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Sarah B.C.

Old Electric Kiln and Kiln Sitter installation

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Hello!  I have done some pottery in the past in a classroom setting and recently acquired an old electric kiln for a price I couldn't say no too.  I've never fired my own pieces before and my husband had to go pick the kiln up for me so I wasn't able to ask the previous owner the many questions I now have. 

The kiln is small and electric with no visible markings to indicate who made it or what the model is.  The only thing that seems to determine if it's on or off is if it is plugged in.  As soon as it's plugged in, it heats up and gets going, there is no control panel or on/off switch.  It came with a kilnsitter LT-3 and I've done extensive research on how to operate the sitter, but it came separate from the kiln and I have no idea how to install it.  There does not seem to be any extra wiring for me to attach the sitter too.  Does anyone have any clues as to how I can install the kilnsitter and get firing? 

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A wider view showing the entire kiln would probably be helpful, but judging from the wiring boxes, lack of insulators where the wires go through the brick, and individual bands with no 'jacket' around the outside, I'm guessing it's home-made - or, at-least, home 're-built'. 

Also a guess, based on the screws and other unpainted parts being 'bright & shiny" - it looks like that kiln-sitter has never been used.  My guess is whomever built the kiln intended to install the sitter, but something (or someone) prompted them to abandon the project before they completed it.

Based on the apparent home-made origin, and the lack of information you have about it, I would strongly recommend not plugging it in again until you're able to have the elements tested to determine how much current it draws, and verify that all of the wires - and attached plug - are of appropriate size and type.  

 

 

Edited by Rockhopper

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There's a lot that needs to be redone on this kiln, and unless you know about electricity and the proper way to do things, you shouldn't touch this kiln. You definitely shouldn't plug it in again until everything has been wired up properly. The sitter alone will not be enough to make this kiln functional. You'll need at least one switch (depending on how it's wired up) to control the heating rate, which will need to be housed in a box and connected to the sitter. Or you could run it through an external digital controller and forget the sitter. The big question is how many amps it will pull, so it can be wired up safely. You'll need to test the resistance of the elements in order to make the calculations. Before going any further, though, please post a lot more pictures- the whole outside, the inside, etc.

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We should probably start with what you hope to get out of this kiln. How hot do you need to fire?

Next, what's your comfort/ability level with electrical systems? Do you have a digital multi-meter?

Third, are you willing to spend some money and time to get this thing working? Depending on what you spent, you may be better off taking the loss and buying a different kiln. This kiln needs rewiring, a switch, a power cord, control box, a stand of some sort. Once you get into the details, it may also need new elements. You could end up spending several hundred dollars just getting it to work safely.

I'd ditch all the electrical parts and turn it into a gas fired raku kiln, if you have any interest in raku.

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I really appreciate all the information!  I wish I had known about this forum before I bought the kiln.  Good thing I got it for a pretty low price and only purchased it to get back into ceramics as a hobby.  I'm pretty decent with electrical systems but I don't think it'll end up being worth the time/effort for me.  Using it for raku is a great idea! 

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