Replace Magnetron in GE Microwave (Spacemaker)
Replacing magnetron tube in Microwave
Recently my GE Space-maker Microwave (7 years old, model JVM1631BB) stopped heating food. When I start it works as if it is heating food, but it was not heating food. After doing some research online I found that it is mostly fault of magnetron tube inside Microwave. And also found that there is extended warranty on that one part for a total of 10 years.This I found in the user manual which I downloaded from GE website (see the link below).
Initially I scheduled service appointment with GE service department. When I started to dig around how much it would cost for GE guys to fix the problem, I found that it would cost me more than $220. Wow !! I was shocked, brand new Over the Range Microwave can be bought for $200 and above. After some more research over the web I called GE parts department (888-239-6832) they took serial number of the Microwave and were happy to ship me the magnetron tube part. Part arrived within 2 business days.
After the part came I was not sure what it takes to replace the part in Microwave. I have decided take a shot at replacing the part myself, with help from a friend. I am happy to report that we have successfully replaced magnetron tube in the Microwave. It was not easy, it took about 2 hours to take down Microwave, open everything replace it and put it back. If you are not motivated to save some bucks then you should not attempt this.
Here are the steps we took to replace it
Warning: I am not an electrician or repairman, following steps are from my experience. You should be careful while handling capacitor and other parts.
- Unplug Microwave at least few hours before
- Remove Microwave from above oven range by somebody holding Microwave from ground unscrew the screws from cabinet
- Remove top cover of Microwave
- Make sure to keep screws correctly in a place you remember what goes where
- Make sure capacitor is discharged, GE manual inside Microwave says capacitor will discharge within 30 seconds once it is off. As a precaution check the voltage in capacitor to make sure there is no electricity
- Remove other panels around magnetron part
- You need to remove lot of connecting wires, should be careful to note down what goes where
- If possible take digital photos to refer back when you put everything back together
- You may need to remove transformer to easily remove and replace Magnetron. If you can't remove Magnetron easily then remove bottom panel of the Microwave and remove transformer
- Now it should be easy to remove magnetron
- Replace new magnetron and screw it. We had to put one outside part from old magnetron to new one because new one was missing that. Check to make sure both old and new one are exactly the same
- Make sure put all wires properly back
- Now put transformer back and screw it
- Put capacitor panel in place and screw it
- This might be a good time to test the Microwave to make sure it works fine now
- Now cover the top panels and start to screw everything
- Once everything assembled put the Microwave back above range put screws from top
Update 06/10/2010 - Please read the following important thoughts from Bigluke...
(1) First, the GE repairman was extremely nice and helpful, and told me that when the magnetron goes out, the diode almost always goes out too. So, go ahead and replace the diode, which is not covered by warranty. As others said, it is a black wire that goes into the capacitor and connects at the other end to the frame.
(2) BE CAREFUL when putting everything back together... Stuff all the wires well inside the microwave. I did the repair myself, and it worked for about five minutes, then started making the same noise. Turns out I did not stuff the wires that run from the magnetron to the capacitor and the other equipment in far enough, and they touched the microwave frame when I put it back together. When I used the microwave, the wire actually burned through it's own insulation bc it was sending current through the microwave frame. Luckily, no one was hurt. So, stuff your wires in there far. It amazes me that they would use such thin insulation that this could happen...
Update on 09/06/2012
It appears GE is not sending magnetron lately to the callers and insisting that GE technician come to repair the broken microwave. As some of readers have suggested you can still buy magnetron from outside which fits your model and you can replace it yourself. This will still save hundreds of dollars on new microwave.
GE manuals online
- GE Owner's manuals, installation instructions
Check out GE's owners manual page for specific owner manuals and installation instructions on GE appliances.