How to Replace the TCO Magnetron of a GE Over the Stove Top Microwave


GE Spacemaker over the range microwaves are designed to offer years of trouble-free service. However, with improper use, the magnetron can burn out prematurely, for example, using the microwave as an audible timer with nothing on the turntable, leaving food debris splashed onto the inside walls or operating the unit with metal objects inside the cavity. Since professional repairs can cost more than the original appliance, many homeowners simply replace the defective unit with a new one. However, if your microwave fails, you can save money by installing a relatively inexpensive replacement magnetron yourself in about an hour.

Things You'll Need

  • Phillips head screwdriver
  • Nut driver
  • Replacement magnetron
  • Unplug the microwave. Unscrew the three screws that hold the microwave to the upper cabinet with a Phillips head screwdriver. Swivel the front of the unit down, lift off the two supporting tabs on the inside wall bracket and place the microwave on a firm work surface.

  • Remove the glass turntable. Remove the two screws that hold the air filter grill to the top front of the microwave. Open the door and pull the grille out.

  • Unscrew the single screw that holds a small metal plate with two square vent holes to the top rear of the unit with the Phillips head screwdriver then lift the vent plate out. Remove all of the attaching screws from the top of the microwave, with the exception of the screw holding the power cord clamp.

  • Remove the screws around the edge of the back panel. Turn the microwave on its side and remove the four screws that hold the bottom panel to the microwave. Stand the microwave upright.

  • Take off the two screws visible on the right of the microwave. Undo the screw holding the green ground wire to the microwave chassis. Unplug the power cord from the white socket on the inner side plate and lift the outer case off.

  • Undo the screw on top of the control panel. Slide the panel up; pull it off and lay it sideways, resting against the front of the microwave. Remove the screw directly behind the top left corner of the control panel.

  • Remove the four screws on the lower left of the back panel; three of the screws are below the oblong indentation on the lower left corner, and the other one is on the inside top of the oblong indentation.

  • Remove the screw on the bottom of the large square cover plate on the right side of the microwave. Pull the cover off and swing it out to the side to access the magnetron -- the perforated, square gray box directly above the transformer. Unplug the wires that lead from the cover plate to the white plug on the magnetron.

  • Undo the screw directly above the white plug and remove the thermostat from the magnetron. Use a nut driver to remove the four nuts from above that hold the magnetron to the chassis.

  • Pull the bottom corner of the back panel away from the left side panel to separate them then lower the transformer. Once you have enough room, pull the magnetron out.

  • Insert the replacement magnetron and re-attach it securely with the four nuts removed earlier. Reconnect the wires leading from the cover plate to the white plug on the magnetron. Screw the thermostat back into the magnetron and connect the green ground wire back onto the chassis.

  • Lift the bottom corner of the back plate and re-attach it to the side plate. Replace the square cover plate and secure it with the screw removed earlier. Re-assemble the microwave by reversing the procedures described above. Plug the microwave back into the power outlet.

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