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Need A Little Help With Kiln Controllers

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So after pestering you fine folks about rehabilitating on old Skutt 1027 I decided that I really didn't want to put a bunch of time and money into an old kiln that is not in the best shape, and instead am having a kiln rebuilt for me by a semi-local L&L distributer. It's basically a J230 with new electronics and elements, however it has a manual controller. I really want to go with an electronic controller and apparently to retrofit this one with a hardwired version was not really going to be cost-effective so am looking at wall-mount/plug-in styles. From my research it looks like my options would be something like the Skutt wall-mount Kilnmasters, an Orton Autofire, or a Rampmaster for the plug-in styles. And then there's the Electro Sitter, which from what I can determine looks like is a unit that replaces the kiln sitter, and then has the option of going with a few different control panels, of which the Bartlett V6-CF seems to be a pretty solid choice. I do really like the idea of the Genesis, but haven't found that as an option, so would require buying an Electro Sitter with a different control board and then replacing it with the Genesis, but that would be really expensive and kind of a waste for just a little bling on my kiln. Oh yeah, and then there are all those cheap controllers on eBay for under $100, and while I'm sure some are OK for certain uses, I'm pretty skeptical.

So, I'm asking for some input and suggestions as to what would be a good option for me (just a hobbyist, not a production potter......yet). Obviously keeping the cost lower is better, but I want something quality that will be reliable and last a while, and that I won't outgrow in a year (even though I know I could get by with just a kiln sitter indefinitely). I'm comfortable doing some light electrical work if need be.

Ok, one last thing, should I consider something that will control all three zones independently or just stick with a controller with one pyrometer? Having something that could adjust each zone independently sounds pretty cool, but from what I've read sounds like it can put a bit of extra strain on elements and relays. And if I really had issues with cold spots couldn't I potentially compensate for this by just adjusting the infinite switches, thereby eliminating the need for a 3-zone controller? Thanks so much for your help!

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I am thinking of the same for my Skutt 1027. Have not decided on what route to go with but am leaning on using a genesis with zone control. This does not look difficult to remove the sitter, wire in 3 thermocouplers, 3 relays and a centre tap transformer. My biggest thing I need to find out is mounting the thermocouples .

There are several wiring diagrams available how to wire the controller. If I do not use zone control I would then go with a wall mount system and leave the sitter on the Kiln.

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Any of those options would work, with the exception of the eBay versions. While they would probably work, the controllers made specifically for kilns are a lot more user friendly and do the cone calculations for you.

 

Any kiln company that uses Bartlett controllers can also get the Genesis, so I would call them and ask what the cost difference would be. It's a direct swap with the V6-CF, so it should only be the difference in hardware costs.

 

If you're going to this much trouble to rewire, and you really want the full benefit of a digital kiln, I would look into doing zone control. The Electro Sitter and other external controllers wouldn't work for that, though, since they use a single large relay. But, you could buy an empty control box from Skutt or L&L and build your own system for around $650, maybe less if you source the parts from the web. The L&L piggy-backed control box setup is the best, since the electronics stay cooler and they're easy to work in.

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Thanks for the info. That puts the L&L controller right in line with most of the others that I've been looking at in terms of price, but I assume it's quite a bit more involved as far as install goes, correct? If it's basically how Ronfire explained it then that's certainly within my realm of capability, just need to be sure I got all of the correct parts. Hmm, now you've got me thinking.....

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