did develop a benign tumor in my jawbone. Benign,but it still sucked. January 7, 2017 at 3:52 pm

Microwave radiation is non-ionizing, so there is no risk of cancer, just burning yourself.

St. McB March 6, 2012 at 7:13 am

Concerning determining a functioning magnetron. It’s not practical to test functionality of a magnetron, but you can determine funtionality of the parts that lead to it (transformer, capacitors & diodes) by hooking your terminals that would attach to the magnetron to a ceramic resistor instead. if it heats up or destroys then your other parts are probably working & the magnetron is bad. that being said it is better to test the functionality of these parts & their cables individually with proper equipment.

John Crowder July 23, 2012 at 11:00 am

When replacing magnetron magnets are they to be placed magnetic side towards the tip both of them or are they to be placed opposite for resistance when assembled. How are they positioned for assembly?

Bill September 25, 2012 at 5:10 pm

What do you do with the beryllium oxide after it is separated?


Travis Cruz November 18, 2012 at 2:19 am

Is the magnatron valuable?

ScrapMetalJunkie November 20, 2012 at 10:32 am

It depends on the model of the microwave, if i still works, etc… As far as scrap value, it isn’t worth much more than an equally heavy electric motor.

Elretardo January 31, 2013 at 3:02 pm

i find microwaves (along w/ lots of other appliances) alot, but never knew they could be such $$$ in my pockets. Any other appliances i should be on-the-lookout for??? ->rookie scrapper

Elretardo January 31, 2013 at 3:06 pm

also looking for a safe and practical way to smelt computer components… Any ideas???

Johnathan January 22, 2014 at 2:33 am

How do you get copper out?

vinay August 3, 2015 at 9:30 am

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