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Kiln Trips Breaker When I Turn It To High


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I have a standard old school Skutt  with a kiln sitter but not really old, from about 2005 or so, just not computerized.  It normally runs like a champ and no issues with the elements.  I belong to a large co-op but probably do 10  or so loads at home so it doesn't get heavy use as I fire most of my work at the other studio.  Of course I have a show this week-end and was ready to run one last load through since I sold quite a bit at my co-op sale. For the first time my kiln tripped the breaker when I turned it to high, but not right away, about a half hour in.  This is after I had it on low for an hour vented and then on medium for at least another hour with no issues.  When I ran it on high it tripped the breaker after about a half hour.  I re-set it and tried again and had the same issue.  I didn't want to keep trying as there must be a more serious issue though I can't understand what would be causing it to trip when the temperature goes up.  Anyone have any ideas?  I may have to call in someone to fix if I can't figure it out myself.

 

Thanks

 

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Was anything else plugged in that maybe wasn't plugged in before?

Like a space heater, appliance, etc?

There may have been too much of a draw on the circuit if you include the other things plugged in/running in the same room/same circuit.

I can't run my washer or dryer while my test kiln is firing because they are on the same circuit. It's one or the other :)

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Usually if there is a problem in the kiln, like a fried wire that is grounding out, then it will trip the breaker immediately upon turning on the kiln. Since it's taking a while before it trips, the breaker is probably bad. Make sure the breaker is 25% greater than the draw of the kiln, and the wire is the right size for that breaker. Might be a good time to get an electrician in to check it out.

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 My 2 Cents, sounds like an issue with the Kiln if it has been working in the past and now tripping the breaker when going on high. If the home breaker is tripping, there is too much current being drawn. Maybe a bad heating coil in kiln, Not sure but the breakers are a safety and if the kiln is tripping them you have someone check it out..

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 I am going to start with the electrician and then have a kiln tech come out.  I had to unload an entire kiln's worth of glazeware and drive it to a friends because I have a show this week-end.  Only another potter would understand thankfully I have great friends.  There are kiln tech's in my co-op that can come and check it out for me or I can call a tech from a distributor.    Thanks for the advice.

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Best to have kiln near o the main box if possible and have a dedicated service with ample capacity (Thick wires) I usually go thicker than needed and this is easy if it is a short run.

 

2 and 3 pole circuits are required by code to be dedicated. You cannot share the circuit like you can with 120 volts circuits.

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  • 2 years later...

How did this resolve ClayDiva?

I'd love to know as a friend is having a similar issue and has already paid an electrician look at it and not find anything, and we also couldn't find anything wrong in the kiln. Her cone 06 is tripping in the 1100 deg F range when she runs it one FAST (computerized) but managed to get it to Cone 06 by running it at MEDIUM speed.

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1 hour ago, Barbdunshee said:

How did this resolve ClayDiva?

I'd love to know as a friend is having a similar issue and has already paid an electrician look at it and not find anything, and we also couldn't find anything wrong in the kiln. Her cone 06 is tripping in the 1100 deg F range when she runs it one FAST (computerized) but managed to get it to Cone 06 by running it at MEDIUM speed.

Check to see what type of breaker, if it has a test button on it, it could be an afci breaker, they're really temperamental.  If not, try replacing the breaker itself (or have an electrician do it), and if it's still trippin, it's probably a kiln issue that you haven't caught.

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On 12/14/2016 at 9:29 PM, ClayDiva said:

I have a standard old school Skutt  with a kiln sitter but not really old, from about 2005 or so, just not computerized.  It normally runs like a champ and no issues with the elements.  I belong to a large co-op but probably do 10  or so loads at home so it doesn't get heavy use as I fire most of my work at the other studio.  Of course I have a show this week-end and was ready to run one last load through since I sold quite a bit at my co-op sale. For the first time my kiln tripped the breaker when I turned it to high, but not right away, about a half hour in.  This is after I had it on low for an hour vented and then on medium for at least another hour with no issues.  When I ran it on high it tripped the breaker after about a half hour.  I re-set it and tried again and had the same issue.  I didn't want to keep trying as there must be a more serious issue though I can't understand what would be causing it to trip when the temperature goes up.  Anyone have any ideas?  I may have to call in someone to fix if I can't figure it out myself.

 

Thanks

 

There are so many possibilities here and everyone has tried to weigh in with caution. My concern would be all cited above: breaker, kiln plug (if ya got one) kiln etc.... but also I would be concerned with a loose wire or burned end connection  as it seems to be thermally related and sensitive to time at load.
If this was a service call for me, the minimum I would do before I left your house would be to: check the amperage at the kiln and breaker. Check all the connections in the kiln for amperage and their physical temperature during  prolonged operation. If I found issues at any point I would start over again after fixing that fault and double checking there is not anything else that has been weakened as a result. Thermal scans with non contact thermometers are very revealing.

Hopefully you have a friend as an electrician or kiln tech.

Edited by Bill Kielb
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If you are trying to DIY and you have another breaker of the same amperage in the panel, you might try to move the wiring from the problem breaker and do a run with the alternate breaker. Also, depending on the brand of breaker, you might just replace the breaker. (A SquareD  50 amp would cost about $10 while a Zinsco would cost about $70) 

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13 hours ago, Barbdunshee said:

How did this resolve ClayDiva?

I'd love to know as a friend is having a similar issue and has already paid an electrician look at it and not find anything, and we also couldn't find anything wrong in the kiln. Her cone 06 is tripping in the 1100 deg F range when she runs it one FAST (computerized) but managed to get it to Cone 06 by running it at MEDIUM speed.

My rule of thumb: If the breaker blows immediately when the kiln turns on, then the problem is in the kiln. If the breaker blows after running for a while, then the breaker is the problem. When the kiln is on HIGH, it's pulling full power for extended periods, and the breaker is heating up and tripping. Breakers can and do go bad, so I would start with replacing the breaker. Also double check that the wires from the breaker to the kiln are the correct size and are not overheating.

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