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dom92

Need an idiot guide for my new PID controller

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Hi All -

I've been using a fully manual kiln for awhile now, but have experience in the past using PID controllers.  I finally decided to upgrade my current manual kiln with a new PID controller.  It arrived today.  The problem is that the instruction manual has left my completely dumbfounded.  It's like it's written in Old English. 

http://www.thermomart.com/download/PID-DTXG.pdf

I don't recall my old PID controlled kilns being so complicated.  I think perhaps their instructions were extremely dumbed down for laymen and that's why I had no problems with them.  But this reads like an engineering manual to me (which means I'll likely never be able to get the thing turned on, let alone program it for a few simple ramps and holds).  So I'm not necessarily looking for anyone to help me decipher this, but I was hoping somebody could at least point me to a simplified set of instructions for such a PID or perhaps a YouTube video.  I've found this particular controller in a few videos already and all people say is "this is an extremely difficult controller to program.  Read the instructions carefully."  That's not much help when I can't read them.  :D 

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I think you just need to go through the settings and line everything up with the corresponding numbers in the manual. It'll take a lot of scrolling and checking to get it all set up.

This is a good example of why kiln controllers like the Bartlett or Sentry controllers are worth the money. These general purpose PID controllers have so many variables to input that they get real confusing real fast. When I worked at Alpine kilns, they used a general purpose heating controller on their kilns, and it confused every single customer. You had to push 'Enter' 16 times (literally) to get to the menu to change the temperature setting. That's great if you do the same thing every time, like in industrial settings, but in a studio setting where you'll be using the same kiln for both bisque and glaze, it's a major hassle to make changes.

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Thanks, Neil.  I finally decided to simply return the controller after reading a similar post from a different forum where people said, "at all costs, avoid PID controllers that need to be programmed."  I instead ordered a new controller (just slightly more expensive) that's completely pre-programmed and also comes with a laymen's guide manual that I can understand.  

Edited by dom92

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What brand of controller did you buy, Dom? I've got an Orton unit that I've found very easy to program and use, with the capability to write and save a number of "User-defined" programs that have been very successful in my firings.

JohnnyK

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I ended up going with this one:

https://www.ebay.com/itm/Kiln-temperature-controller-PRE-PPROGRAMED-PMC-metal-clay-beads-fusing-enamel/401330421128?ssPageName=STRK%3AMEBIDX%3AIT&_trksid=p2057872.m2749.l2649

Similar sort of PID controller, but completely pre-programmed and can also be customized.  Most importantly, I had the manufacturer send me a copy of their manual and it's definitely something I can understand.  I've heard of the Orton controllers, and I've actually used similar ones myself.  Definitely easy to use.  I just didn't want to spend that much right now so was looking for a less expensive option.  

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1 minute ago, Mark C. said:

Nightmare in a box with a on off switch. Good thing its fan cooled

Looks like a steep learning curve

I've looked thru the instruction manual they sent me and operation definitely seems within my learning curve, especially considering it's pre-programmed  

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