Thread Number: 68677  /  Tag: Small Appliances
Sad GE Pot Belly
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Post# 914563   1/8/2017 at 07:50 (528 days old) by mrboilwash (Munich,Germany)        

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Hi Gang!
During my last vaccation in Florida I was lucky to score a beautiful percolator on a "real" fleamarket. (Not the kind where they only sell new Chinese stuff)
It`s not perfect, the cord is not original and the glass dome isn`t original as well but it doesn`t look out of place either. The inside looks clean and the seller confirmed it was working so how could I resist giving it a new home in Germany?

Well, it does heat up but it doesn`t shut off automatically.
It only stops boiling at the lightest setting and unfortunately the ready light does not light up.
So I decided to take a look inside, because I want my stuff in good working order, I`m a collector not a hoarder.
What I found is a rusty mess, the thing has obviously not been taken good care of.
It is also worth mentioning it is a vintage model because of the 115V rating instead of 120V and the black plastic parts are made from bakelite. It is a model 18P40.

If I lived in the States I`d probably just toss it or keep it for spare parts and wait for another chance to get another one in a better condition.
I hope I`ll be able to fix it with a little help from you guys.

Post# 914564 , Reply# 1   1/8/2017 at 08:06 (528 days old) by mrboilwash (Munich,Germany)        

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There are two adjustment screws for two thermostats. (As if one wouldn`t be complicated enough for me) LOL
The one in the front seems to control the keep warm element and the other seems to be the one for percolation.
I couldn`t get lose the rusty screws so far, hope some oil will do the trick.

My strategy is to pour boiling water into the pot and then adjust the screw until the thermostat opens on the "strong" setting. This way I hope I don`t have to energize the element while adjusting the thermostate.

Notice the connections to the heating element (which might get hot) are soldered.
Wonder how it could ever get an UL listing this way even back in the 1950s. It is an ungrounded two prong appliance with a metal frame after all.

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Post# 914566 , Reply# 2   1/8/2017 at 08:14 (528 days old) by mrboilwash (Munich,Germany)        

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Next problem is the ready light.
It looks to be a low voltage bulb which uses the resistance from the keep warm element. I don`t know if the bulb is burned out. However the connection to the keep warm element is loose and I don`t know what to think of the burnt mess which is supposed to be the connection.
No idea how to fix that.
Anybody seen this before ?

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Post# 914567 , Reply# 3   1/8/2017 at 08:16 (528 days old) by mrboilwash (Munich,Germany)        

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Here`s another one

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Post# 914574 , Reply# 4   1/8/2017 at 09:33 (528 days old) by eronie (Flushing Michigan)        

The wires are not sodered, there Spot Welded.

Post# 914580 , Reply# 5   1/8/2017 at 09:45 (528 days old) by mrboilwash (Munich,Germany)        

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Thanks. That`s good to know, so I better won`t mess with these.

Someone any idea about the odd connection from the keep warm coil to the light bulb ?

Post# 914629 , Reply# 6   1/8/2017 at 13:02 (528 days old) by cfz2882 (Belle Fourche,SD)        
often plated steel used

the connections and wiring in heating appliances is often nickel plated steel to withstand the heat that would rapidly oxidize copper parts.Might be able to reconnect the pilot lamp tap using a small strip of steel carefully crimped into place.Looks like some loose asbestos hanging around too,so don't want to disturb things too much :)

Post# 914646 , Reply# 7   1/8/2017 at 14:02 (528 days old) by panthera (Rocky Mountains)        
Using the open coil

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Heating element as a resistor is often done.

It won't do any harm to switch the lamp to mains current and just cap off this connection. I'd not try to remove it, just cut the wire off as close to the crimp as possible and make sure it can't short.

Our 1953 Westinghouse Rainbow Stove used this technique for two different pilot lamps. Replaced them with standard neon glo-bulbs and current limiting resister.

Post# 914664 , Reply# 8   1/8/2017 at 15:17 (528 days old) by mrboilwash (Munich,Germany)        

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Thank you guys for your input.
I carefully tried to clean the part where the lamp wire was attached to the keep warm coil and managed to disconnect the coil itself from the mains as well. Sigh... So for now as long as I won`t destroy it any further while fixing it, I would have to make two splice connections with a small strip of steel. I have no possibility to weld anything.
The oil on the adjusment screws did its job but I`m afraid the whole thing is beyond repair.
It looks almost too good to be true on the outside but it had obviously contact with water where it shouldn`t. Everything is rusty and brittle.
It`s breaking my heart but I think it`s best to throw it away.

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