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eoteceramics

checking kiln elements

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My poor kiln is in a bad way and not reaching temperaturesad.gif

 

In order to check the elements first, Im going to fire it up until they are orange to see if any aren't working.

 

Does anyone have any idea what temperature I need to fire to in order to check them, or is there a better way to check them?

 

Thanks, Julia

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If you have a non-computer controlled kiln, just turn all the switches on High. It should only take a few minutes for all the elements to glow orange, or to spot the ones that are not glowing.

 

With a computer controlled kiln, program it to reach 500 degrees F with a ramp of 500 degrees. That's the same as turning everything on High.

 

You can also buy a multimeter, which costs about $20 at any hardware store. Measure the resistance of your elements by touching the probes to the ends of the element lead wires. If one of your elements is bad, it will have a much different resistance reading. You should also measure and record the resistance value of your elements when they are brand new. You can always guage the current age of your elements by comparing.

 

If your kiln has thermocouples, the multimeter can also tell you if your thermocouples have burned out too.

 

http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=multimeter

 

Mea

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My poor kiln is in a bad way and not reaching temperaturesad.gif

 

In order to check the elements first, Im going to fire it up until they are orange to see if any aren't working.

 

Does anyone have any idea what temperature I need to fire to in order to check them, or is there a better way to check them?

 

Thanks, Julia

 

 

Do everything as mea says here. Heating up is easy, just until they glow. If one is broken it will not show with a glow. If using a multimeter leave kiln off and unplugged. Touch terminals to where wire comes in and goes back out on kiln. Take a reading there. If one element shows big difference-bingo. However, if all of your elements have oxidized to where they are all weak, you may get a glow, but not have enough to fire to temp. this usually does not happen often, but a well maintained kiln, kept clean not over-fired, will go without breaking, just loosing power.

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Guest JBaymore
If using a multimeter leave kiln off and unplugged.

 

 

A VERY important detail!!!!! wink.gif

 

 

If one element shows big difference-bingo.

 

There are some types of kilns that have "tuned" elements that are designed to make them fire more evenly. In these kilns the straight DC resistance to current flow can be different on different banks of elements normally. So check your kiln manufacturer's manual to see if this is the case on your kiln.

 

best,

 

 

 

....................john

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An element that isn't glowing doesn't necessarily mean a bad element. It could be a bad connection, bad relay, bad switch, or even a bad circuit board. If it's just one element, then it's an element or connection. If it's two elements in the same ring, then it could be any of the above. You'll need the meter to verify which it is.

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Julia,

 

Did you use this kiln before, and it was OK or you recently bought a used one? If you just bought it, make sure it has no additional height increasing rings that don't carry heating elements. Those rings dramatically affect the max temperature your kiln will be able to achieve. It will work fine for low fire clays and grazes, but won't work for medium fire ones. It may go to Cone 1 or so, and that's all.

 

Other than that, if all your coils glow when the kiln is in a full heat mode, the best way to check the condition of the coils will be to measure their resistance. As it was mentioned above, you have to find out the normal resistance of EACH coil when they're new. The manufacturer should help you with this. Older coils have increased resistance. Something like a 13-15% increase is quite significant and may indicate that the coil needs to be replaced. Again, the tech support should provide you with those figures.

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