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My dishwasher uses a Bauknecht 2040W heating element:

enter image description here

Can you test if it's faulty using a continuity test?

If so, is the continuity test between:

  • ground and the positive,
  • ground and the negative, or
  • the positive and the negative?

Testing between positive and negative shows continuity but between either the positive or the negative and ground doesn't.

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up vote 3 down vote accepted

Continuity is "An unbroken electrical path in an electronic circuit or connector[1]". First thing, unplug the dishwasher or if hard-wired turn off the circuit breaker. Unplug the connector to the heating element and then test the contacts on the heating element.

A heating element is a semi-conductive (typically coil) that creates heat as it resists the flow of electricity through it, a.k.a. a resistor. Also, even though there may be a clear positive and negative fed into/through it, a resistor does not have positive and negative terminals so orientation of your testing leads doesn't matter. A conductivity test will provide some feedback, but a resistance test with provide more accurate feedback, set your multimeter to Ohms Ω and check that the value across the heating element is within manufacturer's standards.

Whenever testing a heating element, make sure you are actually testing the element and not a circuit before it that drives it!

[1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Continuity

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thanks, i didn't think about seeing if there where was a manu's spec for the resistance. Unfortunately it's ok which means it's something else (that's beyond my capacity to check), – Alex Jul 29 '13 at 12:24
turns out it was the pump...something that wasn't on the list of things to check with the error Fault the machine was giving. – Alex Aug 5 '13 at 15:59

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