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Perpetual Issues With A Paragon Viking 28

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The facility in which I am working is currently awaiting the prolonged install of a replacement gas reduction kiln. In the meantime they have been firing cone 10 oxidation in a Paragon Viking 28, single phase, with a max temp of 2350F. It is hard wired to what I've been told is the appropriate amperage. 

 

When I was brought on board the kiln was failing to reach cone 10 and giving the FTL (Fired Too Long) code. At that juncture when we opened up the switch box the top segment of elements were slightly brown, we tightened the brass bits and the pigtails, all the elements were testing okay, as well as the relays. We fired the kiln with a load of only furniture and it reached temperature. So we fired it again, it didn't reach temperature and displayed the FAIL code. Replaced the thermocouple, and opted for a Type S model because it is rated for porcelain and stoneware temperatures. Reset the controller to the Type S model. Fired the kiln twice and FTL'd on the second firing, then replaced all the elements. The kiln fired perfectly to cone 10 for the next 7 firings.

 

The alarm sounded at around 2100F on the 8th firing even though the alarm was maxed out and set to 9999. We hit enter on the kiln, stopped the alarm, the firing continued but did not reach temperature according the guard cones, but didn't give an error message. After it was unloaded the temperature was giving sporadic readings. Checked the wire connections, then tested the controller with a paper clip and it gave a room temperature reading. Opened the switch box and discovered that a fuse had blown. Replaced the fuse and the kiln fired perfectly for another 4 firings.

 

On the 5th firing the alarm sounded around 2100F again, pressed enter, continued to fire and it failed to reach temperature. Turned the kiln off to run tests and check wire connections which everything appeared to be okay. Turned the power back on and now is showing TC2- (code for a failed thermocouple in the center two terminals of a multi-zone kiln, although can appear in a single zone kiln apparently) . The thermocouple is only 6 months old and has been through less than 15 firings. I have personally loaded and unloaded 90% of the firings since the thermocouple was replaced and I am highly cautious about staying clear of the thermocouple. I know that it is a very fragile thermocouple. It ultimately could be broken. Replacement has been ordered and its on its way. We are in the midst of an extremely busy term, with high volume, glaze ware is stacking up and I have a deep seated fear that the thermocouple may not fix the ongoing problems. 

 

If a mercury relay goes out can the kiln still run? Is there another major component of this model of kiln that could be perpetuating the alarm sounding, under-firing, causing a fuse to blow, ruining a fairly new thermocouple? What could have caused the wires connecting to the elements to brown? Could their be a connection between the browning of those wires and a bigger issue?

 

I'm at a complete loss, and would like to get some preemptive feedback in case the thermocouple does not fix the issue, or the errors persist even once the thermocouple is in place. 

 

~Worried Clay Worker

-M. Williams

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I own four Paragons, including the Super Dragon.  From my experiences, one of two things is going on:

The sheath over the thermocouple is cracked/and cracked the thermocouple which results in FTL codes.

 

However, I had random readings on my Super Dragon and TNF, and through trial and error I figured it out.

Where the terminal ends of the thermocouple/s come through the kiln wall and connect to the terminal block was the problem. The thermocouple wires are stripped bear just prior to attachment to the block. In one instance they were barely touching between the block and kiln wall. In the other instance they were so close that when the kiln got hot enough, just that little expansion caused them to touch creating a FTL code and random readings. My solution was to take a very small piece of kiln rope, separating the wires (very very carefully) and wedging the piece of rope between them so they could not touch. No problems after that. Again-very very carefully... fragile little creatures they are.

 

Nerd

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There's definitely a thermocouple problem, so try Nerd's thing and see if that works. As for blowing the fuse, there's either a loose connection in there somewhere, or the fuses aren't big enough, or you're getting voltage spikes. Is your electrical service 240 volt or 208 volt? Take a look at the serial plate on the kiln- how many amps does the kiln pull? The breaker and fuses should be 25% greater. According to the paragon web site, at 240 volts the kiln pulls 60 amps and should be on a 70 amp breaker, which does not meet code. 60 + 25% = 75, which means it should be on an 80 amp breaker. I'm assuming it's wired up to a fused disconnect? 

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Have you called  Paragon?? They could fed X whatever you need overnight since it crunch time.

Mark

 

Mark,

A thermocouple is already on its way! The program I work for orders through bigceramicstore.com because they have PO account with them and it tends to be adequately cheaper than directly through paragon. So we end up waiting just a bit longer on shipping time since its through a third party. Not my first choice but either way its on the way! Just hoping it fixes the problem!

 

-M. Williams

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I own four Paragons, including the Super Dragon.  From my experiences, one of two things is going on:

The sheath over the thermocouple is cracked/and cracked the thermocouple which results in FTL codes.

 

However, I had random readings on my Super Dragon and TNF, and through trial and error I figured it out.

Where the terminal ends of the thermocouple/s come through the kiln wall and connect to the terminal block was the problem. The thermocouple wires are stripped bear just prior to attachment to the block. In one instance they were barely touching between the block and kiln wall. In the other instance they were so close that when the kiln got hot enough, just that little expansion caused them to touch creating a FTL code and random readings. My solution was to take a very small piece of kiln rope, separating the wires (very very carefully) and wedging the piece of rope between them so they could not touch. No problems after that. Again-very very carefully... fragile little creatures they are.

 

Nerd

 

 

Nerd

 

Thank you for your input based off of your personal troubleshooting and successes. I have checked and rewired all the connections to the thermocouple already, tightened them going into the block and the lead wires. After adjusting the wires, and tightening them at the block the TC2- code was still appearing. I will go back in and check to make sure that they don't have the potential to get too close to each other during the firing. If the wires appear to be too close I will very carefully separate them. However I don't have any kiln rope on hand.  

 

Thanks!

 

M. Williams-

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There's definitely a thermocouple problem, so try Nerd's thing and see if that works. As for blowing the fuse, there's either a loose connection in there somewhere, or the fuses aren't big enough, or you're getting voltage spikes. Is your electrical service 240 volt or 208 volt? Take a look at the serial plate on the kiln- how many amps does the kiln pull? The breaker and fuses should be 25% greater. According to the paragon web site, at 240 volts the kiln pulls 60 amps and should be on a 70 amp breaker, which does not meet code. 60 + 25% = 75, which means it should be on an 80 amp breaker. I'm assuming it's wired up to a fused disconnect? 

 

Working on fixing the thermocouple issue. I appreciate your feedback about the fuse. There could've been a loose connection somewhere, I've been investigating every connection I can to check for something coming loose. Haven't been able to determine a true loose connection yet. The fuses are the ones installed by paragon. The replacement was the exact same fuse. It is a 208 volt kiln. There's a possibility of voltage spike, which is in a student union so the possibility of a spike is probable, however everyone I have talked continues to give me the same response being it shouldn't be spiking and it is hard wired into the appropriate amp. I'm pretty sure it is hard wired to a fused disconnect. Would I need to get an electrician to check the amps on the breaker? Also what amperage would the 208 need to be wired to? 

 

This is very helpful dialogue for me! I have been weary of the breaker not being the appropriate amperage, and almost had an electrician lined up to come out but the kiln started working again during the period of time so the ball got dropped on having the electrician come check the wiring.

 

Thanks immensely!

 

M. Williams

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Finally got the answer I've been looking for. It is wired to a 70 Amp breaker, and I'm obviously in need of a higher amperage. Here's to hoping we can get it rewired promptly and get the thermocouple issue fixed. 

 

Yep. Get it on a 90 amp breaker. Check that the wire size is appropriate for 90 amps. Chances are your electrician just wired it to the amperage listed on the serial plate, which is a no-no.

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1/0 pronounced "1 aught" = 100 amps

2/0 = 200 amps

3/0 = 300 amps

4/0 = 400 amps

 

My dragon draws 90 amps, but I used a 2/0 wire even though the run is less than 25'. You can see the gray conduit coming over the top of the kiln in the above pic. I kept it well above the top of the kiln to diffuse heat away from it.  Overkill perhaps, but when you are drawing that kind of power: I prefer to stay on the super safe side.

 

Nerd

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Mark:

I am certainly guilty of over-kill when it comes to electrical: especially when you get into these types of high amperage loads. Coupled with the fact that I bought 2/0 and 3/0 wire on 500 foot spools back when I was building 50 houses a year. Went through about 60,000 feet of 12/2 a year, and a few thousand feet of 6/3, 10/2, and 10/3.

 

Nerd

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Nerd

I to am known for over kill-If you own it use it.I too have my share of wire laying around.

As you know larger is always better with wire as long as the right breaker is used. Panel feed especially bigger is better. Wire runs cooler.

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Did you install the S type wire too? Gotta watch how that wire runs inside the box as well; too close to element feed wires will cause it to read funny. We've ALWAYS had problem with our Viking which is 240/single. Last time it was the main relay that feeds the trigger signal to the three mercury relays. It was sticking shut, yours may not be closing sometimes resulting in longer firing times. It's cheap and easy to change. I seriously doubt your new/old S type went bad. I've yet to have one fail even though I broke it in half with a shelf. I do,however; have about 3 "extras" that we've bought over the years due to our POC having problems which always seemed to point to the TC and it wasn't. Welcome to Viking ownership, your next purchase should be a baseball bat.... ;)

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