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activa

wolf challenger KCHSSR ignition retrofit

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activa

So... I've been a member for probably fifteen years, but haven't been online recently, now I find there are posts I posted that I can't access anymore! I guess tempus fugits.

I have an ancient Wolf Challenger KCHSSR "snorkler" range that is a family heirloom... it's the only thing my son wants when I go to the great appliance repair shop in the clouds.

I bypassed the flame switch years ago (gasps of horror!) but the solenoid finally bit the big one. And OEM parts for the beast are INSANELY expensive (especially for a stove we got for free). I'd like to retrofit with a safer (?) igniter/safety valve system. But it looks like most of the safety valves on amazon are for 3 volt systems. Can anyone recommend a good 110 volt safety valve that would be suitable for the retrofit? Has anyone done such a retrofit? Any reason why I shouldn't do it?

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ECtoFix

@activa,

The only "Challenger" I can find as a Wolf product is a line of COMMERCIAL gas ranges - which are still in production.  I am a commercial cooking equipment tech, so that MY area of expertise. 

There are actually TWO manufacturers of gas ranges using the "Wolf" name:

  1. A part of the Sub-Zero Group, making high-end residential cooking appliances
  2. A part of ITW (Illinois Tool Works).  A conglomerate which includes Hobart, Vulcan, Berkel and other makers of COMMERCIAL food equipment

Those two are NOT affiliated with each other.  Here are their logos:

res.jpg

Which one (if EITHER) looks familiar?

I know nothing about a 3v system and I've never heard of that (on commercial stuff). Nevertheless, could please answer my question (residential or commercial) and I might be of some assistance.

 

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activa

Yes, it's an ancient commercial range. 36" wide, griddle/broiler on the left. Looks like this: s-l300.jpg

 

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ECtoFix

WOW!  Looks like some old units I've only found in...well - old churches.  Churches are the best preservers of old restaurant equipment.

So.  It has a four-burner stove, a griddle, a broiler and that oven.  But I don't see any switches! 

From your description of the components (flame switch & solenoid valve), I'd assumed that it has a convection oven (with a blower) and plugs into the wall for 115v.  Otherwise, a STANDARD gas oven (which that looks like) merely uses a pilot safety valve (as a low voltage millivolt system) and does NOT require 115v.

Which do you have?  If you're not sure, could you remove the kick panel underneath the oven's door and snap a picture?

 

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ECtoFix

While I'm trying to narrow this down, I should clarify that I can't offer any guidance on retrofitting.  I don't do retrofitting beyond a manufacturer's specifications and their service bulletins.  It's a liability thing.  I don't risk RE-designing equipment.

Yet, maybe I can find a more affordable resource for the part you need.

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ECtoFix

And...YES, parts for commercial stuff is horribly expensive.  Those parts are designed to survive 24/7 abuse versus the happenstance usage in a home.

As a commercial tech, I've replaced some of the most MUNDANE parts at costs which made made me cringe.  Some of the combi-ovens I work on (ones made in Germany)- hardly bigger than my refrigerator - cost as much as a brand new (also made in Germany) BMW 5 Series car to replace. 

Heck!  An el-cheapo undercounter dishwasher can cost $2000 to $5000.

Kinda like putting "marine-grade" in front of a parts description.  The part automatically becomes four times as expensive because its "SPECIAL".

It's a racket.  I have no control over it.

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activa

I've removed the old valve and switch and capped off the gas line, so unfortunately there's nothing to show.

Here's the relevant page from the manual:

https://drive.google.com/file/d/125i8wcvtAVSsLFg-ipn4R5LN-Q_1a0A-/view?usp=sharing

I understand your limitations and I'm a big boy, I've messed with riskier stuff. AFAICT most modern stoves use a fairly simple setup, with a thermostat/igniter/gas valve in series, like this:

oven-stove-ignition-6l.png

Actually this page: https://www.appliancerepair.net/gas-oven-repair/

answers my question. I know ohms law V=IR but the math didn't add up: if you look at the labels on the valves on Amazon they generally specify NOT to put 110 volts across them. But with the igniter in series, the actual voltage is proportional to the relative resistance. What doesn't add up is the amperages. If the igniter is 88 ohms (I measured the one I have) the current shouldn't be more than 110V/88 ohms = 1.25 A. But the valves spec 3 amps:

155346.jpg

So I'm going to get one of these and just plug it in to test my idea.

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Budget Appliance Repair

@activa the resistance of the igniter is not static - it changes as it heats up.   If you put an amp clamp meter on the igniter wire of a hot surface igniter system like you have pictured here and watch the amps as it heats up you will see it start out low and rise to 3.2 amp area, (with a good igniter),  then the burner should light when the amperage is correct - meaning the hot surface igniter should be plenty hot to light the gas when the safety valve opens.

Your current oven t-stat will work fine with a hot surface igniter and safety valve system but your going to have to find a safety valve with the correct gas line fitting and that you will be able to mount in the same position as your current 110Vac safety valve.

Also there isn't going to be the correct mounts to mount the hot surface igniter to you current oven burner, you would have to fabricate some type of mount where your current standing pilot and flame switch sensor is mounted.

Be very careful with trying to retrofit this system - good luck.

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ECtoFix

I've never seen that 3v valve on ANY commercial range.  Maybe Wolf went with it for awhile, but stopped supporting the setup for some reason.  Although your electrical diagram alludes to using a valve like that, it must have not been a very popular setup.  That 3v valve isn't even listed in the parts diagram. 

Incidentally, here's the same manual you had gotten that electrical diagram from:

https://resources.itwfeg.com/sites/resourcecenter/vfeg/ProductDocumentation/F714468.pdf

 

So, that thing must be mounted flat.  You'd have to remove the orifice which comes mounted to it, install a 1/8" pipe-to-compression adapter and run tubing to the oven's existing, horizontally-mounted orifice.  I'm thinking there would be a serious restriction point occurring upline in your gas supply leading to the main burner due to that 3v valve's outlet.  Essentially a pinch-point affecting gas volume (and maybe pressure) going downstream which might result in undesirable flame characteristics from the main burner.   Otherwise, the existing solenoid valve is 3/8".

11 hours ago, activa said:

155346.jpg

So I'm going to get one of these and just plug it in to test my idea.

 

Additionally, as @Budget Appliance Repair mentioned, the hot surface igniter would have order it separately and will require some adaptation for mounting.  HSIs are very fragile, so you'd want to use extreme care while handling it (don't TOUCH the glowbar section of it with your fingers!).

 

FWIW: 

Should you decide to simply stay with the existing setup, here's that solenoid valve at a very reasonable price:

Gas Solenoid Valve 3/8" 110/120V for Vulcan Hart - Part# 00-770085-00002

If you decide to do that, I MUST tell you that you absolutely should replace that flame safety switch instead of bypassing it.  Here's that swtich at full price:

Vulcan Hart 00-714321 Flame Switch, 30" Capillary

Alternately, if you call the folks in the following link, you might get a better deal.  They claim to offer a discount if you send them your core:

eRepCo part number FS3075-001HS36

By the way, for all intents & purposes, Vulcan Hart and Wolf are one in the same.

******************************************************************************************************

Another FWIW:

I've been called on witnessed the resulted of numerous commercial gas oven explosions.  In each case, the ovens were TRASHED, since the oven door(s) pretty much got punched out with enough force to ruin their structural members.  In two of those incidences, somebody ended up in a hospital.

I also CAUSED an explosion once (just last year).  It wasn't an oven, though.  It was a half-wall under a restaurant kitchen's hood.  The gas main ran through that wall and was stubbed out to all the equipment under the hood.  A very typical setup, simular to how your Wolf unit appears in your photo.

So I was working on a unit, decided to unplug it (while it was running) from the electrical outlet in that half-wall.  The timing and circumstances were the "perfect storm"...

Unbeknownst to ME, there was a gas leak inside that wall.  Apparent the requisite 5% - 15% fuel-to-air mixture (LEL & HEL) had emanated into that electrical outlet's box.  When I unplugged that appliance while it was still running, the resulting "arc" ignited the mixture.  The wall subsequently went -

BOOM!

With that wall located just below my chin, I witnessed its wallboard and top cap, ever so briefly and instantaneously...POOF outward and upward.  Then, in the same flashing moment, it all settled back into position in a disheveled form.

THEN...it was over. 

The only signs that it had ever occurred was...well, the condition of the wall...and lotsa dust.  OH!  And then the after effects. 

  • My ears ringing
  • Virtually every employee in the entire building running in to see what just happened.

Thankfully, the ONE employee present in the kitchen when it happened wasn't hurt.  Neither was I.

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