Broken rice cooker: what is wrong with it and what is the flat thing?
I've already had the exact same problem with the previous Aroma rice cooker... let me explain:
In that Aroma Rice cooker which failed, I replaced the thermal cutoff with a direct connection and it worked! Well sort of...
It actually overheated all the time, but didn't heat the food very much. Inside the connections I had made were melting/burning and it was always stinking, so of course we did not use it anymore.
So this means there was something else wrong with that rice cooker. It overheated for a reason, and removing the overheat protection caused it to overheat.
Rice cookers are very simple, so I have no idea what the problem was (and is). The only suspect is some weird rectangular thing i've seen, where two wires go in; one to the switch and the other to the element.
So with this Black & Decker rice cooker, which has been working for quite a while (maybe a year or two), it finally failed by overheating the same way the old rice cooker did when I removed the overheat protection. It stunk a bit and didn't heat up well, then the thermal cutoff broke and it became dead.
Replacing the thermal cutoff won't fix it because it would just overheat again.
So what is wrong? Is it that rectangular thing?
I opened the rectangular thing... inside there is a sandwich of materials and a wire...
The first layer is the top metal cover which covers it up (and also always becomes rusty). The second layer is a thin papery insulator (or I think it is). The third layer is the same kind of insulator, but cut and it has a thin wire wrapped around it connected to the two wires going to the whole thing. The fourth layer is another insulator like the second. And the fifth layer is the metal frame which all the previous layers sits into, and the frame is bent around them to hold it together, and it has a screwhole to attach it.
What is this thing? Is it some resistor? Does it increase resistance as it heats up, to regulate the temperature? And could this be what failed?