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After you are finished popping corn for the day wait about 30 minutes until all components of the machine have cooled to a temperature that is safe to touch. Unplug machine from the wall for safety and remove all popcorn, remove kettle, and corn drawer. Spray all surfaces with recommended cleaner #2580CN Concession Equipment (aerosol )spray. Let the cleaner set for a few minutes and wipe clean.
After degreasing machine then use our recommended #2588CN Glass and Plastic Cleaner to clean, polish metal surfaces, glass and plastics. No Ammonia in this cleaner so will not make you plastic cloudy.Deeper Cleaning
On a weekly basis you may choose to clean the inside of the Kettle with our recommended #2095 Heat ‘N Kleen which removes carbon deposit and is non toxic and safe for most metals. Make solution per manufacturers directions. Put solution into your kettle. Turn on Kettle heat and watch closely. When it starts to boil turn heat off (DO NOT BOIL)and allow to cool for 30 minutes, dump solution carefully into a basin or pail and wipe clean.
At no time should the kettle of the popcorn machine be immersed in water.
Heavy Carbonized kettle will need additional help.
Recommended cleaner #2172CN Kleen Sweep heavy duty carbon cleaner 19 Oz. cans. Specially formulated cleaner actually softens and dissolves carbon build up on grills, kettles and any other concession or cooking equipment. Be sure when using this product you wear gloves and protect any surfaces other then the products you are cleaning. You may need to leave the product on over night and wipe clean with rags. If your kettle has heavy carbon build up you may need to repeat this several times. This should not be used on painted enamel surfaces, plexiglas or plastic. This product will help reduce your cleaning time tremendously.
Without going into too much detail about how popcorn kettles work in this article, I will just briefly explain their operation.
Popcorn typically pops at a temperature of approximately 450 Degree F. Given this fact, we obviously need quite a bit of heat in the popcorn kettle. Most small popcorn machines are comprised of several different components, the inner kettle, the kettle shell, thermostats (or thermocouples), heating element(s), and wiring.
Popcorn machines work very much like your stove top element when you set a frying pan on top of the element. The element transfers heat to the inner shell, there by heating it. The element, thermostats and internal wiring are “sandwiched” between the inner kettle and the outer shell. The wiring in the kettles is so designed that when the proper temperature has been reached, the contacts in the thermostat “OPEN”.
Most of the problems I see with popcorn kettles are either thermostat or wiring related problems. Kettle wiring is susceptible to the cycles or heating and cooling over and over thousands of times over its life. Thermostats open and close thousands of times during their lives as well.
If you are having a problem with your kettle heating up properly, the easiest thing to check would be to see if the thermostat is opening prematurely.
Plug in your popcorn machine and turn on all the switches BESIDES the HEAT SWITCH. As you turn on the heat switch, notice the light that is inside the machine. As you turn the heat switch you will notice a slight dim of the light bulb inside the popper. This indicates that your kettle is drawing some of the amperage off the main system, therefore dimming the bulb. Continue to let the kettle heat, and watch for the light to BRIGHTEN prematurely before the popcorn pops. If your light BRIGHTENS before the popcorn pops there is a GOOD chance that your thermostat has opened prematurely and needs to be replaced. This is an easy way to tell if you might need a new thermostat(s).
In the future I will explain how to use a “MULTIMETER” to check your elements, and your thermostats and even your wiring for defects. STAY TUNED FOR MORE CONCESSION TALK!
Welcome to the first installment on the long list of the bloggings of a service tech.
I have been doing service work in the fun food service industry for over twenty years. In the coming discussion I wll discuss the finer points of servicing , and maintaining your concession equipment.
Please stay tuned for upcoming blogs!