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  1. Greetings, I am a complete newbie to kilns. We purchased a used kiln and were able to run it once successfully with a small test load. When we tried for a second load we filled her up a little more, but only 3 shelves and a couple things on each shelf. We kept getting the Err5 - Error 5 code and we would stop and start and it would continue heating up, and then code again. This was on the heating up of the kiln, not the cooling off. With what we knew and a little research, we figured the thermocouples needed replacing. One of the 3 has a crack in the cover and you can tell they are quite old. I was told I needed to replace all 3, and that I should replace with L&L Type-K 8 Gauge Thermocouple. I have looked at lots of YouTube videos on changing the thermocouple, and none have the thermocouple on the outside of the box on the side of the kiln, so I'm wondering if the K kind is the correct type for us. As you can see in the pics below, the thermocouples I see are not behind the metal boxes on the front of the Kiln. ANY ideas, suggestions, straight up explanations are SO very welcome. I truly know so little - my daughter is in art school in Maryland and is the potter.
  2. I have an old manual L&L kiln that has an analog pyrometer, 3 thermocouples attached to a central gauge, which recently pooped out on me. I came to realize that I don't need to have them in at all times, since I only need to check the temperatures occasionally in order to turn the switches up or down. They were never really accurate anyway, since I could fiddle with the dial and the needle would fluctuate wildly, but gave me a general sense of where the kiln was. At first I looked for a digital version of the thing I was using, but then since I couldn't find one, I thought that I may not even need that. From what I'm reading, they shouldn't stay in all the time anyway if they're not connected to the control panel, right? And then I won't have little piles of flaky black crust landing on my shelves. So in looking for a pyrometer that I could just insert into the 3 zones, get the readings and remove it, I saw an infrared thermometer that goes well beyond the temperature I'd need. Does anyone use something like this to measure inside your kiln up to cone 6? Is a regular digital pyrometer with a thermocouple better? I just want to have a way to see where I am with my firing, to know when to turn up the settings and watch for cones to start dropping. I'm not doing anything fancy at all with my glazing, and with bisque I pretty much turn the dials at set times and then let the kiln sitter drop on its own. I plan to get a new kiln at some point in the future, and relegate this to bisque only, so this doesn't need to be an expensive or high tech option! https://www.amazon.com/Infrared-Thermometer-Non-Contact-Flashlight-Temperature/dp/B079HHSHLQ/ref=sr_1_4?dchild=1&keywords=digital%2Bceramic%2Bpyrometer&qid=1584029731&s=hi&sr=1-4&th=1
  3. Being a less-than-tall person, I bought an L&L 18" deep kiln - I couldn't reach the bottom of the 27â€ers. Kiln works great, tho I have to add degrees to the cone offset for 04 bisquing, and remove some from cone 6, ( according to my witness cones). Actually right now I’m using the cone 5 setting and that seems to get my 6 cone to the right spot. My e28s has 4 elements and 2 thermocouples, and this creates some challenges. I get even responses from my witness cones only if I fire with only 2 shelves. With 3 shelves in, the witness cones vary widely. I’ve tried every variation on shelf placement I can think of, including staggering and using 2 1/2 half shelves. The manufacturer says that you need 2 elements and 1 thermocouple per shelf, and I’m pretty sure I also read that the shelves should clear the elements. With my kiln , that means you can only have 2 shelves in, and when I follow these guidelines the kiln gods do favor me with matching witness cones. This has all turned out not to be a big problem for me anyway, because I haven’t had as much time as I’d hoped I would to be making stuff. Also running the kiln seems to cost me only about $10 a month for 3-4 firings. I expected the cost to be much higher. I'm making less at one time, but also getting more instant gratification, (instant being a relative term when applied to a slowly cooling kiln). Should I be less concerned about matching cones? I assume it's a matter of degree. It can be more than 1 cone. Also, I have been "lidding" the load with the 2 unused half shelves because I feel I should have them in there to increase the thermal mass, which is already 1/3 less than what the kiln could hold. Any thoughts on that? Thank you in advance for your advice and experience Irene in NJ
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