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how to light a fire


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#1 Dharsi

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Posted 17 March 2012 - 01:53 PM

I bought an older (as in "no computer on board") model 1027 in great shape and my husband and son very kindly offered to pick it up for me. Well ok, maybe not offered but they went. Anyways they didn't quite get the gist of "kilns are fragile." It arrived with a few broken bricks which were than replaced. We hemmed and hawed about where to put it, and after much ado about that, the electrician came and wired up in the agreed upon spot. I plugged in the kiln, turned all knobs to low and waited a few minutes. I lifted the lid and only the top ring elements were red. I am admittedly inept when it comes to all things electrical, as in my skills are limited to plugging things in, beyond that I am at a loss. I pulled out the owners manual and after much reading and studying (I mean I'm a smart enough person, I do have a masters degree after all) I am no more equipped to diagnose what is wrong with my kiln than before. I don't live in an area where kiln repair men are abundant so what's a girl to do?

#2 TypicalGirl

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Posted 17 March 2012 - 02:06 PM

Is there a regional potter's guild in your area?
You can probably put out a plea, combined with an offer of dinner and a nice bottle of wine, and get a potter with a bit more electrical troubleshooting savvy to come have a gander...
Cathi Newlin, Angels Camp, Ca
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#3 Dharsi

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Posted 17 March 2012 - 02:51 PM

Is there a regional potter's guild in your area?
You can probably put out a plea, combined with an offer of dinner and a nice bottle of wine, and get a potter with a bit more electrical troubleshooting savvy to come have a gander...


I am certainly not above trying to ply someone with wine, unfortunately the nearest pottery mecca is over an hour away. I'm starting to think my only solution is to buy a new kiln.




#4 Chris Campbell

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Posted 17 March 2012 - 03:32 PM

Whoa!! No need to dump the kiln when all you probably need to do is replace some elements.
Step one ... First thing Monday morning call the kiln manufacturer and describe what is happening then follow their instructions.
Testing the elements is easy with the proper tools and replacing elements is just a pain ... Not a killer.
Take a deep breath and forget about not being able to do it. A kiln is elements in an insulated box with a controller to measure how hot it is. Don't let it intimidate you.

Chris Campbell
Contemporary Fine Colored Porcelain
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TRY ...   FAIL ...  LEARN ...  REPEAT


#5 teardrop

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Posted 17 March 2012 - 04:51 PM

yo dharsi!

Wayyyy cool on the kilnage...

I also bought a used Skutt....and when searching for more info I found this pdf./Service manual.

http://www.skutt.com..._manual/stm.pdf

page 23 speaks to checking/testing the elements for proper operation/etc. There are also wiring diagrams/etc.

Chris is right...a set of elements will run you about $275....much cheaper than a new kiln.

hope ya get up and runnin' soon!

teardrop
Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind. Dr. Seuss US author & illustrator (1904 - 1991)

#6 TypicalGirl

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Posted 17 March 2012 - 05:31 PM

There's always converting to fuel...

I'm in the same boat as you Dharsi, out in the middle of nowhere.
When I got my new downdraft I ruined the first 4 loads and felt very alone.
Pottery Mecca may be far away, but there are probably potters around you closer that you don't know about? That's what I found (yippee!).

Cathi
Cathi Newlin, Angels Camp, Ca
box49@caltel.com
http://www.CNewlin.com

#7 Dharsi

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Posted 18 March 2012 - 05:27 PM

Thanks all. I have put out a cry for help and offered money. I will also call Skutt tomorrow and check out the service manual. Thank you all for your quick responses. Oh and my last resort will be to take this puppy out into the yard and stick a flame thrower in it. If my husband is queasy about an electric kiln, that should certainly put him over the edge.

#8 Arnold Howard

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Posted 20 March 2012 - 09:22 AM

I bought an older (as in "no computer on board") model 1027 in great shape and my husband and son very kindly offered to pick it up for me. Well ok, maybe not offered but they went. Anyways they didn't quite get the gist of "kilns are fragile." It arrived with a few broken bricks which were than replaced. We hemmed and hawed about where to put it, and after much ado about that, the electrician came and wired up in the agreed upon spot. I plugged in the kiln, turned all knobs to low and waited a few minutes. I lifted the lid and only the top ring elements were red.


Disconnect the power, open the switch box, and familiarize yourself with the electrical parts. Compare them with the parts shown in a wiring diagram. Learning how everything is connected will help you in diagnosing the problem. Look for disconnected or burned wires. Sometimes--often, in fact--you can repair a kiln merely by replacing a wire.

A few months ago I had an auto parts store do a computer check on my Ford truck, because the check engine light was on. The store clerk said I was losing vacuum pressure, which sounded expensive. I imagined having to pay $400 or more to get it fixed. I took the truck to a mechanic not far from where I live, and he found a pinched hose. He fixed it at no charge! This is typical of kiln repairs, too. Sometimes you can repair an element merely by changing a connector.

I loaded a dozen kiln videos to Youtube a couple of weeks ago that will show you how to test an element, use an ammeter, identify parts, etc. You can find the videos here:

http://www.youtube.com/arnoldhoward

Sincerely,

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

#9 neilestrick

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Posted 20 March 2012 - 03:29 PM

There's a power interruption somewhere. Could be the elements, but could be the switches, the Sitter, the interbox plugs (if it has them), or a bad connection somewhere. You'll have to open it up and follow the patch of electricity until you find the break. The Skutt service manual is a good piece of literature to have. A electrical multi-meter is also helpful, to test continuity of the circuits.
Neil Estrick
Kiln Repair Tech
L&L Distributor
Owner, Neil Estrick Gallery, LLC
www.neilestrickgallery.com

neil@neilestrickgallery.com

#10 Dharsi

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Posted 23 March 2012 - 08:10 AM

Thank you all for your replies, I will be saving them all for future use and I will definitely be bookmarking the videos. My friend the God of all things fire related, took the box apart, performed some hocus pocus and presto we are in business. I appreciate the support and encouragement to figure it out myself and I will take up the challenge this summer when I am on break from teaching. He did say that I have a super kiln and should get many years of service out of it :)




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