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Pyrometer Usage?

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I finally have my pyrometer in hand and my first thought was to pull out a peep hole plug and insert the probe into the kiln to read the temp as needed. But after looking at the thermocouple I realized I need to rethink this and i decided it might be best to permanently screw it in place. 

Test fitting the probe into the kiln reveled two other problems

1)  The probe is ripe to get hit when I move a shelf in or out. Any suggestions? (maybe I shouldn't keep it permanently installed?)

2) My small kiln (17.5"w x 22"t) has two peep holes, one views the bottom shelf and the other views the top shelf. While my top and middle shelf are close in heat based on the witness cones, wouldn't it be better if I could read temperature from the middle shelf? If so it it a good idea to drill a new hole just for the probe?

Any other pointers, suggestions or tips would be appreciated, thanks.

 

 

large-digital-pyrometer-w-3-thermo-.jpg

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Pyro placement in 99% of all electrics with only single probes is in the center..Having pyrometer is a basic tool. without one its like an oven with no thermometer .

Usually you spot a place from the inside away from elements and drill that hole from the outside in.If you are firing to cone 6 you may consider a protection tube which will make that type K element last about twice to 3 times as long and keep you from smashing it.In my bisque only electric I do not have a protection tube. In all my gas kilns I have all thermocouples in tubes.

As you noted after installing this you Now have to be aware of it while stacking and unstacking and keep the shelve edge away from it. The tip does not need to extent very far into chamber to work.

Many kilns have a hole predrilled in the metal jacket -that where they want you to put this.You only need to drill thru the soft brick thru that hole to install.all skutt kilns are this way.

The protection tube adds a lot of protection and you many consider one.We can talk you thru that if you get one as the hole you drill will be larger.

Once you can see your kilns temp you will wonder what you did without that.

I do not know what temps you are firing to or what type/brand of kiln you have.Whats your wall thickness?

Edited by Mark C.

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Guest

Thanks Mark I'll look into getting a protection tube.

 

1 hour ago, Mark C. said:

I do not know what temps you are firing to or what type/brand of kiln you have.

I'm firing to cone 6 and I have a Duncan Sitter Kiln E820-2 it doesn't have a hole for the pyrometer and I'll drill a hole in the same row of bricks as the sitter which would keep it away from the elements.

Without the protection tube, how much clearance do I need around the probe. The widest point near the base is a heavy 14mm (9/16") and the long tube in the middle is 12mm (15/32").

When installed the probe will extend 2-7/8" into the kiln


 

Quote

EDIT IN

I found a 1/4" hole in the back in the kiln, 180 degrees from the sitter. Awkward placing though for moving around shelving

 

 

Edited by Guest

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I agree with the recommendation for a protection tube. First, as noted, it will protect the thermocouple both from striking it with a shelf and from the corrosive fumes so it will last longer. But it is protection in the other direction too. The exposed tip will corrode and a rusty powder will begin to flake off, landing on and contaminating any glazeware underneath it. Before I installed protection tubes, I had to leave that segment of each shelf empty.

However, there is another thing to keep in mind with protection tubes. They do have a slight insulating value, so the thermocouple will read cooler than the actual kiln temperature. This will also introduce lag, meaning that during a heating or cooling ramp the temperature change sensed by the thermocouple is running behind the actual performance. Electronic kiln controls typically have offsets and adjustments that can be programmed, but with a handheld pyrometer, you are the computer.

Rae Reich likes this

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No matter where you put it you're going to have to work around it. The other benefit of a protection tube is that it will help prevent breaking the thermocouple when you hit it with a shelf. I replace a lot of TCs for customer because they were broken, not worn out.

Drill a hole wherever you want it, and screw the TC block to the kiln. Get the tube first, drill the hole, slide the tube in from the outside, slide in the TC and make sure it's hitting the end of the tube, tighten everything up.

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I would put the tube on side of kiln- about 90 degrees from sitter tube. As Neil says drill the hole tight for the tube 1st.. slide the tube in then the thermocouple.I would also not have it extend  much past 2 inches . Unless your shelves have lots of room on sides?Think of it this way-it only needs to be inside chamber and you are only using it to manual read the temp. Its not a control thermocouple just an info thermocouple .

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Like Mark mentioned, do not rely on the thermocouple for your firing temp. Keep using cones. They're good to show rate of climb, though, and you can manage controlled coolings by watching the thermo and turning the switches on and off. It's a good way to figure out exactly what's happening in a manual kiln.

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2 hours ago, neilestrick said:

and you can manage controlled coolings by watching the thermo and turning the switches on and off.

Exactly my intent, thanks

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Does this look about right?

  1. The base of the tube is larger, should I drill an inset hole so the base fits in?
  2. The probes stick out a bit and I'm thinking cutting them down. Good idea?
  3. Anything I'm missing?

I still need to screw the TC to the kiln

5a5a771765576_Thermocouple(780x585).jpg.9d31e27cd96543f5c30b08fed1209bc0.jpg

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You will be pleased knowing the digital temps as you fire-like going out of the buggy age to a car.

Soon you will have several of them and wonder how you lived without one.

Edited by Mark C.

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Ron I have the same Skutt but I have a dual set up.  I have some extra holders for the outside of the kiln that came with it.  If you need one just PM me your address and I will mail you one.   Skutt  technician told me he has the end cut out of one of the plugs,  the Skutt ones are hollow so you have to stuff kiln fiber around the inside.  Then he puts them in towards the end of the firing to extend the life of the thermocouple.    This worked well for me because I had three kilns and could use it on all of them.  You still have to be careful when loading the kiln with the placement of your shelves and pots,  I think mounting it is best for a smaller kiln  for  the right location.   I have been firing this way for at least 10 years,   enjoy be careful not to down fire too much heat soak can be your enemy.    Denice

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Thanks Denice, PM sent.

1 hour ago, Denice said:

have some extra holders for the outside of the kiln that came with it.

Are these the spacers that I forgot to purchase you are talking about?

kplltgmkit_1.jpg

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4 minutes ago, neilestrick said:

Yes, those are the spacers, but you don't have to use them. Just screws will work fine.

Well shoot, are you saying I’ve wasted a bunch of time trying to get those fussy little spacers to line up? And I can just throw them out instead?

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5 hours ago, GEP said:

Well shoot, are you saying I’ve wasted a bunch of time trying to get those fussy little spacers to line up? And I can just throw them out instead?

Those little spacers help everything tighten up better, so if you've got them use them. However they're not totally necessary. When I change out thermocouples, I don't remove the screws completely. As you unscrew them part way you can til them to the side and out of the way, leaving them in the holes. Makes putting the TC back in a lot easier.

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I have the dual skutt pyro on an old Olympic. I drilled two holes, top and bottom, giving me two zones. I liked the info telling me the difference between top and bottom. Because the kit comes with thermocouple holders with friction screws, I pull them back out of the way when loading the kiln. I still use cones to fire with, but the temp info helps a lot with rate, and it allows me to even it out, allowing for a much more even firing. 

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I agree with the others that the thermocouple should be detachable so you can remove it while loading the kiln. For accuracy, the hole in the kiln wall should fit the thermocouple without much extra play. If the hole is too large, air can enter the kiln and affect the temperature readings.

Pyrometers and thermocouples are enjoyable to use. We can learn a lot from them.

Sincerely,

Arnold Howard

Paragon Industries, L.P., Mesquite, Texas USA
ahoward@paragonweb.com / www.paragonweb.com

 

D.M.Ernst likes this

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