Hi, the most likely problem will be the oven sensor. The sensor is located in the oven on the back wall. Remove two screws and pull sensor out. If wire harnesss will not pull out, you will have to unplug unit and remove the back wall to unplug harness. The sensor should ohm out around 1100 ohms.
is the oven sesnor the same as the thermostat?
is this a common problem for hotpoints?
It is a common problem with all stoves.
is it relatively east to replace?
The part # XXXXX your unit is wb21x5301. Very easy to replace.
ok and woudl I need a multi-meter to detect that it has failed?
any tips on where to get a low cost replacement part?
If you have one ohm it out, it should read around 1100 ohms. Sometimes they read good and still are bad, after they get hot they break down. I would check local appliance part store, or sears partsdirect.com.
what is your confidence that this is the issue? 50,60 70 ,80%
You have two parts that control the temp, the sensor and the control, 99 percent of the time it is the sensor.
ok, I found one on ebay for $35 , GE wanted $98
ebay says the part maker is FSL and that is used for Whirlpool. COuld this be a common part across many ovens?
That is a good price, the one i found was $119.00.