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Easy Reliable Way To Monitor Kiln Temps.


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#1 High Bridge Pottery

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Posted 14 February 2014 - 12:43 PM

I bought a small kiln, turns out the elements are in really good shape. I gutted the little kiln and just hard wired the elements into the plug.

 

It is a 13amp 240v plug in kiln. Tested it out by firing it yesterday but all I have is off or on for programable settings. Went full power for 5 hours and think it got to about cone 8/9.

 

What I need is a affordable way to monitor the temps in the kiln. I did see some thermocouples with a digital readout for £30 which looked good but it is always nice to post here and have a chat. Ideally I would have a programer and relay to switch the elements on and off. It only has two elements wired in series.

 

I am mostly worried about firing the little kiln too hot and breaking it so want to make sure I am not going over 1200-1300.

 

Here is what I have at the back and some pots in the kiln.

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#2 lwa

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Posted 14 February 2014 - 02:23 PM

I'm no wiring expert, but I too have an old electric kiln with fairly rudimentary controller - although not as extreme as what you've set up...

 

Easy way to avoid over-firing is to place the cones near the spy hole and pay attention near the end. Get some goggles from bath potters or CTM or where-ever to assist looking in to the kiln.  Also after a few firings you'll get to know when it's nearing the end from the colour.



#3 Pres

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Posted 14 February 2014 - 02:53 PM

I have been firing without a setter or controller now for over 20 years in an L&L. I do have variable settings on the dials for each section. However, I check all of my firings with cones a ^5,^6,^7. As I fire to ^6 using the 5 and the 7 help me to gauge when I am approachiing temperature and when I might have gone too far by oversleeping!

 

For more information on firing kilns check through the numerous posts. You should find information to help you.  Also don't forget the Search window at the upper right of all pages.

 

Best,

Pres


Simply retired teacher, not dead, living the dream. on and on and. . . . on. . . .                                                                                 http://picworkspottery.blogspot.com/


#4 Babs

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Posted 14 February 2014 - 05:01 PM

Do you know the approx time of your varoious firing? A seperate timer set  to what you think will be appropriate and the cones set above may be of help.



#5 neilestrick

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Posted 15 February 2014 - 12:48 PM

Any pyrometer is only going to be a rough guide for firing. Cones are the only way to know for sure if you're getting the heat work you need. So any cheap pyrometer will work fine in that sense. If you really want to monitor exact temperatures you'll need to get a type S ($$), as they are much more accurate at high temps than the type K we typically use in kilns. But again, neither is going to tell you if you're achieving the heat work you need for your glazes.


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#6 High Bridge Pottery

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Posted 15 February 2014 - 03:43 PM

That is all I need really, a rough guide to how hot it is. Probably go with the type K thermocouples and a digital readout.

 

Did a 5 hour firing yesterday and just got cone 8 down with 9 just starting to bend. Try a 6 hour firing in a few days and see what cone that takes me too.

 

I am just worried about getting the little thing too hot as it is on full power for the whole time.



#7 neilestrick

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Posted 15 February 2014 - 04:05 PM

Why are you running it for a specific amount of time, rather than running it as long as it needs to get to a specific cone?

 

For not too much money you could get a digital high temp shutoff device like a Watlow LV series that you could hook up to a relay, or an old kiln sitter, or just a countdown timer. Any sort of shutoff mechanism would be better than none at all.


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#8 Pres

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Posted 15 February 2014 - 04:18 PM

You may find this chart of help, until such time as you get that cheap pyrometer. It may even help you later.

 

http://www.ceramicar...FiringChart.pdf


Simply retired teacher, not dead, living the dream. on and on and. . . . on. . . .                                                                                 http://picworkspottery.blogspot.com/


#9 High Bridge Pottery

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Posted 15 February 2014 - 06:11 PM

Only done one firing with cones and I was cleaver enough to put them somewhere I couldn't see them. Next time I will set them up so I can see what is happening. 

 

Just not had much practice firing with cones and I have been deluding myself that is is fine  :unsure:






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