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Q & A: cell phone microwave test

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Most recent answer: 11/23/2015
Q:
Is it true that you can test for microwave leakage with a cel phone? I got rid of my old one because my cel phone rang when inside with the door closed. My cel phone didn't ring inside the new one, but it rang last night after son ran microwave empty for a few minutes. I don't want to keep replacing microwaves, but I don't want to be exposed either. Any information would be appreciated.Thanks for your help,Cindy Sanchez
- Cynthia Sanchez (age 52)
NY, NY, USA
A:

This is a very clever idea. I immediately tested my own microwave and my cell phone rang inside it, just like yours.

There are two problems with this test.

The first is that cell phones use a different microwave frequency than ovens, so the oven may block its own frequency better. I didn't think that would matter much, but according to some other sources the seal between the door and the oven is not a general-purpose conducting one but is tuned to work best at the oven's frequency. 

The other problem is just that the phones are very sensitive detectors so even a little leakage will let them ring.  

There are some inexpensive microwave leakage detector available, but according to at least one report they may not be reliable. ()

Since microwaves are not particularly dangerous, many of us just worry abut other things, of which there are plenty. Obviously if there's some reason to think your microwave door is damaged, then that's another matter.

Mike W.


(published on 11/23/2015)

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