Thread Number: 75651  /  Tag: Ranges, Stoves, Ovens
Whirlpool Electric Range Problemo...
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Post# 994711   5/20/2018 at 12:24 by Stricklybojack (San Diego, CA)        

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My IKEA branded, Whirlpool manufactured, range is on the fritz.
Bought with no signs of use last year, installed by me (ah ha!), suddenly doesn't work at all.
I baked a pizza in it one night, next day nada.
The clock works, but nothing else. I have read elsewhere on the net this is a sign of power being cut from 240v down to 120v.
First I checked the breakers (two black 50's to the right in pic), flipped it back and forth, nothing there. So I figured my wiring job had failed and went in for a look see, only to find everything just as I left it last year. No sign of arcing, burn smell, or anything else amiss.
Next up, circuit breaker replacement? We are close to the ocean here and salt air is very corrosive. And btw, the breaker box is one the OUTSIDE of the house.
Whaddya ya'll think?

  Photos...       <              >      Photo 1 of 2         View Full Size

Post# 994726 , Reply# 1   5/20/2018 at 15:30 by fan-of-fans (Florida)        

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I'd agree the breaker is probably the issue, it could be allowing only 120V through the circuit. We had to replace our range breaker as well. When the breaker went bad, our Hotpoint range behaved very oddly. The top burners and oven wouldn't turn on, and turning the surface unit knobs on or off turned the oven light on and off instead. If I remember right, this happened when the oven bake element had burned out and tripped the breaker. Once the element and breaker were replaced, everything functioned normally again.

Post# 994736 , Reply# 2   5/20/2018 at 16:27 by DADoES (TX, U.S. of A.)        

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You installed the range ... so "uninstall" it and check for proper voltage at the incoming power connections.  Get a multimeter if you don't already have one, they're inexpensive and very useful.   :-)

Post# 994741 , Reply# 3   5/20/2018 at 17:52 by brisnat81 (Brisbane Australia)        

I see from Photo 2, that your panel is a Zinsco.

Try Googling Zinsco Panel failures, they seem to fit into the same class as FPE panels.

Most of the google results that appear show 50amp breakers that fail, essentially the Connection between the Bus and the breaker goes bad and the whole lot over heats and fails.

I'd get an electrician in to check your panel health regardless of the state of the stove.

The Zinsco Panels dont always have a main shutoff, so if you start fiddling and something starts to short, you wont be able to disconnect the power.

Just a different perspective. All of the information online states the homeowner should not attempt to remove a circuit breaker because if its fused to the bus, you could end up with some broken plastic in your hand and no way to turn the power off.

Post# 994786 , Reply# 4   5/21/2018 at 08:35 by cuffs054 (MONTICELLO, GA)        

I'm voting on breaker failure. Being the chicken poop that I am I'd check on a whole panel replacement, yours looks kinda tired.

Post# 994808 , Reply# 5   5/21/2018 at 10:22 by panthera (Rocky Mountains)        
There are a few youtube

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Videos on this particular circuit board family and their well-known forms of failure/fixes.

But, yes - I'd check for power at the outlet, first. Hmm, given the ancient age of those circuit breakers - is it possible there's a fusebox between them and the range?

Post# 994823 , Reply# 6   5/21/2018 at 13:22 by fisherpaykel (BC Canada)        
50 amp range breakers

Just wondering why 50 and not 40 amp range breakers since most regular 30 inch ranges use 40 amp service. Do the 40 inch double oven ranges require 50 amps? Some modern Induction ranges recommend 50 but most also accept 40. Since your clock remains on without an error code I assume it is just some electrical glitch as others have suggested and not your range control board. This range does have good styling. Keep us posted please.

Post# 994825 , Reply# 7   5/21/2018 at 13:43 by DADoES (TX, U.S. of A.)        

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The installation instructions for my electric range advise it requires a 40 amp range cord.  It's on a 50 amp circuit.  As I understand, electric circuits are sized to carry 80% maximum current of the rating, thus a 50 amp circuit can carry 40 amps of load.

Post# 994826 , Reply# 8   5/21/2018 at 13:44 by CircleW (NE Cincinnati OH area)        

When I saw that the breaker panel is Zinsco, I knew that means bad news. Like Brisnat81 says, they and FPE are the "bad boys" of the circuit breaker world. Get it replaced as soon as practical.

Post# 994843 , Reply# 9   5/21/2018 at 17:29 by fan-of-fans (Florida)        

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Yikes, I didn't notice the second picture for some reason when I read this. I agree, it's probably time for a whole new panel.

Post# 995079 , Reply# 10   5/24/2018 at 12:00 by Tomturbomatic (Beltsville, MD)        

Rust is not a good thing on metal anywhere anytime.

Post# 995114 , Reply# 11   5/24/2018 at 19:13 by stricklybojack (San Diego, CA)        

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I think a new breaker, or even carefully cleaning up the old breaker would get us back on the road for a while.
However after reading this I wonder if we should just "let r rip tater chip" and replace with a new panel.

Here someone argues why one should NOT REPAIR a Zinsco panel:

First of all, in the course of damaging the bussbars, the heat will also damage metal nearby- damage that may not be particularly visible. So, the "fix" probable won't last 30 years.
Second, the heat will also damage the breakers. Since we have no reliable way to tell if a breaker will continue to trip when it should, the breakers should be replaced. This brings us to...
Third. The breakers are no longer manufactured. Ones offered for sale are expensive, and are "reconditioned," no longer UL listed (even if the marks are present).
There are other reasons to consider a new panel, as well as an over-all upgrade to the wiring.
Old panels often have too few breakers for the necessart circuits. For example, since Zinsco went to the "great scrapyard in the sky," we've come to recognise a need for at least two kitchen circuits. An old house will often have problems with breakers tripping, as too many appliances are used at once.
Obtaining GFI breakers can be difficult for Zinsco- and Arc faults impossible.
Finally, sale of the property, and insuring it, will be harder with an obsolete panel.

Post# 995129 , Reply# 12   5/24/2018 at 22:04 by superocd (PNW)        
Outdoor panels never make any sense to me...

One home I went to for a heat pump replacement was supposedly gutted and remodeled in 1997, including the electrical, yet had an outdoor panel. I am not an expert when it comes to all the nuances of the NEC, but I'm not sure how this would have passed code in '97.

After I buttoned up the heat pump install and educated them on the thermostat, filters and the operation of the heat pump, I felt compelled to stress to them to use a wooden stick if they ever needed to turn off a breaker during the rain, since it would be in its direct path. I was especially concerned since the outer panel cover didn't appear to "seal" all that well from the elements. In fact, the wouldn't stay up and latch no matter what I did, so it left a gap of about 1/4. I advised them to get that looked at so water didn't leak in and cause a short and that it was potentially dangerous.

I also told them to wear rubber-soled shoes and to always keep one hand away and behind their back. I might have scared them a little, but I'd feel bad if something did happen and they didn't know the risks.

It just doesn't make sense to me to have the breaker panel outdoors. The house I was talking about had so many opportunities of where a panel could've been placed indooors, but for some reason, the contractor, electrician or whoever else wanted to locate it outside. Hazards aside, I always thought that it could be a way teenagers could prank homeowners or a burglar could cut the power to eliminate the lights. It's also an inconvenience. Imagine going out in freezing/rainy weather to check out a tripped breaker?

Post# 995136 , Reply# 13   5/25/2018 at 01:20 by LordKenmore (The Laundry Room)        

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I remember hearing someone who worked at a nearby Ace who talked to me bout "obsolete" service panels.  His primary focus was Federal Pacific, but I think Zinsco was also mentioned. One nightmare he knew of: people would have some project done that required inspection...and the inspector would see the service panel, and demand that before passing the service panel would have to be replaced. At a cost of $$$$. This guy at Ace had an electrician friend with a garage full of Federal Pacific circuit breakers.

Post# 995175 , Reply# 14   5/25/2018 at 15:18 by stricklybojack (San Diego, CA)        

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Well guess what? The breaker(s) were aok...the whole panel was!
So we put a meter on the junction I wired the range into...any guesses?
That too was AOK...Damn!

At that point the electrician suggested I call an appliance repairman, "please god no, my wallet will be decimated", I thought. Then I asked if there were internal breakers or fuses in the stove, he got curious and popped the back panel. And what did we find? A fried black wire...coming from the main feed to the stove. I never touched that, I focused on the other end, I swear!
So apparently what happened was, the nut that this black wire was attached to was never snugged up right and it was loose...and arching occurred frying the wire causing it to break.
When I baked the pizza I smelled something, but I dismissed it as the smell the over made when we first got the stove, a smell the manual tells you is temporary but normal.
But with the benefit of hindsight I realize it was different than the break in smell that had abated some time ago. So I thought maybe I used a higher temp than my wife normally does and re triggered it. Not!
The electrician suggested a good fix and hit the road while I toddled off the Ace Hardware for the needed bits.
I did the needed repair and so far so good, we're back in business it would appear.

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