OK, maybe this thread is generic enough that it ought to be part of "Random Thought". But I was envisioning a place for people to ask questions. (And, hopefully, someone among the vast ES membership could answer.)
Something I've wondered has to do with electric ranges. Specifically, I wonder how they "dial down" the power.
I understand that the heating element is a resistor. Feed it power, it hers hot.
But how do they make the heating element put out 90% heat? (Or, to pick a perhaps better example, how do they get 50% heat.)
They can't simply put a resistor in series with the load (the way a dimming light switch works), because if you "choke down" a resistor to only 50% power, then your dimmer is consuming the same amount of power (and therefore, putting out the same amount of heat) as the heating element.
And I can't believe that they have a thermostat or something similar, or some kind of switching circuit that adjusts the duty cycle, because they've had electric ranges since, when, the 50's?
So, how does an electric range make the heating element put out 50% heat?