THIS is why you should be extremely careful when buying equipment on eBay, I finally thought maybe this is a 110-220 issue, so I popped off the variac housing and voila, sure enough the controller is rated 220-250v and it simply has a standard US plug attached. Unbelievable. Good news, it probably works if I had a 220 source, better news, I can probably find a 110 replacement part, bad news, some scammy dick on eBay could have killed someone.
I was recently gifted this defective heating mantle. It is like this one from ebay (looks the same) http://www.ebay.ca/itm/110-V-2000-ML-Capacity-Heating-Mantle-Free-DHL-Shipping-by-Quality-Brand-BASCO/282118501134 Anyway, cheap garbage no doubt, so I tried testing it and it pulls about 195 watts (I put a meter on it) regardless of knob position, and will not heat a 2 litre vessel of 1 litre of water above 60 deg C (took an hour to confirm this) , it is rated for 450 watts and max temp of 350 deg C Was wondering if there may be a way to fix it. My analog electronics is a bit rusty but I can manage component level replacement and soldering. Just hesitant to take it apart unless needed. Or maybe I am doing something wrong? I would expect the wattage to increase to a max of approx 450 at position 100 and go down to about 45 watts at position 10, as the wattage remains constant regardless of control knob I am thinking it may be a hint to the problem. I should add the heating element is within the fabric mesh that holds the boiling vessel. I have a spare but have no idea if its the mesh or the controller.