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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Posts
    12,195

    I need help with an electric steam table -

    Anybody here do kitchen equipment service ?

    A guy over at the country club asked me today about an electric steam table. Apparently the refrigeration works so well now that they assume I can fix anything.

    They have had the steam "fixed" repeatedly and the heating elements keep burning out.

    Which sounds like they are leaving it on all night and running it out of water to me.

    Of course they deny that.

    Are there burn-out proof / run-dry elements available for these things? How about a float switch? These can't be the only people in the world having these problems.

    Anybody here work on this stuff?
    PHM
    --------
    The conventional view serves to protect us from the painful job of thinking.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Location
    SE Michigan
    Posts
    17,840
    Theres gotta be some sort of emersion probe that can be used to break a circuit in case of no water.

    Never worked on one though.
    "Politicians are the lowest form of life on Earth. Liberal Democrats are the lowest form of politician"

    - General George S. Patton

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2002
    Location
    fort walton beach fl.
    Posts
    790
    Responding from your last post in the reefer section. The high limit is normally mounted right next to the element. Do you have the model and serial #'s?
    http://acfwb.com/

    "The best preparation for good work tomorrow is to do good work today"

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Posts
    12,195

    Not yet - but I have a good excuse - want to hear it?

    PHM
    -------





    Quote Originally Posted by smurphy View Post
    Responding from your last post in the reefer section. The high limit is normally mounted right next to the element. Do you have the model and serial #'s?
    PHM
    --------
    The conventional view serves to protect us from the painful job of thinking.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2000
    Location
    Guayaquil EC
    Posts
    10,265

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2002
    Location
    SE Texas
    Posts
    435
    I've worked mostly on APW Wyott hot food wells. The ones with drains should not be run dry. The ones without drains can be run wet or dry. I'm not 100% sure, but I do not believe either one has a high limit control.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    mid-Tennessee
    Posts
    709
    Typically there's two types of controls:

    1. A thermostat. That's it...a KX thermostat.
    2. An infinite switch AND a limit thermostat. The limit tstat is a little bi-metal dohicky (sp) connected directly to an element. An infinite control needs that since it doesn't sense.

    Is it possibly and infinite control setup LACKING that limit tstat?
    ° ° ° ° ° ° ° ° ° ° ° ° ° ° ° ° ° ° ° ° ° ° ° ° ° ° ° ° ° ° ° °

    "You never know what others don't know." -

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Posts
    12,195

    Got a short chance to look at it today -

    I could not find a maker's name anywhere on it.

    Each heated pan is over a water bath. Each of the first water baths has a drain.

    Under each water bath pan is what appears to be a cover/plate containing a heating element. The power is apparently controlled by a dial thermostat with a red power light on it. The sensing tube of the temperature control also leads into the heating pan/plate.

    It just has a tiny space to slide into under the heating element pans. How the hell are you supposed to work on it? I can barely get one arm in there with me - two arms is impossible.
    PHM
    --------
    The conventional view serves to protect us from the painful job of thinking.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2002
    Location
    SE Texas
    Posts
    435
    Quote Originally Posted by Poodle Head Mikey View Post

    It just has a tiny space to slide into under the heating element pans. How the hell are you supposed to work on it? I can barely get one arm in there with me - two arms is impossible.
    Yeah, depending on how the wells are installed, it can be a real PITA to access the elements and controls. Some, I've had to literally lay on my back and slide under the wells to work on them. Some, you can access the heating elements and controls from the front. It depends.
    With your chrome heart shining in the sun, long may you run.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Posts
    12,195

    Nothing on the front but the dials for the stats

    Nothing on the front but the dials for the stats.

    There were apparently SS plates enclosing the under side of the heating pans and elements and wiring, but only one is presently installed.

    There doesn't seem to be any safety controls and adding them seems impossible. Do they count on the stat to turn off the heating element in the event of no water?

    PHM
    -----





    Quote Originally Posted by SandShark View Post
    Yeah, depending on how the wells are installed, it can be a real PITA to access the elements and controls. Some, I've had to literally lay on my back and slide under the wells to work on them. Some, you can access the heating elements and controls from the front. It depends.
    PHM
    --------
    The conventional view serves to protect us from the painful job of thinking.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jul 2002
    Location
    SE Texas
    Posts
    435
    Yeah, apparently so. Like I said, the ones I've worked on didn't have limits, which seems like a design flaw if you ask me. All I know is our kitchen staff has been really good about not running them dry and they always turn them off before draining the water and cleaning them. The only recurring issue I have had is the wire connector being damaged from overheating where it connects to the end of the heating element.
    With your chrome heart shining in the sun, long may you run.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    mid-Tennessee
    Posts
    709

    Hmm

    Steam wells and steam tables definitely are a PITA. Most are drop-ins where a hole was cut in a counter (stainless or wood). Usually the bottom is accessible enough to repair. I've seen an occasional unit, usually multiple wells, where the only way replace the element was to pull the entire unit up out of the counter.

    I once had a self-contained roll-around I literally had to take out the the parking lot and flip over to remove the bottom of the entire cabinet to get to everything.

    Only the fancier units that automatically fill have any water sensors/control.

    If that well uses a thermostat to control, that's all there is. No safeties.

    If you ever figure out a way to get to this thing, have with you plenty of:

    1. High temp wire
    2. High temp wire terminals
    3. Ceramic wire nuts
    4. Glass electrical tape

    The last two items usually aren'tneeded since you want to minimize the number of wire connections. The most common problem with steam wells and tables are electrical connections that overheated and burned off. ANY connections need to be clean (or new) and TIGHT.

    You asked what could cause the elements to keep blowing. Check their incoming voltage and compare it to what's stamped in the element. It may have 208 vac elements in a 240 vac circuit. I've serviced a place that had their 120 vac unit plugged into 208!

    Ya never know!
    ° ° ° ° ° ° ° ° ° ° ° ° ° ° ° ° ° ° ° ° ° ° ° ° ° ° ° ° ° ° ° °

    "You never know what others don't know." -

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    mid-Tennessee
    Posts
    709
    (don't know what happened to the EDIT feature)

    Of course, you may want to check the thermostat calibration. It may not be cycling.
    ° ° ° ° ° ° ° ° ° ° ° ° ° ° ° ° ° ° ° ° ° ° ° ° ° ° ° ° ° ° ° °

    "You never know what others don't know." -

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