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Rebekah Krieger

Kilns For Dummies?

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Marcia Selsor    1,301

Please give yourself some credit.You are no dummy. If you were a dummy, you should stay away from electrical equipment of such high temps.and amps.

The computer controllers come with good manuals and have support staff.

Kiln companies have the manuals.

Download a manual from Paragon. Arnold has been with Paragon for 25 years. The ladies at Paragon are very helpful as well. Great company. So are many other kiln manufacturers.

It is not rocket science. Earlier kilns were low, med. high.They need to be watched more closely when there is not automated controls. Use witness cones. See the recent post about "can't see the cones" If you want to fire down, get a pyrometer and stay

nearby to monitor the dropping temperature.

 

Marcia

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Pres    896

Rebby,

I Googled this, and came up with the following link of listings.  It may help you out to look at some of these and see if there is anything you can use.  The new programmable kilns can be daunting at times, and even running one with a sitter is difficult if you have not really seen how to do things. Ditto on what Marcia says, I have read your posts, carefully, no dummy there. I believe you are just grappling with a steep learning curve, the top of the hill is in sight! Good luck, hope this helps.

 

 

https://www.google.com/search?q=electric+kiln+controllers-video+help&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8&aq=t&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&client=firefox-a&channel=fflb

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Marcia Selsor    1,301

Rebby,

I Googled this, and came up with the following link of listings.  It may help you out to look at some of these and see if there is anything you can use.  The new programmable kilns can be daunting at times, and even running one with a sitter is difficult if you have not really seen how to do things. Ditto on what Marcia says, I have read your posts, carefully, no dummy there. I believe you are just grappling with a steep learning curve, the top of the hill is in sight! Good luck, hope this helps.

Pres, no links showed up.

Marcia

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Using a kiln the first couple times is very intimidating. Remember it is just a big oven that gets hotter than the one in your kitchen. The digital controls are pretty easy to use. Things like adjusting the thermocouple offsets and entering your own programs can seem overwhelming, but the instruction manual gives plenty of information. I was initially terrified of firing my kiln, but none of the individually processes have been difficult. The only things I have not yet done are make electrical repairs or install new elements, but I will handle those when the time comes.

 

I have no doubt you will do fine. On the other hand, Kilns For Dummies might sell well!

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Benzine    610

 

I have no doubt you will do fine. On the other hand, Kilns For Dummies might sell well!

I don't know if society want "dummies" operating kilns....

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I have been using the vintage paragon with high medium and low cone use…  I have a digital skutt kiln being installed on sunday, I look at the display panel of all the buttons and I feel overwhelmed with so much to learn.  I wish it just had a high, medium, and low with cones.  

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I have no doubt you will do fine. On the other hand, Kilns For Dummies might sell well!

I don't know if society want "dummies" operating kilns....

 

I have to agree with you there 

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Pres    896

I have been using the vintage paragon with high medium and low cone use…  I have a digital skutt kiln being installed on sunday, I look at the display panel of all the buttons and I feel overwhelmed with so much to learn.  I wish it just had a high, medium, and low with cones.  

In the long of it, you will find that the programmable kiln is in itself-made for those of less experience. The guess  work of kiln temp rise is pretty much done for you, It is also easier to fire up, an down with these newer kilns. I have a completely manual kiln with no setter, 4 switches each with 1-10 settings. I fire with cones only, and watch closely for the temp rise using the color of the heat in the kiln to estimate the temperature. None of this is needed with a programmable. You will love it!

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Mart    23

Here is a very simple 5 step path for success with small modern electric kilns:

1) Start with a regular toaster. If you can manage making toast with out burning it, move to microwave.

2) You have passed the test, if you can boil a cup of water for 2 minutes.

Hold on, there is more!

4) You need 5-25 minutes of uninterrupted time to RTFM. When done with that, use common sense and what you just read from the manual. Remember, you are wrong and manual is correct.

5) You are ready to fire modern electric kiln if solemnly swear you have understood what is written on your kiln manual and on the clay and glaze labels/instructions by manufacturer. You also swear that you know the difference between Fahrenheit (°F) and Celsius (°C) and you have understood that 06 and 6 are not the same cone numbers.

 

Good luck!

Warnings: Do not stick your head in to the kiln when it's hot.

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clay lover    133

Your new kiln does had that . A man told me once, just push 'start' and go to the house". That can be it, really. Use the cone fire mode in slow, all else seems too fast to me. You have the option of a controlled cool. The instruction book makes pretty good sense.

 

If you want to do 'Ramp Hold method, where you decide and control everything, that is a difference process, I will walk you through it if you want. Once you get the concept of what it's about, it's not hard. I choose that so that I know what is going on in the kiln and where to modify, but many people use the 'Cone fire' mode always with good results. Start there, use massive amounts of witness cones and KEEP GOOD RECORDS. That is how you know what to tweek when you don't like your results.

 

Steep curve is right, I remember how anxious I was the first time I pushed start.

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Marcia Selsor    1,301

Rebby,

The manual for those is fairly good. If you run into something you don't understand, call the support team. That is why they give you their number and have techies on the other end.

You will love it. Some of the settings are very convenient -slow bisque, fast bisque etc.Key in the cone and start. Setting ramps is a little more challenging especially if you are changing them from firing to firing...BUT you can have them saved and reused.

Marcia

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JBaymore    1,432

TIPS:

 

Do not trust the controller to shut off the kiln all by itself. Always be around to visually make sure that the kiln has shut off properly.

 

Have the kiln electrical wiring installed by a highly experience electrician exactly to the manufacturers specifications. If someone says "I have a better/cheaper way",....... get someone else. (Years ago I did a "kiln disasters" research project. The problems people had mainly occured at the junction box where the kiln was plugged into the wall or in the wall structure due to improper original wiring. Prefereably use a hard wired connection, rather than a plug type setup.)

 

Find someone to "shadow" a few times in loading and firing such kilns. You'll find your confidence quickly increasing.

 

best,

 

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

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neilestrick    1,381

A lot of people here on the forum use custom programs, but those are by no means necessary. There is nothing wrong with using the Cone Fire programs in your controller. That's why they're there. I use the Cone Fire programs for all of my firings. Fire everything on Medium and you'll be fine.

 

L&L puts out the most comprehensive manual. It comes in a 3 ring binder with about 350 pages of information, and covers everything from firing schedules to cones to electrical theory. Most of it will apply to your kiln, too, since the controllers are made by the same company. Go HERE to download a copy.

 

Feel free to call me if you need more help, or want to add cooling programs and stuff like that.

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Sorry for using you thread but I have a 'dummy' kiln question.

 

One of my wires has lost its outer coating and subsequently doesn't work. It looks like a special coating, does anybody know what it is made out of? Also where I could get a roll of the wire to replace the broken one and have some in stock? Thank you :D

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neilestrick    1,381

I have been using the vintage paragon with high medium and low cone use…  I have a digital skutt kiln being installed on sunday, I look at the display panel of all the buttons and I feel overwhelmed with so much to learn.  I wish it just had a high, medium, and low with cones.  

 

Your new kiln has slow, medium and fast, with cone settings. Almost as simple. And the instructions for a cone firing are printed right on the front of the control box.

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neilestrick    1,381

Sorry for using you thread but I have a 'dummy' kiln question.

 

One of my wires has lost its outer coating and subsequently doesn't work. It looks like a special coating, does anybody know what it is made out of? Also where I could get a roll of the wire to replace the broken one and have some in stock? Thank you :D

 

I assume you mean the element? Do they have ITC coating? Is the element broken?

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Sorry I should have put a bit more info, it is the wire coming from the elements to the relay. This kiln was a custom build so there is no manufacturer :(

 

Sounds like it is the Kevlar wire that I am after, thanks Norm. I am going to try contacting the guy who replaced my relays on Monday but always good to get as much info as possible. Is there any way to tell what gauge the wire is?

 

Never knew you should bisque the elements before use.

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neilestrick    1,381

Sorry I should have put a bit more info, it is the wire coming from the elements to the relay. This kiln was a custom build so there is no manufacturer :(

 

Sounds like it is the Kevlar wire that I am after, thanks Norm. I am going to try contacting the guy who replaced my relays on Monday but always good to get as much info as possible. Is there any way to tell what gauge the wire is?

 

Never knew you should bisque the elements before use.

 

It's call a feeder wire. Take a look at how it's connected to the element. Assuming your kiln is wired up like most kilns- if it's a crimp connection you can't replace the wire without replacing the element since you'll have to cut the end of the element (pigtail) to separate them, and then the pigtail will be too short to hook on a new wire. The other option in this situation is to cut the feeder wire near the element pigtail and splice the new feeder wire onto it. This is not recommended, since that splice will be a weak point that it likely to give out at some point.

 

On most kilns 10 cubic feet and under, feeder wires are 10 gauge. But since you have a custom kiln, I would verify with the builder. Make no asumptions or it could be a major safety problem.

 

Did the wire fry out? At either end (element or relay connection)? If it's at the relay end, then the relay is fried and should be replace. If it's just that the insulating sheathing is gone, then you can get just the sheathing and re-cover the wire.

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neilestrick    1,381

New elements should be bisque fired with an empty kiln to 'season' them. This builds up a layer of oxidation on the surface of the element to help protect it from the fumes that come out of the clay and glazes. Doing that to my new DaVinci elements today!

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On one end it has a slip on connector that goes over the relays pin and the other it has a washer like connection that connect to the element with a bolt type thing joining the washer and element. I will be in the studio tomorrow so can upload some pictures if that explanation doesn't make sense. I don't know who built the kiln so I am flying without wings with this kiln.

 

The wire did fry out at the relay end which is why I replaced the relay, not realising it was the wire causing the problem. I did have an older thread with a nice picture of the singed relay. Installed the new relay and two firings down the line the relay gave up. I am not sure if the relay is broken as it works when installed onto the bottom elements. but it does have a nice singe mark on it. Probably worth my time getting myself a new one or using the old unbroken one when I replace the wire.

 

Anyway, I think it is the wire causing all my problems as it starts to glow when the relay is on. I still do not know if the wire ended up frying out because of some problem with the elements. The wire that went is on the exit from the elements to the relay.

 

Here is the older thread http://community.ceramicartsdaily.org/topic/5046-need-some-help-from-somebody-who-knows-about-kiln-electrics/?do=findComment&comment=45434

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Thanks- I didn't realize I could use a cone setting.  I thought I needed to make a schedule and program it in. (which is hard to know since I have always just relied on the kiln to heat at it's own rate 1 and a half hours cracked open, 1 hour on low, 2 hrs on medium, and turn to high till it shut off) I know I will eventually figure it out. Once I get the kiln figured out I plan to learn and start exploring my own glazes rather than amoco and Coyote 

 

 

Question… is there a setting for 5 1/2? I have been teetering between cone 5 and 6. I like all my glazes best at 6 other than 1 glaze that works better at 5.  

 

are hold temps programed specifically for specific glaze techniques etc ? That is the part that confuses me the most. 

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