Samsung microwaves are known for their innovative features and reliability. However, like any appliance, they can develop issues over time. One common error code that pops up is the SE error, indicating a problem with the touchpad or control board.
Fortunately, there are several troubleshooting steps you can take to resolve this error code yourself without a costly service call. This guide will walk you through how to properly diagnose the issue and fix your Samsung microwave SE error code.
What Causes the Samsung Microwave SE Error Code?
The SE error code on Samsung microwaves is triggered when the control board is having issues detecting button presses on the touchpad. There are a few common causes:
- Stuck Button – Food, grease or dirt can get lodged under the membrane buttons, causing one to stick down. This confuses the control board.
- Faulty Touchpad – The touchpad consists of two thin plastic sheets that connect when a button is pressed. Over time, the conductive coating can wear out, especially on frequently used buttons.
- Dirty Ribbon Cable – The ribbon cable connects the touchpad to the control board. Grease and dirt on the cable connectors can interrupt the signal.
- Defective Control Board – If the above components check out, the main control board itself may be defective and need replacement.
Dangers of Microwave Repairs
Before digging into the interior of your microwave, it’s crucial to understand the hazards involved. There is a high voltage capacitor that can retain a lethal electrical charge even when unplugged.
To avoid electrocution, the capacitor should be safely discharged before touching any internal components. Unless you’re highly experienced with appliance repairs, it’s advisable to leave this to a professional service technician.
If you do wish to attempt the repair yourself, extreme caution is required when working near the capacitor and wiring. Make sure to unplug the microwave and follow proper safety procedures. Never reach blindly around internal components.
Troubleshooting Steps for Samsung SE Error Code
Follow these steps to troubleshoot the issue in a safe and logical order:
1. Reset the Microwave
Before taking anything apart, try the simple reset:
- Unplug the microwave from the power outlet.
- Wait at least 60 seconds.
- Plug it back in and see if the SE error returns.
This can re-calibrate the control board and clear any glitches.
2. Clean the Touchpad and Control Panel
Grime on the touchpad buttons can cause electrical issues. To clean:
- Unplug the microwave. Safety first!
- Mix a solution of warm water and mild soap.
- Dampen a soft cloth in the solution, then wring it out thoroughly.
- Carefully wipe down the touchpad and control panel.
- Dry the surface thoroughly with a lint-free cloth.
This can dislodge any stuck food or debris causing buttons to stick.
3. Inspect Ribbon Cable
If cleaning didn’t work, the ribbon cable connecting the touchpad may be dirty.
- Unplug the microwave.
- Remove the outer casing to access the ribbon cable.
- Disconnect the cable from the control board.
- Inspect the cable and connectors for any corrosion or damage.
- Clean the connectors gently with a pencil eraser and/or rubbing alcohol.
- Dry thoroughly and reconnect the cable.
Be very gentle when handling the ribbon cable to avoid any tears or crimps.
4. Check Control Board
If you’ve gotten this far without resolving the SE error, it’s likely an issue with the control board itself.
- Unplug the microwave.
- Open the case and locate the control board.
- Check for any burnt components or physical damage.
- Remove the control board screws to pull it out.
- Inspect the back and front for damage.
- Clean entire board with compressed air.
If you see any apparent damage, the board likely needs professional repair or replacement.
When to Call a Service Technician
While the steps above can resolve many SE error causes, if the issue persists, it’s best to call in a service pro. Trained technicians have specialized equipment to safely discharge the capacitor and properly diagnose control board issues.
They also have access to manufacturer part replacements. Do not attempt to replace the control board on your own without the proper training and electrical knowledge.
Microwave repair professionals typically charge $200-$300 for SE error code fixes. While not cheap, this is likely less than the cost of a brand new microwave.
DIY Microwave Control Board Replacement
If you wish to attempt replacing the control board yourself, extreme care is required.
Here is a general overview of the process:
- Unplug microwave and discharge capacitor correctly.
- Remove outer casing.
- Label and disconnect all interior wiring and components from board.
- Remove board mounting screws.
- Install new replacement control board.
- Carefully reconnect wiring and components.
- Reinstall casing and plug in microwave.
- Test operation.
Always follow microwave-specific repair guides for your model. Incorrect handling of the electrical components can result in severe injury or death. Hire a professional unless you are fully trained in microwave repair.
Preventing Future SE Errors
You can practice a few habits to avoid recurrence of the SE error code:
- Keep microwave interior clean and dry. Wipe up any spills immediately.
- Use microwave-safe containers to prevent food from leaking onto touchpad.
- Do not overload the microwave, which can lead to grease splatter on controls.
- When reheating very greasy foods, cover them to reduce mess.
- Unplug and carefully clean the microwave interior every few months.
With proper care and maintenance, your Samsung microwave should give you many years of service without pesky SE errors!
Frequently Asked Questions about Fixing Samsung Microwave SE Error
Is it safe to try and fix the SE error myself?
No, microwave repair involves high voltage parts that can cause severe electric shock or death if mishandled. Leave it to trained professionals unless you have specialized electrical training.
How much does it cost to fix the SE error code?
You can expect to pay $200-$300 for professional SE error diagnosis and repair. The exact cost depends on parts needed.
What’s the easiest DIY fix for SE error code?
First try unplugging the microwave for 1 minute then plugging back in. Also use mild soap and water to gently clean the touchpad and control panel.
Why does my microwave start by itself with the SE error?
This is a serious safety issue – unplug immediately. It means the touchpad is faulty and activating internal components randomly.
How do I discharge the capacitor to work on a microwave safely?
Using insulated tools, touch both terminals of the capacitor at the exact same time to discharge it. This should only be done by professionals – it can be fatal if done incorrectly.
Does the SE error mean I need a new microwave?
Not necessarily. In many cases, the SE error can be resolved by replacing a cheaper part like the touchpad or control board, saving the cost of a whole new microwave.
What is the ribbon cable in a Samsung microwave?
The ribbon cable connects the touchpad and buttons to the control board. Detach and clean this cable to potentially fix the SE error.
Why does my Samsung microwave have an SE error even after replacing the control board?
If the error persists after a control board replacement, there may be an underlying issue with the power supply unit. This would require professional diagnosis and repair.
The Samsung microwave SE error code certainly can be frustrating, but armed with the right information, you can potentially resolve the issue yourself without an expensive appliance repair bill.
Start with simple solutions like resetting the microwave and cleaning the touchpad. Then work up to inspecting interior components like the ribbon cable and control board.
While control board or touchpad replacement is possible as a DIY project, extreme care must be taken when working with the high voltage parts inside a microwave oven. Trust your safety to a professional technician unless you have electrical training.
With TLC and proper maintenance, your Samsung microwave should be reheating leftovers and popping popcorn for years to come!