Range, Stove, & Oven Model Number Locations
Knowing your stove’s brand and model number is extremely important for finding stove repair help and parts. After you find your stove’s model number click on the “Parts” link in the page navigation to find parts specifically for your stone and other useful repair information.
Cook’n with Current
Electrical Supply | Temperature Wave | Temperature Problems | Oven Element
Coil Burners | Glass Tops
In this article I will outline the mechanical and electrical components used by your Electric stove top and oven to create and maintain the correct amount of heat, required to impress your better half with a candle light dinner. I will also describe some of the problems that can turn your culinary masterpiece into a hungry man microwave dinner for two.
Cooking appliances come in two main flavors, Electric and Gas. In this section I will primarily be discussing 240VAC electric cooking appliances, for a closer look at the gas variety
Check out “Cook’n With Gas”.
It’s fairly obvious that electric ranges require electricity to do their work, but how much and when is the subtle difference between a delicious home cooked meal and the drive through. Most electric cooking appliances are very simple machines that use heating elements to turn electrical energy into heat energy. An electric cooking appliance can be divided into two systems the control system and the heating system. All of the control functions such as monitoring temperature and supplying current to the correct circuit at the proper time operate with 110 volts AC (called L1). When the appliance needs to generate heat, an additional 120VAC is supplied from a second wire (called L2) to the heating element. For an electric stove or oven to heat properly both supply wires providing 120VAC must be working properly.
Note: If your oven isn’t heating properly always start by verifying that both L1 and L2 are supplying 120VAC to the appliance (240VAC collectively). For more information on how to use a voltmeter to test for current look at
“How To Use A Multimeter”.
Your oven is constantly cycling its heating elements on and off automatically to maintain a temperature range close to what you have set at the oven control thermostat. Some ovens have more accurate thermostats than others. The thermostat often will use a part called a sensor to measure the oven temperature. Once the oven has slightly passed the target temperature the thermostat opens the L2 circuit allowing the heating element to cool, when the oven as dropped to the low side of the temperature range selected the thermostat reenergizes the L2 circuit for more heat to be generated. In this way a wave of temperature is produced. Most surface burners operate in the same way, but some use a device called a rheostat or a potentiometer to decrease the amount of current supplied the surface element producing lower temperatures.
There are 4 things that can cause temperature problems with your oven or stove top.
#1 The thermostat or sensor fails to detect the correct temperature within the oven cavity and doesn’t open or close the circuit when it should; causing an oven that is ether to hot or to cold.
#2 The control thermostat or burner switch won’t close or sticks closed.
#3 The heating element fails to heat properly.
#4 Or a conducting wire is cut or broken and cannot carry electricity to the heating element.
Some models have a thermostat control that can be calibrated for more accurate oven temperatures, instructions for oven calibration can usually be found in your models technical sheet, often located somewhere on the appliance. Oven temperatures are calibrated at the factory and rarely need adjustment.
Electric ovens use a resistor called a heating element to create heat in the oven cavity. The heating element applies resistance to the flow of electrical current and generates thermal energy.
Oven heating elements can fail in a number of ways, some times the go quietly and just stop heating, other times they may literally burn up with a bright arc and smoke, either way the end result is that the circuit is open or “broken” and electrical current can no longer flow and do its work. There are two primary ways that an oven fails to heat, the heating element itself may fail in one of the ways that I just described, or the control may not be sending the proper amount of electrical current for the heating element to work properly.
Shorted Element Video Note: While alarming this is a very common problem. A bad control module does not cause this! It is only a failing oven element, which is inexpensive and fairly simple to replace. Even though watching the light show is fun the best course would be to disconnect electricity by turning off the set of two breakers connected to the oven circuit.
Test: First unplug the oven or turn off the breaker. The oven’s heating element can be tested for resistance across its two contacts if the connecting wires have been disconnected. In most cases the heating element can be pulled into the oven cavity after the internal mounting screws have been removed.
Repair Note: Make sure that you keep the connecting wires from falling back into the holes that the heating element passes through with some tape or by some other method or you will need to uninstall the stove and remove the backing to retrieve the wires making a lot more work for yourself.
If the oven’s heating elements seem to be okay the next step would be to test for 240 Volts AC from the two connecting wires when the oven element should be energized, if no voltage is measured or only 110VAC is measured you likely have a problem with the oven control or the oven temperature sensor. You will also want to verify that the oven is receiving a full 240VAC from the home.
Caution: Use extreme caution when testing energized circuits getting electrocuted is obviously not fun! And if your dead you won’t get to enjoy any more fresh baked cookies. You should not perform voltage tests unless you are comfortable with such procedures.
How Electric Range Surface Elements Work
Cook’n with Current
Electrical Supply | Temperature Wave | Temperature Problems | Oven Element
Coil Burners | Glass Tops
In this article I will outline the mechanical and electrical components used by your electric stove top to create and maintain the correct amount of heat, required to impress your better half with a candle light dinner. I will also describe some of the problems that can turn your culinary masterpiece into a hungry man microwave dinner for two.
Cooking appliances come in two main flavors, Electric and Gas. In this section I will primarily be discussing 240VAC Electric cooking appliances, for a closer look at the gas variety check out “Cook’n With Gas”.
A stoves surface burners are often made of the same kind of heating element found inside the oven but formed into a circular coil to create more contact area for effective heat transfer to your pots and pans. The burners receive electrical supply from a variable switch that your burner knob is attached to. As you adjust the knob’s temperature setting the coil burner creates more or less heat.
Test: Surface elements can be unplugged from the burner block and tested for resistance with a voltmeter; the burner should show some resistance but never be open. If the burner tests okay you can also check for 240 Volts AC from the burner block where the burner plugs in. Sometimes corrosion in the burner’s contacts can cause a poor electrical connection between the bock and the burner.
Note: Use extreme caution when testing energized circuits getting electrocuted is obviously not fun! You should not perform voltage tests unless you are comfortable with such procedures.
Electric Range Surface Element Repair
Glass cooktops use a burner very similar to the coil burner, except in this case the burner is a very thin ribbon element that is embedded into an insulation material and installed under a ceramic glass surface. This style of burner has a thermostat suspended over the burner, under the glass that will cycle the burner on and off to maintain a temperature set at the burner control knob.
Main Benefits: Glass cooktops are obviously much easier to keep clean that the open coil burner style and are also faster heat up and cool down.
Main Disadvantages: The ceramic glass cooktop is very expensive to replace if it is broken, and also replacement of a malfunctioning ribbon element is slightly more difficult than the replacement of an open coil element.
Test: a ribbon element can be tested for resistance in the same way as the coil element. However the burner’s contacts are located under the stove’s glass-cooking surface. Use extreme caution if you are attempting to test this style of burner. As I mentioned before if the cooktop glass is broken it is very expensive to replace. Sometimes this repair is worth having a technician’s expertise, also if the top breaks you didn’t do it.
Tip: Don’t store objects that could fall and break your glass top in the cabinet above the stove.
How Gas Stoves Ranges & Ovens Work
Cook’n With Gas
Gas Supply | Temperature Wave | Pilot ignition Ovens | Electronic ignition Ovens | Direct Spark Ovens | Pilot Ignition Burners | Electronic Ignition Burners
Cooking may have become easier than trying to start a fire with two sticks. But when your burners won’t light or the oven doesn’t want to heat up what do you do? In this section I will outline the mechanical and electrical components used within your stove top and oven to create and maintain the correct amount of heat, necessary to impress your friends with a five-course meal. I will also describe some of the problems that can turn your culinary masterpiece into a hungry man microwave dinner.
Cooking appliances come in two main flavors, Electric and Gas. In this section I will primarily be discussing gas-cooking appliances. For a closer look at electric ovens and stoves check out “Cook’n With Current.”
Gas Stoves usually come ready for natural gas, but most models can be modified with a few extra fittings and minor adjustments. Gas enters the stove through a pressure regulator. This component does just what you would expect it to do; it regulates gas pressure to the rest of the appliance. Your home or propane tank also has a pressure regulator but this secondary appliance regulator acts as a guarantee that gas is under the correct amount of pressure for proper appliance operation. Pressure regulators need to be installed in the correct direction to allow gas to pass through and will usually have an arrow marked on the regulator showing the proper direction of gas flow. Often the regulator is integrated into the oven’s control valve.
Your oven is constantly cycling on and off automatically to maintain a temperature range close to what you have set at the oven thermostat. Some
ovens have more accurate thermostats than others. The oven’s ignition system should automatically open a valve releasing gas, which is then ignited and begins heating the oven cavity. Once the oven has slightly passed the target temperature the thermostat closes the valve allowing the oven to cool. When the oven as dropped to the low side of the temperature range selected the thermostat re-energizes the ignition system for more heat to be generated. In this way a wave of temperature is produced.
Temperature Problems can occur when the thermostat fails to detect the correct temperature within the oven cavity, causing an oven that is ether to hot or to cold, or the ignition system used is slow to open the oven’s valve causing lower than normal temperatures.
There are two main methods of igniting the gas, pilot ignition, which is a small continual flame, and electronic ignition, which uses a momentary arc or heating element as a heat source capable of initiating gas combustion. Obviously appliance manufacturers are concerned with safety when releasing flammable gas into your home, so there are a few things that need to happen with both styles of ignition before the oven valve lets the gas fly.
Pilot ignition ovens are very effective at safely opening an automatic gas valve at the proper time, as well as cycling the oven burner off and on to maintain an optimum temperature; however, they are rarely used anymore because of the constant gas or flame source, which raises safety concerns in sue happy world. The pilot ignition oven uses a device called a thermocouple using the thermoelectric effect, which converts heat into electricity causing the valve to open and release gas.
Common Problems with this system can occur when the thermocouple fails to produce the electricity required to open the valve. But more often the pilot flame used to create the heat necessary for the thermocouple to do its job goes out. Some stoves require that you press the oven temperature knob in while relighting the oven’s pilot flame.
Electronic ignition ovens use a component called an igniter, which is usually a “glow bar” that gets red hot, when supplied with electrical current. As the electricity passes through this special material heat is created and the molecules within the igniter expand slightly, allowing more electrical current to flow through the igniter to the oven’s automatic gas valve. In this way the valve will not open unless the igniter is hot enough to instantly light the gas that is released.
Common problems with the glow bar ignition method usually come in the form of the oven temperatures being too cool, or things not being completely cooked. These symptoms could be a thermostat or sensor problem, but most often the igniter is not getting hot enough to open the valve. This causes the burner to take longer than normal to open and so the oven temperature wave dips toward the cool end. After a while of tolerating cool oven temperatures the oven may stop heating all together. The glow bar should release and ignite gas in seven to twenty seconds after the oven is turned on. Yes the igniter can glow and still be defective!
Note: a small click sound can usually be observed on ovens with a digital electronic control. This sound is the internal relay switch closing, energizing the ignition system, starting your seven to twenty second count down.
Direct spark ignition is a slightly more complicated system; however, the benefits are faster burner ignition and more accurate oven temperatures. The direct spark oven ignition method uses “DSI” control to generate the current necessary to create the arc needed for the burner to light. An igniter similar to the spark plug in your car is mounted next to the burner and clicks as it produces an arc to light the gas being released. This system also uses a slightly different gas distribution valve. This valve has two solenoids inside of it to release gas when needed as well as a gas shut off switch. These solenoids should measure 216Ω of resistance (always check both solenoids if either one is bad neither will operate.) and should open when supplied 8-18 DCV
with this system can be caused by the igniter itself failing to generate the spark required, the “DSI” control not sending the proper amount of electricity to a particular component, the solenoids inside the gas distribution valve not opening, or the gas shut off switch accidentally being closed by some object in the lower drawer. View The DSI Service Manual manual for information on troubleshooting the direct spark ignition system.
Pilot ignition surface burners work in much the same way but a thermocouple is not needed because the valve is not automatic, the user would manually open the burner valve at the front of the stove releasing the correct amount of gas for the desired amount of heat. A small amount of gas will then flow through tiny holes in the side of the burner head and down a connecting tube to the burner’s pilot flame. There are usually two pilot flames, one for the right front and rear burners and one for the left front and rear burners.
Common Problems with this system can occur when a pilot flame goes out or the small holes that allow gas to flow into the ignition tube become clogged or blocked. If the pilot light is on but the burners will not light quickly try cleaning these holes out with a needle or pin. The pilot flame size can usually be adjusted up or down with a flat head screw control on top of the small gas tubing that supplies gas to the pilot lights. The pilot flame should be just large enough to stay on, but not so large that the stove top becomes extremely hot.
Electronic ignition surface burners are the new standard. This method of burner ignition uses a spark module to generate the current necessary to create the arc needed for the burner to light. The spark module is located in deferent locations depending on your stove model; it can be easily located by following the igniter wires back to their source, or using the model search box in the left side page menu to find an exploded drawing for your model. The spark module is supplied 120 Volts AC through a switch that is mounted behind the burner control knob, when the knob is turned the switch rotates and closes, allowing electric current to flow through to the spark module. The spark module then supplies a high voltage repeating pulse to the igniter.
with this system can occur when the spark module fails to send the proper amount of current required for the igniter to produce a spark, the igniter breaks or arc contacts become dirty or misaligned, the burner switch wont allow electricity to flow through to the spark module, or a connecting wire breaks fails to carry the electricity needed to component in the stoves ignition circuit.
How Microwave Ovens Work
Dancing Molecules | What’s A Microwave Anyway? | The Magic Magnetron | Microwaves…Can They Be Trusted? | Frozen Burritos & Beyond
DO NOT REMOVE A MICROWAVE OVEN CABINET UNLESS YOU ARE VERY COMFORTABLE WITH WHAT YOU ARE DOING!
Most foods contain water molecules. Each molecule of H2O has a positively and negatively charged end, just like the north and south poles of a magnet. The electromagnetic field of a microwave orients all of the positive ends in one direction. However the magnetic field reverses 4.9 billion times each second. This causes the molecules to flip back and forth attempting to remain balanced. This microscopic flipping motion creates friction-producing heat. Glass, ceramic and plastic containers are water-free and thus remain cool, although heat transfer from the food gives the impression that microwaves are heating them as well.
To understand what a microwave is we need to look at the electromagnetic spectrum. A microwave is a large radiation wave about 1 centimeter in length slightly shorter than ultra high frequency radio waves. To give a general picture, an electromagnetic wave length between 1 meter and 10 kilometers (about 6 1/4 miles) is used for radio broadcasting. Visible light waves are between 300 and 650 nanometers that’s about 3.5×10 to the negative 26th power percent of the spectrum, that’s a lot of zeros! On the other side of the spectrum are x-rays and gamma rays. I wont even try to wrap your mind around how short a wave that is.
The microwave ovens transformer, diode, and capacitor raise your household electrical supply from 120 volts to about 3,000 – 4,000 volts. The magnified voltage energizes a relatively small wire within the magnetron called the cathode filament. As the filament heats up it emits negatively charged electrons. Large magnets generate a magnetic field that causes the cloud of electrons to revolve. As it does, spokes or arms are created that pass positively charged plates. Each passing spoke provides a negative charge to the cavity between the plates, which then falls off until the next spoke arrives. The rise and fall creates an electromagnetic field in the cavities that oscillates at 2.45 gigahertz. And that’s how microwaves are born. The newly created microwaves move through a waveguide into the cooking chamber, where the waves reflect off metal walls and stimulating any molecules receptive to this vibration.
Microwaves… Can They Be Trusted?
This magic box of electromagnetic radiation has been widely used since the 1950s. “If everyone was jumping off a cliff would you?” Well in response to that question I would usually ask “how many people jumped and how many survived because it looks like fun.”
Containing such a powerful force for the sake of fast meal preparation can be intimidating, but the fact is microwave radiation in unable to leave the oven cavity because of its physical size. It can’t leak out like a gas or water because it is a wave and just because we cannot see it doesn’t mean its small. Even if the glass or plastic window were removed microwaves would still be contained within the small grid of metal that in imbedded within the door like a little maximum-security prison. Enjoy your frozen pizza and fear no more…unless your in a riot and you see one of these…
Engineers will often use a platter or turntable that rotates food through the microwaves for more even heating. Oven models without a turntable have a small spinning blade at the end of the wave-guide to thoroughly distribute the microwaves. It’s like playing microwave baseball!
A microwave oven must have some moisture in it’s oven cavity to work properly. Running a microwave oven empty or regularly nuking extremely dry foods such as popcorn can greatly reduce your microwaves life span through overheating the microwave’s internal parts. Placing a small amount of water in a container with your buttery treat will help to cool the microwaves components and extend its service life. Contrary to popular belief metal can be placed into a microwave; however, the shape of the metal is the most important aspect in generating the entertaining but also dangerous arcing effect that a ball of foil or a forgotten fork can cause. Negatively charged electrons moving through the oven cavity can collect on a metallic point, such as a fork. When the charge has built up to a point that the host material can no longer contain the charge will jump causing the all to familiar arcing effect. Metal is often used in our favorite microwave foods to reflect back heat that is radiating away from the food for crisping and browning your hot pocket.