Hotpoint dishwasher question

A friend just got a second-hand Hotpoint dishwasher (First Edition DW21P). Doesn't look to have been used much, quite clean all around. I called around to plumb it in.
I ran it through a cycle, but was concerned about its operation. The fill level is quite a way below the heating element. I noticed this because I opened the door when it started the main wash, and some steam came out, even though the water had only just started heating. Then I realised this was coming from the surface of the exposed element, which gets sprayed, but is not submerged. I presumed this was a fault and aborted the cycle.
Took off the side panel to look for a pressure sensor. Instead, I found that it fills the machine from a water bottle in the side, which it fills and syphons out 3 times to give 3 bottle loads of water in the machine, presumably to give a measured quantity of water. I couldn't see what was counting up the 3 bottles - it could be a pressure sensor, but I didm't notice one.
Anyway, to make sure the rest of the machine was working OK, I ran another full cycle, but for the main wash and final rinse (the two heated parts of the cycle), I manually topped up the water to cover the element. It worked fine, but at the end of the drying cycle, it was obvious that the element was running with no water in the machine (water which drips on it instaly boils away), presumably to provide the drying heat?
So this got me thinking - is it actually supposed to be able to run above the water in normal operation? It is mounted quite high up. Can anyone else with one of these have a look inside during the main wash and/or final rinse, and see if the water level covers the element?
--
Andrew Gabriel
[email address is not usable -- followup in the newsgroup]
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Sun, 3 Mar 2013 00:43:41 +0000 (UTC), snipped-for-privacy@cucumber.demon.co.uk (Andrew Gabriel) wrote:

I'm sure my Tricity-Bendix machine does an impersonation of an oven at the end of its cycle TBH I wish it didn't as I don't need the stuff to be bone dry and I would rather save the electric. About 12 years old and never had an element or any fault other than the door counter balance spring breaking.
--
Graham.

%Profound_observation%
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Sunday, March 3, 2013 12:43:41 AM UTC, Andrew Gabriel wrote:

Normally in drying mode the element operates at reduced duty cycle.
NT
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On 03/03/2013 00:43, Andrew Gabriel wrote:

Our Zanussi runs above or not fully submerged, its only had one replacement element in 12 years. We are in a soft water area.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here. All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.