Question about GE Spacemaker JVM1640SJ Microwave Oven

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The microwave will only stay on for a few seconds

The clock has been erratic for weeks and now the microwave only starts up for a few seconds and then shuts down

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  • 9,085 Answers

This is almost always due to a defective or loose magnetron causing electrical interference and disruption in the control circuit board.

Details covering some previous models are in their bulletin here. Even if your model is not on the list, the same problem can occur, requiring a kit.

If your magnetron was recently replaced, it may have loose mounting nuts or bolts or maybe the wire mesh RF gasket was not installed or got pinched.

NOISY MAGNETRON TEST (c) 2009 William E. Miller prototech@usa.net

One way to test it is to do the following:

1. Unplug the microwave or turn off its breaker.
2. Open the door, then detach the control panel as shown in the video at http://www.microwavedisplay.com and swing it down, but without disconnecting the wires. If you have any trouble getting the grille off once the screws are removed, slide the hood vent grille to the left about 1/4", then then pull it forward. On Samsung models there are L-shaped clips that fit into a slot to hold bottom of the vent.
3. Plug the microwave back in.
4. Make sure neither you nor anyone else reaches in behind the control panel. There will exposed high-voltage connections.
5. Put a few cups worth of water in a microwave-safe container and place it inside the microwave.

6. Shut the door.
7. Run the microwave for about 1 minute or so on full power. (Time Cook > 1 > 0 > 0 > Start, e.g.)
8. If it does not fail, try it several more times.
9. When the water boils, change the water and try again.


NOTE:
If your model does not have a door handle, you will need to unplug the oven and reattach the control panel to be able to open the door.


If it still does not fail, I would recommend that you put it all back together and keep using it until it fails more consistently, then repeat this test.

While a microwave should never be left running unattended under any circumstances (as your owner's manual will tell you) it's even more important when one is exhibiting a failure or any odd behavior. So play it safe and stay with it while it's running!

If you or someone you know want to replace the magnetron yourself, you will need to remove the oven from the wall.

If so, the installation instructions are very handy, and it's best to have two people since the microwave can be heavy and awkward.

You can download GE owner's manuals and installation instructions here.

There should also be a "mini-manual" hidden inside the unit behind the control panel or hidden on the left side behind the grille, which is very helpful when troubleshooting.

the microwave will only stay on for a few seconds - dee77f7.jpg

You can find helpful exploded view diagrams and order parts by entering your full model number here.

If it's within the magnetron portion of the warranty (usually 5-9 years) but out of the original full warranty (usually 1 year), then your manufacturer will cover the part cost, but not the cost to visit you or the labor charge to do the work.

Sometimes they will send you the magnetron to do it yourself. Call them at 888-239-6832.

Be persistent. You may have to speak with a supervisor.


If it is not within the magnetron warranty, you can find helpful exploded view diagrams and order parts by entering your full model number here.

We're happy to help you with free advice and we'd appreciate your thoughtful rating of our answer.

Posted on May 24, 2009

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