How to Resolve Samsung Microwave SE Error Code

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The SE error code on a Samsung microwave means there is a problem with the touchpad or control board. In most cases, the error is caused by a stuck button or a dirty ribbon cable. In more serious cases, the control board may have a fault that can only be fixed by replacing the control board.

The SE error code can be dangerous, as sometimes when there is an SE error, the microwave will turn on by itself. If the microwave is doing this, make sure to disconnect the power until the issue is fixed. The SE error code is usually accompanied by the microwave beeping several times. Opening and closing the microwave door can provide a temporary fix for this issue.

This guide applies to the following models:

MR5471G

MR6471G

MU4270W

MW1010

MW3252T

MW4271G

SMH7174BCXAA

SMH7174CC/XAA

SMH7174WCXAA

SMH7174WEXAA

SMH7175BCXAA

SMH7175CCXAA

SMH7175WCXAA

SMH7178STDXAA

SMH7178STEXAA

SMH7185STGXAA

SMH9187BXAA

SMH9187STXAA

SMH9187WXAA

SMV9165BCXAA

SMV9165SCXAA

Safety Warning

Repairing a microwave is more dangerous than repairing other household appliances because of the high-voltage capacitor inside the microwave. The high-voltage capacitor can store a lethal amount of electricity, even after the microwave has been disconnected from the power for several months. To safely access internal electrical components, the capacitor must be discharged.

Depending on the type of microwave and your level of microwave repair knowledge, it may be possible to repair the control panel or control board without touching components associated with the high-voltage capacitor; however, you would be risking fatal electrocution.

To Discharge the High-Voltage Capacitor

The capacitor can be discharged by touching both the positive and negative terminals of the capacitor with a metal screwdriver blade. You must insulate yourself against electrocution, and the terminals must be touched by the metal blade at the same time. You could use either a flat-edge screwdriver with a rubber handle or needle-nose pliers with rubber handles.

Try a Reset

Before attempting the solutions below, try resetting the microwave to resolve the error code. To reset the microwave, disconnect it from the power for 60 seconds. If the error code was a glitch, the microwave should work normally after a reset. However, if the error code returns, follow the advice below to diagnose and fix the issue.

Clean the Touchpad / Control Panel

Occasionally, the SE error code is caused by the control board failing to detect that buttons are being pressed because the control panel is dirty. Cleaning the control panel and then drying it may resolve the issue.

Stuck Keys / Faulty Touchpad

The SE error code is often caused by a stuck key or a faulty touchpad. The microwave’s touchpad is a membrane switch, which consists of two flexible layers of Mylar plastic with a conductive coating on the sides that face each other. Pressing a key on your microwave keypad brings the two surfaces together, which closes the circuit and sends a signal to the control board.

Over time, the conductive coating on the membrane switch can wear out, particularly with frequently used keys. The control panel and touchpad can be tested with a multimeter; however, you will need the wiring diagram and the ability to interpret the multimeter readings. If the touchpad is causing the SE error code, it is recommended that the touchpad be replaced.

Dirty Ribbon Cable

Before replacing the touchpad, clean the ribbon connector on the control board. Cleaning the ribbon cable often resolves the SE error code. The ribbon cable can be cleaned using rubbing alcohol and a pencil eraser (see instructions below).

Defective Control Board

If the touchpad or ribbon cable is not causing the SE error code, the control board is likely defective and will need to be replaced. The microwave control board receives input signals from the touchpad. Depending on the input signals, the control board then sends signals to the relevant microwave components. If the control board is not acting on the signals from the keypad, it suggests that the control board is defective.

The control board can be visually checked for damage. If there are burn marks, corrosion, or damaged wiring, the control board will likely need to be replaced. The control board can also be tested with a multimeter to determine if it needs to be replaced. However, a control board multimeter test is more complicated than a typical multimeter test. Like the touchpad, you will need the wiring diagram and the ability to interpret the multimeter readings. Because it is difficult to test and difficult to repair, most repair services recommend replacing the control board over trying to repair it.

To Check the Touchpad, Ribbon Connector, and Control Board

On most microwaves, the touchpad is a part of the front control panel, and the entire panel will need to be removed and replaced if the touchpad is defective.

  1. Remember the safety warning. The high-voltage capacitor can contain fatal amounts of electricity and should be discharged to avoid the risk of electrocution.
  2. Disconnect the microwave from the power source.
  3. Access the control panel mounting screw. Accessing the mounting screw will depend upon the type of microwave you have. You may need to remove the grille or remove the microwave casing first.
  4. Unscrew the control panel mounting screw.
  5. Take a photo to remember how the control board connects to the main control board before disconnecting any cables.
  6. Before detaching the control panel, you will need to unscrew the grounding wire and disconnect the cables connected to the control board. Some of the cables can be removed by gently pulling them up, while others may have a locking tab attached to them that needs to be squeezed to release the cable.

Check the Ribbon Cable

After you have accessed the control panel, one of the wires that needs to be disconnected is the ribbon cable.

  1. Disconnect the ribbon cable by pulling up on the release lock near the circuit board; then pull out the ribbon cable. Remember the location of the red stripe on the ribbon cable to ensure the cable will be reconnected correctly.
  2. Use a pencil eraser to rub over the connectors on the ribbon cable. Some rubbing alcohol can also be applied to the connector to assist with cleaning.
  3. Dry the connector.

Check the Control Board

  1. Remove the screws that secure the control board to the control panel.
  2. Depending on the microwave, you may need to depress the retaining tabs first before removing the control board.
  3. Check the control board for signs of damage.
  4. Clean the control board with compressed air and a dry cloth.

Conclusion

After you have cleaned the ribbon connector and control board, reconnect the cables and reassemble the microwave. If the SE error remains, replace the touchpad or control panel. If the SE error remains, replace the main control board. Due to the safety risk and complexity of the testing and repair, it is recommended that a trained professional replace the touchpad or control board.

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