What’s Up with Samsung Microwaves?
My Samsung built-in microwave oven stopped working the other day.
And we haven’t even had it for two years!
Now I know humanity has been able to feed itself for most of its existence without this water molecule-stimulating tech.
(My mom did just fine without it while I was growing up and actually refused to ever try one. She claimed it was unnecessary.)
But I’ve got to admit; they’re pretty darn convenient.
90 seconds to warmed-up leftovers is hard to beat.
So doing without wasn’t quite as disruptive as replacing our dishwasher.
(Doing dishes by hand? Horrors!!)
But after a day of rediscovering the power of pure fire, it was time to put on my inspector badge and my Mr. Fix It tool belt.
The Mystery of the “SE” Code
I wasn’t present at the exact moment my young microwave went on the fritz.
(Samsung model SMH 9187 ST)
However, its aftermath glow simply displayed two letters above the keypad: ‘SE.’
I went online to look the code up, and ‘Ms. Samsung’ from the Samsung support site explained it means “Short Error” on the keypad.
Of course, her first recommended fix was for the owner to unplug the microwave and plug it back in…
(Does that ever really work, Ms. Samsung? It might be a temporary fix, but what problem like this ever goes away for good…?)
Next… She broke the bad news that it was time to replace the control circuit board behind the keypad.
Fix It Yourself?
I’m apparently in good company with other owners of this Samsung model experiencing the exact same issue…
One enterprising guy posted a YouTube video on how he ‘MacGyvered’ the problem: He opened up his microwave’s guts, pulled out all the ribbon cables and chips from the keypad circuit board, cleaned the connections and then put everything back together.
Then, I found another YouTube video where a Starfleet engineer-in-training also pulled apart his microwave oven and bought a replacement circuit board from Sears Direct for $35.
So I applaud these efforts, but I also read some disturbing warnings online about the lurking dangers inside a microwave. Specifically something called the ‘capacitor,’ which stores additional voltage, even if the microwave is unplugged.
Do It Yourself has a microwave oven repair 101 page which explains how to discharge the capacitor with a screw driver and jumper wires.
Doc Emmett Brown might not shy away from this electrical challenge, but I think I missed his high school class the day he reviewed ‘Flux Capacitors’ and ‘gigawatts.’
So I decided to pursue a different course…
Time to Call Samsung
We’ve owned this microwave oven for just 21 months, and of course the warrantee ran out after 12. And no, I didn’t buy the extended warrantee.
But, hey… a microwave should last longer than 630 days, right?
And it was clear there’s a boatload of other people out there with the same problem.
It was time to call Samsung and ask for a little love.
The challenge would be not paying half as much for a repair visit as it would cost to buy a brand new unit…
Five Steps to Successful Phone Support
Now I can’t guarantee this will always work for you, but here are a few tips how to act when you call up ‘800-Help Me…My Microwave is Broken.’
1. Ask Nicely
Face it: Your unit is out of warrantee.
Acting all angry and injured will get you nowhere.
It’s going to be an uphill battle, and you’d better be nice.
Remember that hard-to-get date? Yeah… like that.
2. Ask Twice
When I called Samsung, the phone rep said there was no recall on my microwave, and there was nothing she could offer other than to schedule a repair appointment at full price.
I calmly asked if there was anything at all Samsung could do to ‘work with me,’ since the web was a flurry with so many other customer stories with the same problem.
She said she could bump my question up to a service manager, and I gladly accepted that option.
3. Do Your Research
When I spoke to ‘the manager,’ I felt prepared, because I had done my homework.
And the fact I was not alone with this particular Samsung failure didn’t hurt.
Also, I tried to act like the two of us were working together on my problem.
(It’s a slight attitude tweak, and it can make all the difference…)
The manager took a few minutes to do her own research, and she returned to continue our ‘negotiations.’
She said my unit wasn’t on their recall list of microwaves.
(There’s a recall list of other Samsung microwaves in trouble?!)
(Let the silence here work in your favor.)
She could offer me a free one-time repair visit, which included parts and labor.
Somehow, she could slip my microwave’s failure into their larger recall bucket.
(I didn’t ask.)
4. Say Thank You
Now that’s some good customer service, right?
I happily thanked the manager for her generous offer…
5. Take a Picture
So I had unplugged my microwave during most of the SE incident, because the unit was also bleeping in distress.
(like I didn’t know there was a problem)
In fact, I was also ‘bleeping in distress.’
(Though I won’t reveal my actual ‘words’ here!)
Right before the Samsung service technician showed up a couple days later, I plugged the unit back in… to demonstrate its crippled functionality.
My microwave started to cycle on… and then, it just settled… ready for action.
No SE code. No annoying beeps. No problem!
Now, it’s decided to play nice?!
I started to panic.
The technician was due any minute.
I unplugged the microwave again and rebooted it… hoping to duplicate the code.
I stood there staring at my mischievous machine.
But it couldn’t hold its breath forever.
“Beep, Beep, Beep.”
Then I quickly pulled out my iPhone and snapped a photo of the naughty keypad.
If it found the strength to act healthy again, at least I’d have a picture to show the tech.
But my microwave remained down for the count, and the repairman finally arrived. He looked at it…
Yep… time for a new circuit board!
A half hour later he was on his way to save the day for another hungry family. My ‘mighty’ microwave was ready for action… again.
(I forgive easily.)
Best of all, I had invested 0 dollars towards the fix.
Don’t Forget the Honey
So what’s the big takeaway from my little tale of kitchen suspense?
Well… I’ll do more research the next time I consider buying a Samsung microwave oven.
(That said, two years ago this was a top-rated unit on multiple review sites.)
And what company makes perfect tech?
The fact that Samsung stepped up to exceed my customer expectations goes a long way towards my remaining a Samsung customer in the future…
Although… it’s worth mentioning this ‘incident’ follows
my last Samsung ‘adventure’ by just a few weeks.
(Though I can’t blame Samsung for the disappearance of my Blu-ray Player’s remote. That’s another story…)
And again, it really doesn’t hurt to ask nicely for something.
Customers are so angry these days.
(often with good reason)
Your mother was right… A little honey goes a long way!
Finally, it’s always appropriate to say thanks.
Samsung… thank you!
Going to try the hairdryer, since this happened after I cooked a big pot of pasta
I have a samsung microwave that had the SE problem. I did the repair as shown on the video. It worked ok for a couple of days until an error 4 appeared. Seams to be something like the SE fault. Haven’t had time to attempt another fix as yet. Has anybody had the Error 4 problem. Is there a fix for it without taking it to a tech.
Samsung in my opinion does not understand customer loyalty or customer retention. The have a attitude that customers are like city transit buses one comes along every 15 mintutes. Sears thought in 1986 also! As for Samsung the bus will come every 15 mintutes but there will be a time coming when no one is getting on that bus! They are deplorable about customer satisfaction!
The sweet talking method worked! The customer service rep walked me through the usual steps that I already knew didn’t work. I asked to speak with a manager. I was on hold for a few minutes, then the rep came back on and said she couldn’t reach a manager but could cover one-time service call for parts and labor! Wouldn’t have thought to pursue this route if I hadn’t seen your post. Thank you!
My 7 year old Samsung microwave, purchased in 2011, gave me the SE. Searching the internet gave me several options of trying to fix it myself. I also read that Samsung will repair the problem for free. I called the 800 number in the owners manual and spoke to someone about the problem. After informing them that i knew they knew about the problem, they gave me a 1 time extended warranty. They called a repair service center in the small town we live and fixed it for free!
I am very disappointed in my Samsung microwave. I spoke with the person from Sampson but model number has faded off. So they refused to come out and fix it. And told me there was nothing they could do I will never buy Another Samsung product again. I think that there should’ve been something dad if there was a defect. And there should be a major recall on it. I’ll probably talk to the BBB.
Thanks for this, Barrett. Good advice that led to success after contacting their call center in… India(?) My preceding on-line chat session with Samsung got me nowhere.
Happy to help!
I usually just scan an article looking for the repair part, but I have to say I read every word you wrote! Great job and great information! Thank you for taking the time to write this!
My unit is model SMH9207ST/XAA. It is an over the range micro. I am pleased to say I just FIXED mine by myself (my husband will be in shock since he spent half a day taking it apart and putting it back together without fixing it).
I wish I could give credit to the person who suggested my fix, but I don’t recall where I read it. I looked at many sites on this issue with this pesky microwave oven!
All I did was plug mine back in, the stupid SE code came back on, and I took my hair dryer, using high heat, waved it back and forth across the keypad panel while sort of massaging the keypad. I also, for good measure, aimed the hairdryer to the underneath side of the keypad. I did it for at least a minute or two, or until my fingers got too hot to massage! Then, like magic, I got a “enter time of day” display on the keypad. I don’t recall if it came up by itself or if I hit the cancel button, but I think it came up by itself. I entered the time following the display instructions, and it started working again!
Here is my disclaimer – I have had to repeat the process twice so far. The unit works for about 20 minutes, then it asks for the time of day again. I am hoping that after a few times it will simply be ok. I believe the reason our unit has this issue is due to steam from the cooktop below. We have a large garden and I have been doing a lot of canning. So I am hopeful that by continuing to use the hair dryer method, it will eventually dry out and be totally fine.
I have a NuWave oven thing that is basically like a plug-in hot plate that I will use for anything that produces steam in the future! Too bad they make microwaves that really can’t be used above the range! Duh! When this one finally fails, I will do my homework to find a better made microwave.
I hope this fix helps you! I will report back if I have any updates as to how long it continues to work.
I just tried this hair dyer trick and it worked. Thanks so much.
I just performed the hairdryer trick on my Samsung Model SMH9207ST. The SE code stayed on after I used the hairdryer for several minutes. I turned the hairdryer off and didn’t think it worked. Then I pressed the stop/clear button and it came back to life. Don’t know long it will work but if it stops I’ll do it again. Thanks for the help!
I am glad they replaced your microwave. I bought mine July 2015 and it is not working. Called Samsung and they told me it was no longer under warranty. They referred me to their repairman – who was going to charge 60.00 for the visit and 90.00 to repair. I will never buy another Samsung product. My GE microwave lasted for 14 years.
Same here…. I chatted with a rep who directed me to use their repair service. I think my husband will try to find the correct part and try to fix it. They acted like they had never heard of this model having this problem. Good grief. Wish we had some honest companies to buy from.
I’m delighted to see a customer get action. I had very same problem, did all you did, spent hours on phone, and tried all you did –and got nowhere. I finally called Sears repair and paid for a new circuit board and labor.
Here’s a note to Samsung. You have lost me as a customer and I have made a point of telling all friends about the JUNK you sell. I will never buy another Samsung product of any type. Sad sad.
I just called and this does in fact work. Samsung has a special warranty for the microwaves displaying this error code. If it is the control panel, they will cover the charges of replacing it! I might have someone by the end of the week.
I RAMESH ARYA MOBLE 9811840567 HAVE THE SAME PROBLEM (SE) COMPLAINT ON CUSMOER CARE THEY TOLD HOW TO REMOVE THE PROBLEM BUT IT DOESNOT WORK THEN HE TOLD HE WILL SEND ENGINEER PAY RS. 345/- HIS VISITING FEE AND IF ANY PART REQ. PLEASE PAY. I DONOT KNOW SAMSUNG DONOT MAKE ANY AMC OF THEIR PRODUCT AFTER WARRENTY PERIOD IT MEAN AFTER WARRENTY PERIOD YOUR PRODUCT MUST BE THROW AND PAY AMOUNT AS THEY DEMAND.
i had the same problem with my microwave (se) code, after switching off then back on it was the same, i read somewhere about pressing each button from left to right excluding the numbers then press cancel button , lo and behold it worked, hope this fixes the problem for good, only time will tell, hope this fix works for others with same problem.
It totally worked!!!
I just tried and it worked for me also. All of a sudden the correct time came on. Going in to see if I can nuke this morning’s coffee — hope it works — thanks!!!!
wow OMG it worked for me too
Warrantee idea worked – they are coming later this week. Thank you!
We had this problem. I can’t say I read all of the above but my son had a different fix that cost nothing. He pressed every button in order from the top (left to right) each row, skipped the numbered buttons, then pressed the pause/cancel button and the error went away. Two weeks later it came back. He wasn’t home so I pressed buttons in random order, nothing. When he got home he did the above and it now works again.
I have the same problem…but that $35 part is now $85 on Sears Direct! Any idea why or any suggestions! Thanks.
As so many others have commented, thank you so much for taking the time to write about your experience. This post was invaluable to me! I called Samsung and using your tips was able to get a service appointment scheduled for next week.I truly appreciate your help!
Wow, thank you for taking the time to write about your experience!! My first call to Samsung (before reading your letter) ended w Samsung staff hanging up on me. I was resigned to buying another microwave until I read your letter. I phoned and simply asked if this model was on recall list. Within minutes, they agreed to send technician to replace control board at no cost to me. If it is fixed and happens again, I’ll go with the next advice — throw in trash. While I do that, I’ll also throw my rather new Samsung dishwasher into trash. No more Samsung !!
Had mine repaired free about 16 months ago. 2 days ago it died again as I was about to cook dinner. This time it is going in the trash and I will NEVER buy another Samsung appliance!!!!
I purchased a kenmore over the Stove Microwave eighteen months old and getting the dreded e5 code. Samsung don’t reconize Sears model number although they make the Keypad,they will not fix or replace the keypad does anyone know if this keypad is on recall?
For peoples like you i get too many calls those microwaves are recall and we cover it for free
Barrett I am now on day 2 of my repaired OTC microwave/vent well past warranty Samsung. I went through the same chain of events as you did- following your advice and, once on line, Samsung could not have been better. The only little problem I had was when I called the local service center who had been authorized to do a “one time complimentary labour and parts” repair they insisted that I taken the unit down from above the stove despite my assertion that the defective area was readily accessible and I often did so to r and r the ribbon cable and get a day or so more use out of the unit. When the technician arrived she explained that she had to damage a cupboard door to get at the screws so they were insisting that the homeowner do that step. Not necessary in mine and when they came back to install the new bits the unit stayed mounted. Let us hope that the new pieces are moisture proof. I do not do any fat frying on the stove so the problem must have been steam from boiling water.
Thanks for your help. At 82 years I’m not really into unnecessary new appliance purchases
Here is a link to a petition to request samsung to recall/repair these microwaves.
Just called Samsung for the same problem, and they are sending someone to come fix my microwave for free very soon. As soon as I told them I had the “SE” code they immediately offered to take care of it. Thanks for this encouraging post!
What phone number did you call?
So Barrett, thanks so much for your sense of humor in the above tips for getting Samsung to react the way we expect. Also, thanks for the tips. Samsung is sending a technician out this week to change my control panel. I spoke to Jordon and then to Alex to get confirmation. The only catch is that if it is not the control panel, then I have to pay for the service call. If they control panel is the issue, then the labor and parts are free. Thanks so much!! I will check back in after the appointment and let you know how I made out.
I’ll keep my fingers crossed!
Since my last post, Samsung sent me an email with the information about my “ticket number”. The email stated that I qualified for a one time parts and labor repair. The repair man just left. He said I was lucky to get service so quickly and to get all the paperwork and everything correct on the first try. He just replaced the control panel and went on his way.
So I called on Monday and the microwave was fixed by Friday. I’m not complaining at all and I thank you a great deal!!
I had the same experience. Free one time fix with new control panel. That was several months ago. I am getting the SE error again. I unplug it and plug it back in and it works for about a day or two until it happens again. Today I got TE error. I have about had it and am ready to throw in the towel and get a new one.🤬
Just called support line as our Samsung microwave started displaying SE last week. So glad to find the post. Even though purchased in 2010, they are sending service tech out to repair control panel free of charge. Call took 45 minutes – mostly on hold but after I got a live person…call went fairly quick. Thank for sharing:)
Did you have to show them a receipt of your purchase from 2010. I have the same SE error and they won’t do anything for me since I cannot find my receipt from 6 years ago.
i want to repair my samsung mw 103h microwave i am a electrician
Your advice was great; unfortunately Samsung was not responsive. I followed your suggestions and was exceedingly nice. I first spoke with Alex in Samsung Customer Support, then was assigned a ticket number and transferred to Executive Customer Investigations and spoke with Lekiah.
The model of my Samsung is SMH9207ST which is not covered under the recall. I purchased it in July 2012 for $315.00 along with a Samsung range and dishwasher. When she wouldn’t budge on covering the repair and parts as no charge, I tried the “but I bought THREE MAJOR SAMSUNG APPLIANCES” approach. Still nothing. Except she did suggest I could buy an extended warranty contract for this microwave. Wow. Considering how many people report that it fails even after the keyboard circuit board was replaced, I’m really not interested in investing anything into this lemon.
I told Lekiah how I had researched this error code for Samsung microwaves on the internet and found there were thousands of reports of this same failure. I looked up the reliability stats on Consumer Reports which says “Samsung is the most repair-prone brand of OTR microwaves” with 16% Repairs and Serious Problems. Still no offer to do anything about it.
My husband tried the McGyver approach and we’re still getting the error code. At this point, we’re going to dump this microwave and buy another brand. And I’ll never buy another Samsung POS again.
I just followed your directions, Barrett, almost line for line, and they’re sending out a technician to replace the control panel (had the SE problem). They said it was under warranty (even though I bought the microwave in 2010). I hope this works for a few more years, and I won’t boil water under the sensor pad any more, and I seriously will NEVER buy Samsung ever again.
What does FRE-V mean on my mw5554w
I have asked SAMSUNG to fix mine at least 4 times now, asking in every way imaginable…every time they say no it’s not under warranty and tell me to call a technician, they said the same for my broken TV and my broken fridge.
My local landfill/garbage dump now has a special sign that reads…” PUT SAMSUNG PRODUCTS HERE”, this company is criminal!
Our Samsung Microwave SMH9187S had to have it motherboard replaced twice now in less than 3 years due to known SE and 8888 errors, it now only runs a few seconds and stops. According to their own technical repair specialist it is a design problem with moisture which occurs when cooking food on the stove below the Samsung over-the-range Samsung Microwave SMH9187S units. (Very Expensive Issue for the consumer to continuely have to fix) see all the complaints with Samsung on the Internet regarding not fixing known design and potential safety issues. It appears Samsung discontinues its products once issues start to mount to avoid additional liability. It appears they like to use the customer as their product testing guinea pigs. Samsung just say it’s now out of warranty and not our problem, call a Samsung authorized service company to have repairs made. This will be the last Samsung product we ever buy again. (that includes everything Samsung makes from refrigerators, oven, stoves washers, dryers, phones, tablets, TV,s, laptops, electronics, etc. an especially microwaves) When a company knowing refuses to stand behind its product, design and not fix defects the only course for consumers is to not trust or purchase any products from that company and warn all your friends and neighbors regarding of the companies business practices after the sale and they have got your money. Fool/cheat me once shame on you, fool/cheat me twice shame on me.
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Samsung will fix this for free. Call or do an online chat with their tech support. I had a Samsung tech replace the touch pad on my microwave today 2 Oct 14. Told me the steam is taking out the touch pads.
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Just fixed my Samsung microwave with the “SE” code. I have been struggling with this for 4 years. Sometimes unplugging it for a awhile can fix it. But it turns into a frustrating act of plugging it in/out for hours on end.
Mine would go out 3-4 times per year. This time no amout of effort was helping. I followed a tech advice web page and fixed it in less than ten minutes. Don’t tear into your microwave if you dont feel confidant, and always make sure the breaker is off.
Basically you have to remove the curcuit board. It sounds worse than it really is. Then there is a ribbon tape on the left side of the circuit board. It is suppose to make good contact on the metal housing of the circuit board housing. Use electrical tape and tape it firmly to the metal housing. Put the microwave back together. I bet in most cases it will fix the problem.
My samsung said 5e too. Sitting in living room and it started to beep 4 times, got up and thought a ghost turned it on, no one else here. Unplugged cause I was freaked out. Now I have a no working microwave, no popcorn for me.
Samsung replaced my control panel no charge. microwave bought in 2010
Perhaps the warranty is new after all the complaints. I made the mistake of calling the number for Samsung parts 6 months ago and explaining the error, purchased a new circuit board and installing ourselves. It worked for a few months and then the same SE error started again. Samsung parts exchanged the circuit board for free. This time the microwave worked for about 2 days. Now Samsung parts told me to call technical support who told me about the warranty for the SE error – that they will pay for a tech visit and control panel. But they will not reimburse me for the control panel I already purchased from their parts supplier. And they are saying that likely I will need a new control box which is not covered under the SE warranty. So I am waiting for the technician next week and not so happy with Samsung.
When did you buy your microwave? I am having the same issue – mw came with house I purchased. Samsung has advised it is not covered under warranty and won’t fix it.
I had mine a little less than two years when it ran into its problems…
Do you know how old yours is?
The control-panel *itself* is under warranty (due to a manufacturer’s defect) even if the rest of the microwave is no longer under warranty. We purchased ours when we bought our condo in 2009. We had to have the control-panel replaced within the first year, while the machine was still under warranty, but then it died again (with the same SE error message) only a few months later and has sat for years un-repaired because the cost of a new control panel was too close to the cost of a new machine–and we just couldn’t afford it. UNTIL TODAY. Based on what I learned here I just now used the “live chat” feature on the Samsung site and told them that I had just learned about the warranty for this particular part and they gave me NO flack at all and are sending a person to repair my five-year old machine at no cost (as long as the control-panel is indeed the issue.) Contact them again, siroisrose!
Simple fix! All you have to do is call Samsung and they will send a tech out to replace the control panel for free! It’s a factory defect and the new control panel will not cause this error ever again! They assured me this! 7.28.14
they came out today, replaced the control panel and my microwave is like new again!
Thank you, Barret. I just resolved the same issue, but followed the first YouTube (“mcgyvered”) done by Joe Devlin. It mentions the dangerous capcitator and also notes it is behind the parts you’ll be working on.
If you follow his video it takes no more than 15 minutes, a phillips screwdriver, and some finger dexterity (and an eraser to clean a ribbon contact). That’s it – anyone could do it. Going by the multiple thanks posted on the youtube page, it works for 95% of those trying, so it may save you the hassle of arranging repairs.
Your approach undoubtedly will work too!
Glad to hear!