It has happened to more than one microwave user. The microwave starts beeping oddly during a cooking cycle with the display showing a message saying “keypad shorted may need servicing.”
You try to use the keypad but to no avail. Nothing is working. You have no clue why your GE microwave keypad shorted and have no idea how to fix it. The problem could be one of several things from the dirt under the keypad to a failed control board. It’s a simple fix either way.
The article below tells you how to fix the problem before you spend money on a new appliance. There are several steps you can take.
An Easy Reset
GE microwaves have several ways to clear a control panel and get your keypad working again. Something that has worked for many people is to use the clear or off button to reset the control board.
You hold down the clear/off button with the door open. Keep holding the button down and close it. Keep holding down the button for five seconds after the door closes. This seems to be a permanent solution to the problem as people say their microwave operates correctly after they do this.
Check the Locking Feature
Microwaves today have a lock feature to prevent children from using them when parents aren’t around. Sometimes, the lock feature can come on without warning. It could be you accidentally pressed a button too long without knowing.
The lock is both sets and disengaged by pressing the off/clear button or the start/enter button for three seconds. Which one you press depends on your microwave model. You can also look on the display to see if the lock icon is on. It looks like a padlock or says the word “lock” depending on the model.
Do a Hard Reset
Almost every replacement is designed to refresh the control board when you do a hard reset. A hard reset is when you disconnect it from power, wait a few minutes, and then reconnect it.
Unplug your microwave, flip the circuit breaker to it, and wait five minutes before reconnecting it to power. Then test the keypad to see if it works.
Use a Hair Dryer
An appliance technician may tell you that your blow dryer can help fix your microwave! Sounds odd, right? Several advise trying this hack before you spend money on a new control board.
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You are going to use the hairdryer to get the key panel warm. You want the dryer heat to be warm but not so warm that it melts or damages the plastic. You will also want to use your fingers on your other hand to press and rub the buttons to loosen them up while you are blowing hot air on them.
This should work after a few minutes of doing this. It works best on microwaves that are seldom used but start beeping with the keypad issue. You will need to replace the control panel if this trick fails to work.
The Problem With Keypads
One of the problems with a keypad system on a microwave is that dirt, grime and yuckiness do eventually get between the panel and the film that allows the keypad to function.
The system involves two membranes. Pressing the buttons makes the two membranes connect, which sends messages to the control board to cause a function to work. When there is dirt in between the membranes, they lose connectivity and things don’t work as they are supposed to work.
Another problem is the keypad film may get brittle over time and that will cause it to not work properly.
This is why you will need to replace the control board. It isn’t that hard to do with some instruction.
Replacing the Control Panel
You will want to unplug the microwave before you do any work on your microwave. While replacing the control panel is a fairly safe process, you will want to be careful what you touch in the microwave because it can hold an enormous amount of electrical charge that could injure you.
- You will need a Phillips-head screwdriver to unscrew two screws secured to the microwave grill. Open the door and remove the grill by sliding it to the left and lifting it.
- Now, take out the mounting screw securing the control panel.
- Detach the control panel by lifting it. Take a picture of how the wires are connected to the control board before disconnecting the wires.
- There is a screw that holds down the grounding wire. Remove it before releasing the ribbon connecter.
- Take out the mounting screws that hold the main control board. Lift the board out.
- Take off all the protective cover from the new control panel. Insert the new switch cable through the control board’s housing hole and then put the new control board in the housing like the old one was.
- Screw the mounting screws back and connect the ribbon connector. Use a screw to hold the grounding wire to the control board and reconnect the other wires.
- There are tabs on the control panel. Insert them into the frame’s slots and push the panel down. Secure with the mounting screw.
- Replace the grill by inserting tables into frame slots and sliding it to the right. Replace the mounting screws. Plug your microwave oven back in. It should be ready for use.
Do you need to test a control board before replacing it?
Yes, you should test a control board with a multimeter before replacing it. Attach the prongs to terminals to test for continuity. A board that lacks continuity must be replaced.
How much does a new control panel for a GE microwave keypad cost?
Most cost around $102 but can cost as much as $110. You can order them online.
How much will it cost for a service repair technician to replace the control board?
The average cost of a microwave repair of this type is between $200 and $300 including both parts and labor. It typically takes less than an hour to make this type of repair.
What is the most common reason for a keypad to fail?
A faulty control panel is the biggest reason why a microwave keypad fails. You can tell it’s the control panel when only a few of the buttons work while others do not. That means the control panel needs to be replaced.
What does the control board in a microwave do?
The control board is like your microwave’s brain. It controls everything going on in your oven. If it fails, all kinds of things can stop working correctly.
How to Choose to Replace or Repair?
It depends on the make and model you have. Those that bought a $60 microwave at a discount store would be better served by tossing it and upgrading.
However, a repair would be a value if you bought a high-end luxury microwave that costs upward of $1,000.
The reality is most good microwaves cost between $100 and $700. Installing them into a cabinet will cost between $110 and $190. Most repairs cost $200 or less so in most cases, it serves you well to do the repair and get some more life out of your microwave.