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Electric Kiln Questions From A Newbie

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#1 asil64



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Posted 11 October 2010 - 07:35 AM

I'm new here. I've been throwing for a number of years, but always in a classroom setting. I've done a little kiln work (loading and unloading) and have fired an electric kiln, but have no experience with setting up a studio

I salvaged an electric kiln recently. I'm guessing it's at least 30 years old, but the price was right (free!). I'm not entirely certain that it works, and since it's been sitting for some time, I'm inclined to think it doesn't. The kiln is a Skutt, model 181. There is no instruction manual, though I'm trying to get one. I'm planning to fire to cone 5. The specs on the panel on it's side are as follows:

3 wire
20 amp
4600 watts
Fires to cone 6

We recently bought a house in a rural setting, and I'm in the process of setting up a studio. One of outbuildings used to house the RV of the previous owner. It is covered, and there is an outlet in which they used to power the RV. The outlet has a matching plug to the kiln, but is marked 110v/30amp. I know I need an electrician in order to make the outlet and kiln compatible, but I'd like to know a little ahead of time, before I call one! I'm ignorant when it comes to electricity... Will this be a simple conversion?

I'm also wondering if any of you could recommend a good book on electric kiln repair. I've been to Amazon, and have a couple in my shopping cart, but which would you recommend??



#2 asil64



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Posted 11 October 2010 - 09:27 AM

Further reading tells me that 115v and 110v is the same? And 30amp is great for a kiln that uses 20amp? So my kiln is compatible with the outlet??

#3 Chris Campbell

Chris Campbell

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Posted 11 October 2010 - 03:37 PM

Your best bet is to contact skutt either through their website or by phone to tech services.
They know the kiln and can give you the most accurate advice.

I don't think anyone would advise you to plug it in and run it without doing this and perhaps
also involving an electrician.
Chris Campbell Pottery
Contemporary Fine Colored Porcelain


" If a sufficient number of people are different, no one has to be normal "

Fredrick Bachman

#4 bciskepottery


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Posted 11 October 2010 - 07:19 PM

You might also want to consider talking with someone in your area who does electric kiln installation/repairs. He/she could look over the kiln and give you an assessment of the elements, controls, etc. before you plug it in -- something an electrician can not do (unless they are also potters). The advice will be worth the cost of the service call. At a minimum you will want a cut-off switch installed at the outbuilding so you can disconnect power in case of an emergency or when the kiln is not operating. You should also have the electrician look over the circuit panel in your house. One thing to consider is the distance from the house/main panel to the outbuilding. The electrical consumption of the RV is likely less than what you will need for the kiln, so even if the ratings are similar, you still might want a more heavy duty line to the out building.

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