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The thermostat built into the kettle stops the kettle from heating at a prescribed temperature. usually around 425 F. This is hot enough to smoke and cause instant burns, but is the required temp for popping popcorn.
I do not know of a "thermal fuse" built into popcorn machines. Mechanical thermo stats are not flawless. they can and do malfunction, either too cold or too hot. the model popper you have is not adjustable, or repairable.
If you are tripping a electrical circuit breaker that is a different problem not related to kettle heat. It is a symptom of an overloading problem of your outlet, or a ground fault in the popcorn popper.
That model has a thermostat (also called a high limit) that is set at 450F. it should produce a popping cycle of 3 mins, and yes will burn popcorn if you don't dump it fairly quickly. The speed it heats cannot be too fast, there is only so many watts in the heat element. it may go to hot, but never to fast. The best way to test temp is time the 2nd popping cycle with a stop watch. the second batch should be 3 mins +/- 30 seconds. if it is 4 mins it is too cold. a 2 min popping cycle is to hot. A popper that is too cold is also popping poor quality popcorn, higher amount of unpopped kernels, and small chewy popcorn. Measure carfully when doing time test popping. That model is 2oz oil, 6oz popcorn, and 1 tsp salt. Start timing when you put ingredients in, and stop when you dump it. The kettle must be hot, that is why you time the 2nd batch.
Old popcorn is the first thing to check, and that you are measuring correctly. 12oz of popcorn is the correct amount in a 3 min popping cycle. always time the 2nd batch.
That model popper has 2 heat elements, and 2 thermo stats that control them. If the first 2 things to check are good, then you dropped a thermo stat or heater and it is operating on 1 heater instead of 2.
The instructions say make sure kettle motor is plugged in. Turn unit ON with switch on crown of machine. Allow unit to run for 3-5 minutes to heat up kettle. Turn unit off. Add 2 teaspoons of your favorite popcorn cooking oil to the kettle. Then add 1/4 cup of popcorn kernels to the kettle. Turn the unit on and close the door. When popping sound slows down turn the unit OFF. Flip the kettle over with the crank handle to empty the kettle. Repeat process until desired amount of popcorn has been popped.
Hello. If you want a new kettle you can contact here: http://www.star-mfg.com/Scripts/ContactTechServ.aspx
If it just needs cleaning, there are a few products that will dissolve the build up, remember, don't submerge the kettle in liquids. It will have to be done slowly, and take a little time, oh yeah, and effort :) If you contact the manufacture, they can recommend a cleaner to use. Hope that helps, and thank you.
The problem you are having is the thermostat inside the kettle is getting weak these can be ordered from Star Manufacturing or a concessions supply place that does repairs Also Gold Medal Product has a similar thermostat that will work in your kettle pt# 47082 Just a FYI