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Typically most arcing in a microwave is caused by food splatter. A microwave cannot tell the difference between what is on a plate or on the wall or ceiling. Every food particle in a microwave will continue to cook until it turns to carbon and will attract the microwave energy and focus it to that spot and the unit will arc. Thorough cleaning of the entire microwave cooking cavity and removal of any burn or soot mark will commonly stop the arcing. If your microwave has a painted cavity, you can even use some very fine sand paper to remove any burn mark. Always cover what you are warming and really keep the inside of the microwave clean. If your wave guide cover is made out of the Mica board, and If it has gotten wet from cleaning or from splatter, it must be replaced. You can either order a new one or order a sheet of the mica board and cut out a new one yourself. If the microwave is arcing in the waveguide, generally the unit will need to be replaced. One quick test to see if the unit will work is to remove the bad cover and place a small container of water in the unit, run the machine of a minute or so and see if it still arcs. If it does, the arcing is in the waveguide area, if not it may have just been a problem with the cover. You can run the unit without the waveguide cover in place, it is only there to prevent splatter from getting into the waveguide, so removing it to test the unit is ok. If the area inside the wave guide shows signs of soot and arcing. You can try to wipe that out with some alcohol or lacquer thinner and then try it again. Good Luck.
Some units use a plastic or fiberglass cover over the wave guide where the microwaves are dumped into the oven cavity. If this cover gets coated with food/grease, or soaks up grease, it can arc, or catch fire. If unit is still operating properly otherwise, I would suggest replacing the cover. You need to inspect the wave guide, also, to make sure it is still intact, and there are no cracks in it that would allow microwave radiation to escape.
The wave gude cover is replaceable, the part number is1085082. The reason for arcing through is typically a splatter of food stuck to the cover and then the heating waves overcooked or burned it. Carefully replace the cover (panel), look for any burned spots behind the cover, if the wave guide is burned through, the Microwave is unrepairable. If the waveguide has small arc spots you can carefully clean (sandpaper) and use touchup paint to recoat. I hope this helps and if it does, please let us know!
Our JE1860SH was also sparking after a few seconds. The GE tech pulled the upper round disk and found the problem. The plastic was burned and the round metal which is behind the plastic dome was arching with the frame. Lasted seven years expected more especially from a GE product. So my suggestion is to remove the dome and check it out.
YOU SHOULD NOT RUN MICRO WITHOUT ANY THING IN IT / THIS WILL OVER LOAD THE MAG TUBE . AND SOME TIMES FRY IT .. The sparking and arcing is probably a bad wave guide . this is sometimes caused by food splater / it gets in the cracks and corners and then cooks till it truns to carbon which conduts the micro's and thus arching .. clean it good and touch up any burns in the metal and repl wave guide cover. mm hope this will help .. mm
Q - When there is small amounts of food in the oven, arcing occurs right behind the plate where the wave guide comes into the oven. Sometimes it works well and sometimes you can't even put in a bag of popcorn. Any ideas? Could food have 'dripped' in here and be causing a microwave short?
A - Yes! Food splatter or drips can continue to cook and will carbon over creating sparks/arcs from the wave guide cover. Usually can clean up the food on and under the wave guide cover, if the oven liner has been damaged we usually lightly sand and touch up those marks with touch paint. Do not let it go for too long as damage to the magnetron end is possible as well :( If the wave guide cover has been damaged, replace it!
Meezy, that plate is called a "wave guide cover" and it's shorted out for a reason, (the part number is WB06X10541 and it appears to be a Factory order part). The reason it's shorted is probably due to a failed magnetron, the component used to create the microwaves.
The magnetron carries a 10 year warranty from GE. Call 1-800-GECARES for a warranty repair. You'll need the complete model and serial numbers... they are on a sticker inside the microwave.
Hope this helps!