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Sbelkins

Skutt kiln long firing

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Hi! I have never had to do any work on my kiln (or any kiln) and am having an issue. I have a Skutt KM 1218-3 single phase and it was basically new when I got it a few years back. We just moved and installed my kiln in a building in the backyard. We had to upgrade our electrical service and had an electrician come out to run the power to the shed. The thermocouple basically disintegrated so my husband replaced that just last week. I did a test bisque fire to cone 04 and that ran about an hour longer than usual but all was fine. Then a small test glaze fire to cone 5 and that was normal time. So I loaded it up pretty full and did another cone 5 glaze fire and it took 12 hours! The most a full load has ever taken was about 8.5 hrs and I've had this kiln for almost 3 years. It does have one spirally element that has been pinned, and it was like that when I got it and fired fine. I'm not sure where to start looking for the problem. Help!

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26 minutes ago, Sbelkins said:

The thermocouple basically disintegrated so my husband replaced that just last week.

If the thermocouple disintegrated due to wear, then the elements are probably getting weaker, too. That would cause the longer firing.

Arnold Howard

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Usually the elements go slowly.  Going from 8.5 hours to 12 is a really big jump.  Can you confirm all the elements are glowing while firing?  A quick jump in firing time (assuming the thermocouple is working correctly) might be from a single elements not firing due to damage during the move.  Might also explain why the bisque was only a little slower and the glaze was a lot slower.  The kiln could probably compensate for the bad coil during the lower temps.

 

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You need to open up the control box and check for any loose or fried wiring connections. If you have an electrical multi- meter, you should also check the continuity of the elements- breaks can be hard to see sometimes- and also check the element resistance. If you don't have a meter, I highly recommend getting one so you can learn to diagnose problems with your kiln. You can get a cheap but very functional digital meter at the hardware store for under $20.

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All the elements are working unless something failed at the very end of the last firing. The elements have some wear, or the voltage could be low. I would check the voltage under load. Low voltage can drastically lengthen the firing time. (Voltage under load means testing the voltage while the kiln is firing. Do this test only if you are experienced with electrical work and have electrically insulated gloves.)

I agree with Neil that you should have a meter. Every kiln owner should have one.

Arnold Howard

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