I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been late to work because the clock on my microwave stopped working. Even if you don’t rely on the microwave to tell you the time, it’s still good to have your microwave display it in good working order.

Microwave clock that keeps resetting is typically letting you know there’s a bigger problem here. The clock on your microwave acts as a kind of a warning sign that lets you know when there’s some kind of electrical problem going on in your kitchen.

One of the most common causes of a microwave clock that keeps resetting itself is a power outage. Your microwave clock can also start to have problems if your microwave’s power supply, control board, or display screen are starting to break down. It could also be an issue with the settings.

Let’s not waste any more time and get right to the solutions for repairing your microwave clock.

What You’ll Need

The good news here is that you’re just going to need some standard around the house tools to fix your microwave. However, there’s a slight twist with the kind of tools you need. You’re going to need the electrician’s version of standard tools.

Electrician’s screwdrivers and other tools have an additional rubber coating that helps reduce the risk of electric shock. We’ll talk about this in just a second, but a microwave is one of the few household appliances that still holds a serious electric charge even when it’s unplugged.

Here’s what you’ll need. 

  1. Electricians Screwdrivers 
  2. Electricians Pliers 
  3. Multimeter
  4. High Voltage Capacitor Discharge Tool
  5. Replacement Parts
  6. Owner’s Manual 

The Big Microwave Repair Safety Tip

Inside your microwave there’s a part known as a high voltage capacitor. This is a common part in household appliances—especially ones that command short bursts of high-power. High voltage electric capacitors can still hold a charge even after you’ve unplugged your device.

When working with electricity, it’s always better to be safe than sorry. So the first thing we need to do when we’re fixing our microwave is to discharge the high-voltage capacitor. This applies to all of our fixes that have you opening up the microwave to replace a part or check a connection.

Here is how it works.

  1. Use your electrician screwdrivers to open up the back panel on the microwave
  2. Locate your high voltage capacitor based on the information in your owner’s manual
  3. Use the electrician’s pliers to carefully remove both connections from the capacitor but leave the ground connection intact
  4. Discharge your high voltage capacitor using a multimeter or a high voltage capacitor discharge tool
  5. You’re now ready to move on to some of the more intensive DIY repairs on today’s list 

5 Tips for Setting Your Microwave Clock

We’re going to start the fixes for your microwave clock starting with the easiest and working our way to some of the more complicated DIY repairs.

1. Set Your Time 

Our first fix should go without saying, but you’d be surprised at how often a handyman gets called out only to find out that the clock was never properly set in the first place. Your clock could also need to be reset after things like leaving your microwave unplugged or a power outage.

Setting the time on your microwave will change from brand to brand. However, you’re probably going to find a button labeled either clock or time near your microwave’s controls. You should be able to either press or hold this button until the time on your microwave starts flashing with all zeros.

All you have to do then is enter the time into your microwave and press the enter button. The answer button might also be labeled as “okay” or “start.”

Man pressing start button on a microwave
After you’ve adjusted the time, you need to press the enter button that sometimes is labeled as “start”.

2. Short Power Outages

Did you know that a power outage will knock out the settings of your microwave clock? This is because the clock in your microwave is directly tied to the AC power current. When that power current gets interrupted for long enough, the clock on your microwave will reset to 00:00.

This could even be a very short power outage. If you live in a townhome, apartment complex, or other kinds of multi family homes, these short power outages occur during the day. These might interfere with the operation of your microwave clock.

There can also be power outages coming in from your electricity company. These might be happening during the day while you’re at work or can even be as short as when you go out to check the mail. If you find your microwave clock keeps resetting for no reason and none of these other fixes work, you should get in touch with your power company.

There could be problems with the power lines leading into your home. This is something that a local power company is going to need to look into. 

3. Busted Power Supply 

The power cord that leads into your microwave from the outlet in the wall could also be the source of the problem. If this cord is damaged, it could be leading to shorts that are resetting your microwaves clock. Here’s how you can replace your microwave’s power supply.

  1. Unplug your microwave
  2. Use your electricians screwdriver to remove the back panel from your microwave
  3. Use the steps we mentioned above to safely discharge the high-voltage capacitor
  4. Locate the cable harness that connects the power supply into the rest of the microwave and disconnect it
  5. Screw the wire that goes from the power supply into the ground that connects to the metal base of the microwave
  6. Feed your new power supply into its housing
  7. Attach the grounding wire with the screw back to the metal case of the microwave
  8. Plug in the power supply cable harness back into the microwave
  9. Reattach the back panel of your microwave
  10. Plug your microwave back in
  11.  Try to reset your clock 

4. Defective Controller 

If the power supply cord wasn’t the problem, it could be a defective controller. Is actually a very small computer inside of your microwave. Even the oldest electric microwaves have a basic computer inside of them that helps them control their functions. One of these functions is the microwave clock.

Here’s how you can replace a defective controller in your microwave.

  1. Unplug your microwave
  2. Unscrew the back panel on your microwave
  3. Discharge your high voltage capacitor
  4. Locate your control board. This could either be inside the body of the microwave or behind the front control panel
  5. Unclog a new cable harnesses that connect to the control board
  6. Unscrew the control board from its housing
  7. Unpack your new control board and Seed it in the old control board’s housing
  8. Screw the new control board in
  9.  Attach any table harnesses to the new control board
  10.  Reattach your microwaves back panel
  11.  Plug your microwave in
  12.  Reset the clock on your microwave 

5. Broken Display Panel 

Microwave Display Panel
Replacing the control panel and display on a microwave is actually one of the more simple repairs you can make.

The last fix we need to look at is the display panel itself. When a display panel brakes, it might not shut off entirely. It might just be unable to display the current or correct time.

Here’s how you can quickly replace an old display panel on a microwave.

  1. The display panel on your microwave is typically connected to the control panel
  2. Unplug your microwave
  3. Unscrew the back panel of your microwave
  4. Unscrew the control panel from its housing
  5. Unplug the control board from any cable harnesses if it’s attached to your microwave’s control panel
  6. Unscrew the control board of from the control panel and set it aside
  7. Unpack your new control panel
  8. Reattach the old a control board to your new control panel
  9. Screw the control panel back into its housing
  10.  Reattach the back panel of your microwave
  11.  Plug your microwave back in
  12.  Reset the clock on your microwave 

Microwave Clock FAQ

The microwave clock is a mysterious device that has long confused homeowners. Let’s dispel some of the mysteries around setting this picky and counter-intuitive clock. 

Why is My Microwave Clock Running Fast or Slow?

The clock inside your microwave sets its time based on the frequency of AC current. As long as the frequency stays consistent, your clock is going to run on time. You can try adding a surge protector to your microwave to reduce the likelihood that your microwave clock will start running fast or slow.

How Does a Smart Microwave Work?

Smart microwaves can be integrated into smart home ecosystems. This allows you to control your microwave using Smart home apps such as Amazon Alexa, Apple HomeKit, or Google Assistant. You might even be able to set your smart microwaves clock inside your smartphone app.

What Are Signs Your Microwave is Dying? 

There are a few common signs that your microwave is past its expiration date. If your microwave has trouble heating food or makes a lot of noise while it’s active, it could be ready for replacement. Your microwave should typically be replaced once every 10 years.

Final Thoughts On Your Microwave Clock Conundrum 

There’s a good chance that your microwave’s broken clock is just a problem with the settings or recent power outage. This is one of the easiest problems to fix in your microwave even if you have to repair a broken display panel. Let us know which one of our solutions worked for you.

If you’re looking for more solutions for home appliance repair, check out the other articles below.