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Arnold Howard

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Everything posted by Arnold Howard

  1. Wyatt, I suggest checking the amperage with a multimeter. That will help a lot in troubleshooting the kiln. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NqkQfntCC2Y Sincerely, Arnold Howard Paragon Industries, L.P., Mesquite, Texas USA
  2. If you don't have a motorized vent, then peepholes are important. They allow moisture to leave the kiln. Moisture trapped in the kiln causes severe rusting, even on new kilns. Arnold Howard
  3. I think you will enjoy your Skutt 181. That's an interesting old kiln. One can learn a lot from firing a manual kiln. Your 181 might not need new elements. Check the elements with an ohmmeter. If they're okay, shrink them back into the grooves. Here is a video that shows how: Sincerely, Arnold Howard Paragon Industries, L.P., Mesquite, Texas USA
  4. Both kilns appear to be in very good condition. The elements in the lower-priced kiln look new, and the bricks are perfect. If you add a digital controller to either kiln, keep the Dawson Kiln Sitter. You can use it as a safety shut off. Not only will you have a cone-based shut off, but also a timer. This would give you three systems for automatically shutting off the kiln: 1) the digital controller; 2) the Kiln Sitter; and 3) the Kiln Sitter Limit Timer. The lower priced kiln is fascinating because it is so different from any kiln made in America. This is because kilns evolved in Europe much differently than they did over here. The bricks are mounted vertically instead of horizontally, and they are backed by a layer of ceramic fiber blanket. the lid hinge is interesting. I agree with "OldLady" that you should get a better kiln stand. The kiln manufacturers all recommend staying with a kiln during operation. This is not constantly staying with the kiln, but checking on it occasionally. You can't stay with it all the time. That would be impractical. But it is prudent to be aware of it while it is firing. This applies equally to manual and digital kilns. I just finished writing instruction manuals for Paragon's new digital controllers. I can hear our printing press in the background, on the other side of my office wall, as I type this note. At the bottom of every left page of the manuals is the safety rule, "Do not leave your kiln unattended during operation." At the bottom of every right page is another rule, "Keep the kiln lid or door closed when the kiln is not in use." Sincerely, Arnold Howard Paragon Industries, L.P., Mesquite, Texas USA
  5. The kiln is in mint condition, judging from your photo. It's hardly been fired. I don't see any rust either. If it were my kiln, I would not upgrade it to a digital controller. The SetnFire is already automatic. The top switch is an infinite control; the second one is a switch-timer. With time remaining on the second switch, half the elements are powered. When time runs out on the second switch, all the elements are powered. The walls are 3", so you should be able to reach cone 10, provided your circuit has full voltage. In America, most potters don't fire hotter than cone 6. Cone 10 is hard on the kiln. By the way, I'm the one who created the text that is silk screened onto the switch box. It's fun to see that in far-away Australia. Sincerely, Arnold Howard Paragon Industries, L.P., Mesquite, Texas USA
  6. Neil asked some good questions. Sara, does your entire program appear in Program Review? At IdLE, press 6. Sincerely, Arnold Howard Paragon Industries, L.P., Mesquite, Texas USA ahoward@paragonweb.com / www.paragonweb.com
  7. I'm very curious to know why your elements are burning out. Could you post photos of the failure points where they burn out? I'm curious about the element connectors. Sincerely, Arnold Howard Paragon Industries, L.P., Mesquite, Texas USA ahoward@paragonweb.com / www.paragonweb.com
  8. Here is a flow chart showing how the 4-way rotary switch works: https://paragonweb.com/ManualInfo.cfm?CID=85 Here are detailed instructions for testing the Paragon A-series kilns with an ohmmeter: https://paragonweb.com/ManualInfo.cfm?CID=197 Sincerely, Arnold Howard Paragon Industries, L.P., Mesquite, Texas USA / ahoward@paragonweb.com / www.paragonweb.com
  9. The kilns are in great shape. Eventually kilns will be sold as 1-to-3 phase, meaning you will be able to convert a single phase to 3 phase, and vice versa, easily and with simple tools. Arnold Howard
  10. Maybe you would get a discount if you made the hole in the outside wall yourself. Arnold Howard Paragon Industries, L.P., Mesquite, Texas USA
  11. You are very welcome. Yes, I work at Paragon. In fact I was the one who created the silk screen film for the switch box on your 11-9 kiln. It's a small world, isn't it? The kiln has a Pactronic temperature controller, which is a lot more expensive than an infinite control switch. That's why it has a detailed temperature scale instead of several lines marked low, medium, and high. I should have masked off the higher temperatures on that scale to avoid confusion. I think it's possible to install higher amperage elements as Neil suggested, and run the kiln on 240 volts. The elements would pull 17 amps and run on a 6-20, 240 volt circuit. Sincerely, Arnold Howard Paragon Industries, L.P., Mesquite, Texas USA
  12. The firebricks appear to be in perfect condition. I suggest using the kiln for low-fire ware. The kiln is a gem. I'm sorry about the confusing temperatures printed on the switch box. The kiln's maximum temperature is 1700°F in spite of the temperature scale shown behind the switch. The kiln has a blue switch box, which means it can't be older than 2002. Sincerely, Arnold Howard / Paragon Industries, L.P., Mesquite, Texas USA
  13. Find two or three very enthusiastic people who would like to join your group. Unless they meet with resistance, that's all it will take to activate your group. A few highly motivated people can affect even a large group in a significant way. I've seen it happen many times. Sincerely, Arnold Howard Paragon Industries, L.P., Mesquite, Texas USA ahoward@paragonweb.com / www.paragonweb.com
  14. Were the cones placed directly on the floor of the kiln? This would explain why the bottom cones are underfired. The floor of the kiln is difficult to heat, because the floor is a heavy thermal mass that requires a lot more energy to heat than the center of the kiln. Arnold Howard ahoward@paragonweb.com
  15. If you have time, obtain a multimeter and find out what is wrong with the kiln. You will learn about kilns and will discover that they are simple to work on. Arnold Howard
  16. Maria, make sure the lid is closed all the way and the peephole plugs are inserted since you are using a downdraft vent. Have you changed batches of clay lately? Are you using witness cones? Could you post a sketch or photos of the way you are loading the kiln? It would be interesting to see the spacing, in inches, between shelves. Arnold Howard
  17. All the elements are working unless something failed at the very end of the last firing. The elements have some wear, or the voltage could be low. I would check the voltage under load. Low voltage can drastically lengthen the firing time. (Voltage under load means testing the voltage while the kiln is firing. Do this test only if you are experienced with electrical work and have electrically insulated gloves.) I agree with Neil that you should have a meter. Every kiln owner should have one. Arnold Howard
  18. If the thermocouple disintegrated due to wear, then the elements are probably getting weaker, too. That would cause the longer firing. Arnold Howard
  19. Could you post photos of your kiln and its cord and plug? Sincerely, Arnold Howard Paragon Industries, L.P., Mesquite, Texas USA
  20. Sometimes the shelf with melted, embedded clay becomes a work of art. Arnold Howard
  21. The second firebrick bottom is not essential. It's very nice, because it saves a little electricity. Arnold Howard
  22. The second firebrick bottom saves electricity.
  23. Other than the damaged bottom, the kiln looks almost new. It will be easy to repair. Sincerely, Arnold Howard Paragon Industries, L.P., Mesquite, Texas USA
  24. It's a good idea to load kiln-washed shelves for your first firing. Arnold
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