I'd recommend that your bookmark this link to your favorites.
You should remove or replace the melted part and try the oven with a cup full of water in it.
If it arcs & sparks, the magnetron and/or waveguide may be damaged.
If it runs fine, you may get lucky and only have to replace the part that melted.
We may have the full service manual at our site which you can view and download free. But we would need to know that all-important model number.
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The fact that it stopped during cooking, then came back on after several minutes, tells me that the magnetron probably overheated and its thermostat (called the M.G.T. T.C.O. in the service manual here) opened until it cooled back down.
An overheating magnetron
can be due to:
oven without cover(s) in place
magnetron installed in oven
an old or
otherwise failing magnetron
power line voltage (should be 110-125VAC)
foods low in
moisture (popcorn & bacon, e.g. - add 1/2 cup of water in rear
inoperable cooling fan or hood vent exhaust fan
foam weatherstripping seals in air ducts or on outside cover
vents (dust, animal nest debris, insufficient free air space behind
& around oven, etc.)
greasy charcoal filter or grease filter
in hood vent exhaust
The fact that the oven is now quieter tells me that one of the high voltage components may have failed, or the high voltage section is not getting power.
It may be as simple as a failed top door switch (see this test file) or it may be a failed high voltage component, most likely the high voltage rectifier diode or the magnetron.
You can find
helpful exploded view diagrams and order parts by entering your full
model number from the tag on the oven here.
Note that the magnetron has a five-year warranty. If it's under magnetron warranty, GE will
send you the magnetron to do it yourself.
If the magnetron is bad, call them at 888-239-6832 with the full model number, serial number, and date of manufacture. We're
happy to help you with free advice and we'd appreciate your
thoughtful rating of our answer.
The magnetron (the part that heats the food) may be bad or the circuitry to the magnetron may have burned out. Basically my advice is that if you have no electrical expertise, it isn't worth fixing. The magnetron if bad, costs almost as much as a new microwave. If you open it up (make sure it has been unplugged for a few hours and don't seen any obvious burnt parts, then most likely the magnetron is done and a new microwave is the way to go.
It's probable that since it was running empty, the magnetron overheated and a thermal cutout or thermostat located on the magnetron opened.
Magnetrons may be protected by a therostat, which will reset when it cools, or a thermal fuse, which is a one-time use device. It is also possible that in some cases, a thermostat will fail when opened.
Please refer to the drawing.
In my professional opinion, people should not work on a microwave unless they are fully informed and aware of the deadly hazards and necessary precautions. One can find such information in our safety and disassermbly text files at _.