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Q - Hello, My GE Microwave Oven (model #JVM1630*****) is about 5 years old and won't heat food anymore. Any hints on what electrical circuits to check?
A - Confirm 110-120 volts AC is entering the primary coil on the high voltage transformer....meter works but can be fooled, I usually rig up a light socket and household light bulb and hook that to the 2 input wires for the transformer and see if the light works or not when you run the microwave....can even set a power level and watch the light go on and off. Discharge the capacitor first before attempting any checks or tests.
Scary but works!....
If ok, put those 2 wires back on the transformer. Discharge the capacitor.
Remove the 2 wires going to the magnetron....run the microwave a few seconds ( 2-3 ) and remove power....again discharge the high voltage capacitor. If you got a good crack & spark when you discharge the cap the second time you are creating high voltage but not using it ( bad magnetron or loose High Voltage wire somewhere )....if you get no crack & spark you are not creating high voltage. This will work on all microwaves with a transformer and diode system ( not the inverter style ).
How to check a common high voltage diode. Check the diode with one end off/disconnected....should show continuity one way, reverse your meter leads and none the other way.....many meters are not high/good enough and often show no continuity ( infinity ) in both directions. A full continuity reading in both directions (0 ohms) on the diode may be shorted/bad one!
Many GE OTR microwaves however have a defect in the microwave distribution system which causes the magnetron tube to overheat and cut out and/or damage the diode. There is a field modification kit to repair such a condition on GE models JVM1630*, JVM1631*, JVM1640*, JVM1642*, JVM1650*, JVM1651*, JVM1660* and JVM1661* which come with all parts necessary to correct the condition. You can see the kit at the link below:
Magnetron & Stirrer Kit