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How to Troubleshoot Error F10 on a Kenmore Stove

Ian Kelly
If there's an F10 error showing on your Kenmore stove, there's a runaway temperature-contol issue.

If food baked in your Kenmore electric stove comes out burned on the top, yet remains raw on the bottom, first make sure you have a model number starting with 790.9, and then check the control board display. Unlike earlier models, this particular series is equipped with all the fault codes related to the oven. If you see an F10 error code, reset the control board by unplugging the range’s power cord and tripping the relevant breaker switch. Wait one minute, restore power, and then run a test by reheating the oven. If the error code persists, the control board has sensed a runaway temperature condition and turned the oven off. To pinpoint the problem, unplug the stove’s power cord or trip the breaker switch again, and then carry out some troubleshooting steps.

Visual Inspection

Open the oven door and use a flashlight to inspect the heating elements for physical damage such as a break or blistering. If both the bake and broil elements appear sound, look for localized charred spots adjacent to the element prongs protruding through the back wall of your Kenmore stove. If you detect charring or damage, replace both elements. If not, proceed with various multimeter continuity tests.

Multimeter Calibration

When using an analog multimeter, calibrate the instrument before carrying out continuity tests. Set the rotary dial to the lowest ohms of resistance setting, pinch the probes together and rotate the knurled adjusting wheel on the side of the instrument until the needle reads zero ohms. Alternatively, if you’re using a digital multimeter, it will automatically be set to zero, but ensure to set it to the lowest ohms-of-resistance setting before starting.

Oven Elements

Remove the stove’s rear panel to access all necessary connections. Undo the terminal screws and disconnect both heating-element wires. Touch one multimeter probe into the left heating-element terminal and the other probe into the right terminal while monitoring the readout. If the reading shows anything above zero and up to 50 ohms of resistance, the element is sound; if the readout does not move, the element is bad and must be replaced. If either the bake or broil element is faulty, the second element must work overtime to heat the oven, and this may lead to a runaway temperature condition.

Oven Sensor

Oven sensors are thermostatic devices that control the oven temperature to within a few degrees of the setting on the control board’s temperature-control mechanism. The continuity test ensures that the sensor’s power circuit is closed at room temperature, thereby proving electrical current when the oven is switched on, and then controlling the oven by turning the power on and off to maintain the required oven temperature. The sensor is between the upper baking element prongs protruding through the rear oven wall. Remove the rear panel and unplug the sensor wire connector. Insert one multimeter probe into the left terminal and the other probe into the right terminal while monitoring the readout. If the sensor is working properly, the reading should be between 1,000 and 1,100 ohms of resistance. If the meter shows a reading of 2,500 ohms or higher, the sensor is responsible for the runaway temperature condition and must be replaced.

Control Board

Access the control board from the back of the stove and test the sensor circuit from the clock to the wiring harness. Remove the 15-pin plug from the clock temperature control circuit and use the multimeter probes to check the relevant oven wires for continuity. On the Kenmore series 790.7, these wires have a distinctive violet color. Touch a probe to the first violet wire, and then touch the second probe to the other violet wires in turn. Repeat by moving the first probe to the next violet terminal, check the remaining circuits and continue this way until you’ve tested all the violet terminals. Once again, a reading of above zero to 50 ohms on all circuits shows normal continuity. However, if the reading shows between 1,000 and 1,100 ohms on any of the circuits, there is a problem with the control board. If the reading jumps to 2,500 ohms or greater on any circuit, the wiring harness is faulty and must be replaced.