How does a MOT (microwave oven transformer) work

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A Microwave Oven Transformer (MOT) is a type of high-voltage transformer commonly found in microwave ovens. Its primary function is to convert the standard household voltage (e.g., 120V or 230V AC) to the high voltage needed to power the microwave’s magnetron, which generates the microwaves used for cooking. The MOT operates on the principles of electromagnetic induction.

Here’s how a Microwave Oven Transformer works:

1. Primary Coil: The primary coil of the MOT is wound with a few hundred turns of thick copper wire. It’s connected to the household AC power supply. When the AC voltage is applied to the primary coil, it creates an alternating magnetic field around the coil.

2. Iron Core: The primary coil is wound around an iron core, which helps to concentrate and enhance the magnetic field produced by the coil. The core is often made of laminated sheets of iron to reduce eddy currents that can result from rapid changes in magnetic flux.

3. Secondary Coil: The secondary coil of the MOT is wound with a significantly larger number of turns of thinner wire compared to the primary coil. This secondary coil is connected to the magnetron, the component responsible for generating microwave radiation.

4. Electromagnetic Induction: When the alternating current flows through the primary coil, it generates a changing magnetic field in the iron core. This changing magnetic field induces a voltage in the secondary coil through electromagnetic induction. The induced voltage is determined by the ratio of turns between the primary and secondary coils.

5. High Voltage Output: The secondary coil of the MOT generates a much higher voltage than the primary coil due to the turns ratio. This high voltage can be several thousand volts or more, depending on the specific design of the transformer.

6. Voltage Regulation: Some MOTs include additional components such as diodes and capacitors to rectify and smooth the high voltage output, ensuring a more stable and suitable supply of power to the magnetron.

7. High Voltage Applications: The high-voltage output from the secondary coil is used to power the magnetron, which generates microwave radiation by utilizing the interaction of electrons with the electromagnetic field within the microwave resonant cavity. This radiation heats and cooks food in the microwave oven.

Safety Note: Due to the high voltage output and potential hazards associated with working on MOTs, it’s important to exercise extreme caution when dealing with these transformers. Even after the microwave oven is unplugged, the high voltage stored in the transformer’s secondary winding can remain hazardous. Avoid tampering with the transformer unless you have the necessary knowledge and safety precautions.

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