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Mark C.

Making a manual electric kiln semi automatic.

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Mark C.    1,807

If you have an older electric preferably one with a kilnsetter (cone turns it off) then this is an easy way to go.With this setup all one does is put cone in sitter and turn all kiln switches to high-if you have a timer set it to whatever hours you normally do.

The timer is a last emergency shut off in all applications.Then dial in how many hours you want before the kiln will be on full on-the controller will ramp it up to whatever you set it and the cone sitter will tun it off-This controller will ramp up the kiln for you from about 1hour to 10 hours-that means in 1 or 10 or whatever you dial the dial for the kiln. The kiln will be on full in that amount of time. No more turning kiln up-If the load is damp dial in 6 hours or more if its a glaze set it for 1-3 hours and then it will be on full. This takes out the always going out to turn it up steps-the cone setter still turns kiln off and if you have a timer that still works as a back up. You still need to check that it all turned off as any prudent potter would.

First if you are handy as and electrician than this is no big deal but if you are not I suggest buying the components and hire a pro toinstall them.

Here’s the install

You will need to know your kiln amp draw-its stated on the side plate or control box.

In this case I have a skutt 1227 and it draws 48amps which means I will need at least a 60 amp contactor switch.

I bought a 75 amp

You will need a large electrical box –find one at a junk yard or an electrical contractors bone pile-cost should be next to free-make sure its at least 5 inches deep and 12-15 inches long-and 8 inches wide -it can have stuff like switches etc inside as you will remove all that till its an empty shell. If it has holes that are open (knock outs) you will fill the ones with covers when you are done so there are no large holes in box. This box needs to hold the automate controller and the contactor switch as well as 4 large #6 copper wires. You will need to cut the front out to mount the auto mate controller.

This will require metal skills.

I painted mine and have used it for about 20+ years now.Mine is mounted outside in a huge covered area. These units will make some noise when they click on and off unless you use the mercury switch.You will need a definite purpose contactor 2 pole open type(Grainger’s item #2CR99 this one is 75amps) or (grangers item#5B098 60 amp) the75 amp is 172$ the 60 amp is less $.

Make sure the coil voltage is for 220v as all the ones I referenced are.

I have burned out a few of these so I’m now going to use the 75amp one installed today. You want a larger amp switch than what you draw so it can hold up over time-This time I’m going with a one that has lots of extra amps so it will last more than 10 years.I have burned up a 50 amp and a 60 amp. I should of bought a mercury one years ago but now I cannot in my state. Now I’m in a state that will not allow a mercury switch but if I could get one (all states but 6 allow these) I would use a mercury displacement contactor they are silent (no loud clicking) and last almost forever. That Grainger # is6A864 for a 60 amp unit and costs about 130$. This is the best way to go but alas I live in California and mercury switches are outlawed.

You will bring into the large box the two leads and a ground from the main panel and from the contactor you will have the leads going out to the kiln.

You will need to buy a fireright automate 11 kiln controller-this item is 70$ and you can find them here-this is a great deal

PS I have no association with this company-I have used a controller of theirs for 20 years si I know they work well.

http://www.fireright.com/automate2.html

You will need some #12 wire and some crimp on terminal ends all this is hardware store stuff. To make the jumper leads. About 4-6 feet will do.

Follow directions on the automate 11 controller paper work as far as wiring. You will have to know how to read a wiring diagram.

When done you have a Simi automatic kiln that now only needs to be checked at turn off. Misc including above items is under 300$ or less if you have some of this. My safety warning is this job is really best for one who is good with electricity and should not be attempted by a novice. If any of this sounds Greek to you buy the stuff and let a licensed electrician put it all together.

Mark

 

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Brian Reed    23

Mark thanks for the informative post. I have thought about just breaking down and getting a digital controller for my Skutt, but the cost is high and not real sure that I need one. My bisque firing I do in electric and it is pretty easy to just follow the schedule that works best. I do not do any glaze firing in my electric. However with this much cheaper alternative it may be worth the investment. We shall see.

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Mark C.    1,807

The Skutt digital controller has the same definite purpose contactor in it-I called them last year to ask if they used quit mercury relays and they do not. Its the same setup as this with push button control board-they do sell a hard wire or plug in version. This setup is the same outcome only way cheaper. You provide the box and wire it up and save a few hundred bucks-in my case the contactor is more heavy duty than Skutts and this is what always fails first.I like you only bisque in my electrics.Never glaze fire.This really saves time overall-no more turing up-set once leave it.I have many years working with this one-the Skutt controller is fairly a new device and to me seems overpriced for what it is.

Mark

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timbo_heff    37

For not much more money you can get this Olympic thing that gives you all kinds of cone fire, ramp and hold stuff via a modified Bartlet 3 key controller.

Might be a little extra money well spent since it way easier to install, less room for error and gives easy to use cone fire and ramps etc. I think Orton makes something similar too.

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OES-1.jpg clear1x1.gifclear1x1.gifclear1x1.gifclear1x1.gif Olympic Electro Sitter 3 Key Electronic Controller To Replace Dawson Kiln Sitters O $495.00

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Olympic ELECTRO SITTER 3 Key Electronic Controller to repl

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