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KitchenAid KGCT365AAL0  Rating:  Rating
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 Posted: Wed Dec 6th, 2006 11:20 pm
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stainlesssteel
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I have a KitchenAid gas cooktop, purchased new in 1993 by my apartment manager dad. I ASSUME (see below) it's model no KGCT365AAL0
http://home.san.rr.com/emiller/C4718KitchenAidgasrange.jpg
http://home.san.rr.com/emiller/C4716KitchenAidsparker.jpg

Sparker #2 of 4 won't turn off after burner flame ignites.

Sparkers 1, 3 and 4 work correctly: they turn off when their burner flames ignite. You can even blow them out when on a low setting, and the sparker will start up again--a cool magic trick actually, as well as a great safety feature.

Initially, the was no spark at all at burner 2. I replaced sparker 2, not being sure what the model number for the gas cooktop was. It sparks now but again it won't turn off after flame lights. Hoping to check if it sparker 2 was defective i.e. had the wrong resistance vs what the spark module expected, I tried switching the kilovolt-level spark wires between sparker 2 and 1, and sparker 2 and 4. In both cases, BOTH sparkers now ignite flames, but won't turn off. I think i'd need the spark module schematic to understand why...

I've verified correct polarity and grounding of the power outlet with a tester.

I'm ready to just do the shotgun approach and replace the spark module, but it's $98.95 or so at repairclinic.com. Coast Appliance here in San Diego has it at apartment manager price of $77.96, or $113 for the poor slob off the street.

Any better ideas?

Also, does anyone know of generic replacement knobs for this? They are cracked underneath, where they attach to the burner shaft, so they're almost useless in turning that shaft. The "factory" ones are an insane $27.02 each at appliance-parts-warehouse.com.

Irrelevant Time Sink But Interesting Design Observation:

I notice on new entry level gas cooktops the knobs have is a "IGNITE" and then a High/medim low setting. Turning them on is a 2-step process:
1) turn to IGNITE and wait for burner flame to ignite
2) adjust flame high/med/low

Turning on this KitchenAid gas cooktop instead is a one-step process--eliminating step 1 above. It senses (not sure how) when the flame is lit and turns off the sparkers automatically. This auto-shutoff sparker design seems much more elegant, and much safer than the separate IGNITE position: If the flame is accidentally blown out, from say an open window or a draft from opening the base cabinet below, or me playing amateur magician...and left unattended, you risk a nice big explosion and dead-people-generating gas leak. This isn't that unusual if someone isn't there to see the flame go out--for example, left just for a minute to answer the door etc.

This post
http://forum.doityourself.com/archive/index.php/t-22776.html

claims "The sparker changes electrical resistance when heated by the flame. This resistance is then sensed by the module, which, turns off the electric flow to the sparkers"

This makes sense to me...typically resistance varies proportional to temperature (example: Absolute zero - superconductivity). When resistance is low (burner off ) the sparker circuit activates. When sparker resistance is high due to proximity to the burning flame, the sparking senses more current required to overcome the resistance. It then uses that increased current as a flag to tell itself to stop sparking.

Am I missing something, thinking the IGNITE position design is really inelegant and unsafe?


Note:
There is NO model number anywhere on this cooktop....maybe it was on a plate on the under-counter part and was damaged and fell off during installation or ?.... To figure out its number, I spent about 30 minutes at this website looking at service manuals for a picture that looked like my gas cooktop:
http://www.appliance-parts-warehouse.com/whirlpool-parts/Whirlpool-Stove-Oven-Parts-Page-3151.cfm

After about 30 minutes of looking, my cooktop appears to be the KGCT365AAL0. But I'm not absolutely sure.

Attachment: C4718KitchenAidgasrange.jpg (Downloaded 89 times)



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 Posted: Thu Dec 7th, 2006 12:19 am
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nickfixit
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Replace all 4 of the surface unit switches. It's number 2 giving you problems now, but the others are just as old and have the same duty life. May as well do all 4 and have it work properly for a while. Remember to keep the wires to the switches the same when doing the repair, you need to have it exactly the same.

Nick



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 Posted: Thu Dec 7th, 2006 01:04 am
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stainlesssteel
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Thanks for the reply.

I don't see how a bad #2 burner (surface unit) switch could be the problem.

As I understand it, all the electrical switch integrated in the burner knob does is connect line voltage to the spark module. The spark module uses this information to send kilovolt level voltage to all 4 sparkers.

Since the sparkers (all 4 by design) start sparking when the #2 burner knob is turned on, the switch in the #2 burner appears to be doing its job. It's just that sparking continues even after the #2 burner flame lights.

If my understanding of the surface unit switch is correct, it receives no feedback as to whether the burner flame is lit. Therefore it has nothing to do with the sparkers continuing to spark even after #2 flame ignites.

My best guesses
1) spark module is not correctly detecting whatever feedback it receives through the sparker. I assume this feedback is the sparker's heat-dependent electrical resistance. There is only one wire from the burner to the spark module....the sparker wire...that is, there are no other wires for, say, a heat or flame sensor.
2) electrical resistance vs. temperature curve of the sparker is not what the spark module expects. This could be because it's the wrong sparker (quite possible, as I had no part number when I bought it--the guy at Coast Appliance just matched the sparker to the old one I brought in on looks) or it's defective--aging, heat damage etc.

Therefore the best things to try replacing are the spark module, then the #2 sparker.

Am i missing something?

What would really help me is more detail on how the spark modules senses flame. Does anyone have a schematic for this sort of spark module, or know generally how they sense flame and/or temperature?



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 Posted: Thu Dec 7th, 2006 05:12 am
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Crouching Tiger

 

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The system you have is an auto re-ignition spark module.  All ignitors spark together with only the turn of one valve switch.  The spark module senses flame through the electrode wire through the actual flame then into the burner head and back to the spark module.  I have had many of the auto re-ignition units spark after ignition.  The main cause is that there is bad contact through the burner cap and burner head.  Clean all surfaces of the burner and cap assembly and related fastners ( some have a brass nut fastened to the main top).  Also check for poorly fitting burner caps.  This should help.  Let us know how it works.

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 Posted: Fri Dec 8th, 2006 04:51 am
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asteysn2



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The condition of the electrodes has to be clean and without cracks-- that condition allows the spark current to leak to the frame.

Usually the valve switches arent going to give you too much grief. If the electrodes are sparking away with the flame intact the valve switch is doing its job. On re-ignition units its very important that the valve burner switch matches up with the correct terminal for the High tension electrode lead wire.

The burner will stop aparking when the flame acts as a conductor between the electrode and the burner base. If the electrode isnt being licked by the flame it is not receiving re-ig current (typ, about 5 micro amps)

Also, dont forget to consider that the High Tension leads may be breaking down and may warrant replacement

Order of consideration:
1. High Tension leads and TIGHT connections at both ends
2. Electrodes (kept clean with no cracks)

3. Spark module

4. Burner switch
Experience has taught me that this is the usual order of suspicion

Robert Sankie,
Coastal Appliance, Heating & A/C
Serving San Diegos North County
http://www.coastalappliances.com



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Website: http://www.coastalappliances.com
email: coastalserve@gmail.com
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 Posted: Tue Dec 26th, 2006 11:22 am
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stainlesssteel
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Thanks for all the suggestions

The #2 sparker electrode was the problem. I exchanged the #1 and #2 electrodes, and got the #2 burner to operate correctly, i.e. turn off the sparker after flame is lit. And now the #1 burner exhibits the keep-on-sparking behavior. The only difference in the electrodes appears to be the length of the actual electrode wire at the sparking end (see photo)...the longer one works correctly.

I'm glad I didn't implement my original plan of shotgunning the spark module.

asteysn2, the high tension wires all looked fine. Helpful comment on the order of magnitide of the flame current-- 5uA...

I was right though in suspecting #2 was not the correct sparker for this model. As I noted above, i didn't (and still don't) have a model number for the gas cooktop. I had taken the old #2 electrode to Coast Appliance circa October 2005, and a counterperson visually matched it with a similar looking one, but a shorter electrode wire (see photo--the correct one has the longer sparker, the worn looking one on the right). The shorter wire electrode sparked and ignited the #2 burner, but as described above, wouldn't turn off.

My problem now is finding the correct sparker. This would be trivially easy if i knew the model number of the cooktop. I've since found that my dad removed the bottom cover of the cooktop when he installed in in 1993, apparently to make the installation easier or ?, and it's since been lost. It almost certainly is where the model number is.

I really thought that KGCT365A number was correct - but the sparking electrode looks different.

So my choices:
1) Continue looking for someone that can ID the cooktop model by the picture in my first post
2) Find someone to visually ID the sparker from my photo. Maybe there's a 40 year veteran with a photographic memory that will glance at this pic and instantly rattle off a 12 digit part number.

Any guesses?

Attachment: E4097electrodes.jpg (Downloaded 53 times)



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 Posted: Wed Nov 14th, 2007 02:11 am
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stainlesssteel
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Note to anyone stumbling on this thread:

The problem was solved - Feb 2007:

Keinokuorma found a part number at repairclinic.com by sheer visual matching of my photo. And that sparker fixed the problem. I was impressed! The details and the thread continues a few weeks later at:

http://applianceguru.com/forum1/11991.html

Last edited on Wed Nov 14th, 2007 02:12 am by stainlesssteel



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