Potentiometer/Variable resistor with AC advice Answered
I'm a computer store tech who knows how to solder some(but DC stuff only) and who also enjoys cooking, so my ? is: What's the best choice of pot. for use with US household current to actually control the cooking temp of my hotplate? End result is to eliminate the annoying "heat spikes" you get due to lack of a pot. in the design, IE literally everything sold these days turns on at full current/temp until it reaches X temp, basically it's just temporally defined by how far you turn the knob, and your pancakes wind up crispy black around the edges and gooey in the middle instead of golden brown and amazing all over. I want it to turn on at X current until X temp (like electric frypans/burners did if you're old enough to remember.) All I need to do ( I think) is add a pot/VR into my burner's element "line" the right way, it already shuts off at X temp just fine. Incidentally, that's the "click" you hear when any home electric cooking device (sold in North America, at least) hits temp or turns on, the temp. control switch thingee connecting. It's NOT a VR/pot, just a pair of electrodes JUST barely touching strapped very tightly to some ceramic discs. It uses thermal expansion of the discs/electrodes to make things just a tiny bit bigger and separate the tiny little electrode spoons But all that boring geekspeek affects in this configuration as basically just temporal heating, IE no reduction of the amount of heat in my frypan, just the cooking time. Science says if I reduce the amount of electrons flowing thru it just slightly as well, it'll be colder but still hot and still shut off when it's hot enough. A pot/VR wired in the right way will do exactly that, won't it?
After some research I'm thinking something like a 30-50K "B"-taper pot. wired with 2 of 3 traces (https://www.instructables.com/id/Wire-a-Potentiometer-as-a-Variable-Resistor/), I'm looking for a "broad" response range while turning with a tight "pinch" effect at low end for amazing banana-brown-sugar-pinch-of-nutmeg pancakes with coffee on the tiny balcony/fire escape in the morning but I have no idea how the numbers work for AC currents. Does 120vAC mean a different pot or a diff config/approach altogether? Or should I be looking into AC variable resistors, instead? I know an awful lot about "base" science, enough to get me this far, right, but AC throws me for a loop a lot, and there's a gap in my knowledge/experience, between the basic stuff and how it applies to stuff like my application, I don't get a lot of the numbers/formulas and how to use them.
A VR would the ideal tool here, but they are hard to get in the right form with the electrical qualities I need, whereas pots are usually "turning switches", right?