GE Microwave F3 Code? (here’s why & what to do)

Microwave ovens have earned their place in the modern kitchen due to their convenience and fast cooking time. We typically use these appliances without giving them a second thought.

That is until they go wrong or display an error code. Any error code displayed on your electrical appliances can be worrying. In this article we take a close look at the F3 error code on a GE microwave and explain what it means and offer the best ways to solve this annoying and worrying issue.

What Does The F3 Error Code Mean On A GE Microwave?

The F3 error code on a GE microwave indicates that there’s a problem with the control touchpad. This article refers to all popular GE microwaves including;

  • JE101901
  • JE101902
  • JE1019H01
  • JE1019H02
  • JVM1540DM5WW
  • JVM1540SM5SS
  • JVM1790SK01
  • JVM1860SF001
  • JVM1870SF001
  • JVM1870SF02
  • JVM1950SR1SS
  • JVM2070SH001
  • JVM2070SK02
  • JVM3160DF2WW
  • JVM7195SF1SS
  • SCA1001KSS02
  • PVM1870SM1SS
  • PVM1870SM3SS
  • PVM1970SR1SS
  • 56-289610-02
  • 56-2899-10

Please Note: In the interest of safety we do not recommend that you dismantle the microwave yourself. Microwaves contain a high voltage capacitor which can hold a high voltage charge even after the appliance has been disconnected from the power supply. 

If you suspect there is anything wrong internally, we recommend contacting a technician.

Ways To Solve & Remove The F3 Error Code


If your GE microwave is displaying the F3 error code there are a few easy remedies you can try without the risk of any personal injury. You should;

Reset The Microwave

To reset the microwave in an attempt to clear the F3 error code all you need to do is;

  1. Press & hold the clear/off button with the door open for 5 seconds
  2. Whilst still holding the button down, close the microwave door and continue holding the button down for a further 5 seconds
  3. The microwave should now be reset.

If that hasn’t solved the issue and cleared the error code, you will need to move onto the next step.

Perform A Hard Reset

Performing a hard reset returns all of the microwave’s functions to factory settings and is easy to do. All you need to do is;

  1. Disconnect the power supply by removing the plug from the socket
  2. Leave the appliance unplugged for 10 to 15 minutes
  3. Reconnect the power supply

If successful, your GE microwave should have cleared the error code from the LED display and will work properly again.

Check The Control Pad For Stuck Buttons

Over-the-Range Microwave

The control pad or touchpad on your GE microwave consists of buttons fixed between two flexible membranes. Over time, the membranes can become worn or damaged leading to the buttons becoming stuck.

This can be the cause of the F3 error code and you can try to free any stuck buttons by doing the following;

  1. Disconnect the microwave from the power supply
  2. Wipe the touchpad using a soft cloth soaked in a mild detergent/water solution
  3. Concentrate on gently removing any grease or grime without applying excessive amounts of pressure
  4. Press and massage each button separately paying close attention to the corners of the buttons
  5. If you can feel any that seem to be stuck massage them for more time until you feel them free
  6. Once all of the buttons appear to be free, turn the microwave back on and check the display to ensure the error code has disappeared.

If none of the suggestions offered so far have worked, you will need to contact a technician to do the following;

Replace The Touchpad

If this hasn’t worked, or the error code returns shortly afterwards, you will need to contact a technician to investigate and probably replace the touchpad. 

However, we cannot stress enough the dangers involved with dismantling parts of your microwave which is why we strongly advise you to get a technician to do this for you.

Replace The Control Board

If the touchpad is not the cause of the problem, all that’s left is the control board. The control board manages and controls every function on your microwave and is susceptible to faults and malfunctions.

If you have tried everything else, the control board is the most likely cause of the F3 error code. Once again, you should not attempt to investigate this yourself. 

Not only are there many high voltage components in a microwave, the control board itself is an expensive and delicate part. Which is why we strongly recommend contacting a technician to investigate and replace the control board if necessary.

Your technician will also be able to advise you whether it is worth replacing the control board or whether you will be better off buying a new microwave.

SEE ALSO: Mini Oven Vs Microwave (which to choose)

Frequently Asked Questions

What does F3 mean on a GE microwave?

The error code F3 on a GE microwave means there is a fault with the touchpad.

How do I fix error code F3 on a GE microwave?

If your GE microwave is displaying the F3 error code, it indicates there is a fault with the touchpad. You can often fix this by performing a hard reset which can be done by disconnecting the power supply for 10 to 15 minutes. This allows any residual power to dissipate which can often be all that is needed to clear the error code. You can also try cleaning the touchpad using a soft cloth dipped in soapy water. This can sometimes free any stuck buttons.

What causes the F3 error code on a GE microwave?

The F3 error code on a GE microwave is caused by an issue with the touchpad. In many cases it is because the buttons on the touchpad get stuck. They are situated between two membranes and can become stuck over time. You can often free any stuck buttons by gently cleaning the touchpad using a soft cloth and soapy water. Gently massage the buttons paying particular attention to the corners.

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