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Marcia Selsor

error 1 message

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I have been firing a digital Skutt 1227 at UTB. The last two attempts at firing ended with an ERR1 message. The elements are fine. The firing was a student's dinner set. The first attempt was during a cold snap and the electric heating system was running as well as fluctuations in the city's power supply. The second try did melt the glaze but also ended in an ERR1 message. Again a cold snap and electric heater running and fluctuations in the power supply. Could those fluctuations be the problem? I did rearrange the top level and got a shelf away from the pyrometer. The reasons for an error message are: bad coils, bad relay, possible heavy load where the temperature can't climb, and low voltage. I am hoping it was low voltage. Will have to check the relay after break.

Any other suggestions?

Marcia

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Sounds like a voltage problem. My L&L kiln did that when i first put it in. Turned out the eletrician did not put in the 6 gauge wire he was supposed to do and it heat up the breaker box and trip the switch on the breaker box.

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Guest HerbNorriss

A couple years ago, my 1027 was stalling at 1636 F, and giving me the E-1 message. Turns out I had two bad relays, which I replaced, along with the wiring harness.

You said the elements are fine, so I would not suspect the relays; the fact that the electric heaters were on at the same time as both failed firings is probably not a co-incidence; I would suspect the voltage. Maybe you could wait til the weekend (like, um, now) when the buiilding is mostly empty, and lower the temp on the thermostat so that the heaters don't go on, then try the firing again.

You never know how buildings are wired, especially the older ones.

It's very unusual for YOU to be needing advice, usually you are helping the rest of us! You're one of the greats on the forum, you can get it to work!

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Marcia, based on a recent experience with my new SKUTT 1027 six weeks ago... I would concur with your thought of low voltage as being the culprit, probably precipitated by the other heavy loads on the system at the time... fluctuating city power and heavier demand with the electrical heating system.

 

My electrician told me, when he wired up my studio this summer, that I may have to have a larger main cable brought into the building as he felt it might not be large enough to carry the load for the high end firing. Once I started firing the kiln, I found that I had no problems at the cone 06 to cone 04 earthenware levels.

 

However, the first time that I attempted firing to the stoneware level of cone 6, all the circuits popped on all those items in the house and studio that were on the phase 3 circuit (ie. dishwasher, dryer, radiant floor heatpump, well pump and kiln). The controller message was 'ERR1' and showed that it did actually fire to 1090°C (about cone 03).

 

After replacing the three main fuses on the circuit panel, I've had no more problems with three additional 06-04 firings. I do need to have the electrician replace the main cable that will carry a heavier load to accommodate the stoneware firings, though.

 

So to me... your voltage load problem sounds very similar to mine.

 

Maybe an alternate suggestion might be to wait until Spring to fire when there won't be fluctuations in the power supply and cold snaps tying up the heating system.biggrin.gif ..........dry.gif

 

Good luck!

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Bummer for the student.

 

As I recall, Error 1 means the temp couldn't be raised 150-deg/hr as sampled by the thermocouple.

 

Thermocouple accuracy drifts slowly over time, but during the course of a single firing they generally work or not... so I wouldn't assign very high probability to a thermocouple problem. That leaves sagging line voltage, a colder than normal environment, and aging elements or relays with a high contact resistance... or perhaps a "perfect storm" of degradations of all three.

 

When you say "cold snap" was the kiln room temp still within spec. for the kiln? If so, then it may have been a factor, but isn't the smoking gun.

 

When you say "voltage fluctuations" are you saying lights dimming for long periods of time, just flickering, or what? Generally the electric utilities will shut down lines of the voltage sags more than a few percent for more than a few cycles, so again, while it could be a factor, I doubt it's the smoking gun either.

 

That leaves the wiring, elements and relays. Have you made actual resistance measurements on the elements to insure they are each within spec. for your model/voltage/phase kiln? Elements degrade with age (actually, number of firings) and it's not unheard of to find the wrong element got installed during a maintenance operation. Next would be checks for loose connections in the wiring that connects the controller to the elements? Next I would suspect the relays... I measure the current in the wires between the controller and the elements... if below spec then I replace the relays. I usually do all these measurements with my own test meters even though the newer controllers have some measurement features built in... old habits die hard, LOL.

 

The 1227 is a pretty resilient kiln in my experience. My bet would be it's an element problem... probably age degradation which probably lead to a "perfect story" scenario... sagging voltage, cold near the lower limit of the spec, element resistance near the spec limit, perhaps even relay contact resistance near their spec limit... all at the same time... and bingo... Error 1.

 

Element problems are not always obvious. I got involved in an odd Error 1 case last year for a friend. Her kiln had been re-bricked and new elements installed about a year prior to when it started the Error 1 failures. She said "everything was working ok... all the elements heat up and I've replaced the thermocouple... the service guy says I need a new kiln". That's like a red flag in the face of a bull for me since everything in a kiln is replaceable. The errors occurred during both cone 04 and cone 5 firings. When I checked the resistance of the elements they all looked reasonable and when I checked the charts they matched ... until I checked the charts again... they matched the wrong readings for her kiln's voltage/phase! A quick calculation showed they were putting out only about 2/3rds of spec'ed watts. Apparently, over the course of a year's worth of firings, the elements had degraded enough so that they became marginal in their ability to raise the temp 150-deg/hour.

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