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KarenO

Converting a Kiln from 115v to 110v

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I'm moving from a community studio to a studio in my garage and I'm planning on purchasing a large kiln, however I bought a small used Skutt 614 (it's tiny) off craigslist so that I could gain some experience with kilns before making the leap to an expensive larger kiln.

My problem - once I got this used little Skutt home I see that the previous owner had twisted one of the electric prongs on the plugs to make it a 110v.  Tt looks like the plug is compatible with 115v.)  It appears that they twisted one of the prongs 90 degrees.  I've been speaking to electricians about rewiring this little kiln, but I'm wondering if I could just twist the prong back to the original 115v position and then use a proper adapter from the hardware store rather than replacing the full plug/cord.

Another option is to not bother and cut my loses.  The kiln cost me $100, and ultimately will be too small for what I need.  But it appears to be in good shape visually otherwise.  I have not plugged it in.

thanks in advance!  Karen

plug614.jpg

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If the prong was twisted 90 degrees, then he was trying to make it fit a 15 amp outlet instead of a 20 amp outlet, not 110 to 115 volts. 20 amp outlets have one prong turned perpendicular to the other so that you can't plug a 20 amp appliance into a 15 amp outlet, because that would overload the outlet.

According to the Skutt website, that kiln pulls 20 amps, which means it should actually be on a 25 amp breaker, because code requires that kiln be on a breaker that is 25% greater than the draw of the kiln. I would also put a cord on it that is rated to 30 amps.

Also, according to the Skutt website, that kiln can only go to cone 6, so it's not ideal for doing cone 5/6 work. You'll be maxing it out every time you fire it, and once the elements wear even a little bit it won't get to temp.

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Thank you Neil, That is super helpful.  Since I want to do cone 5/6 work, I assumed that kiln would be fine for starting out, and I never thought it would be that harmful to max it out every time I use it.  I assumed it was designed for that!  I don't know it's history and since I haven't plugged it in to look at the elements I'm not even sure if they are in top shape.  That's definitely something to think about.

 

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Just now, KarenO said:

Thank you Neil, That is super helpful.  Since I want to do cone 5/6 work, I assumed that kiln would be fine for starting out, and I never thought it would be that harmful to max it out every time I use it.  I assumed it was designed for that!  I don't know it's history and since I haven't plugged it in to look at the elements I'm not even sure if they are in top shape.  That's definitely something to think about.

 

It won't harm the kiln to fire it to cone 6, it's just that you won't get very good element life from it. Usually we fire to cone 6 in kilns that are rated to cone 10 because the elements can wear more before the kiln can't reach cone 6. If you're firing to the max of the kiln, then you have to change the elements once they wear just a little bit.

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You have had your first lesson in kiln ownership.   I would sell this kiln and go ahead and invest in the kiln you want and get your wiring done for it.  They sell really well on Craigslist in the city I live in.     Denice

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3 minutes ago, Denice said:

You have had your first lesson in kiln ownership.   I would sell this kiln and go ahead and invest in the kiln you want and get your wiring done for it.  They sell really well on Craigslist in the city I live in.     Denice

Indeed, you're going to have to hire an electrician either way unless you already have a spare 25 amp dedicated circuit.  If you are planning on buying a bigger kiln in the near future you don't want to have to pay an electrician twice (they're pricy!!).  If you already have a 25 amp circuit then fire away :)

You can always use lowfire earthenware until you're ready to buy your big cone 10 kiln, this kiln will be able to do fine with low fire.

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7 hours ago, KarenO said:

I'm wondering if I could just twist the prong back to the original 115v position and then use a proper adapter

I strongly recommend that you not use that plug - whether you twist it back, or not.  There's a good chance that, in twisting it to its current shape,  the connection between the blade of the plug, and the wires has been damaged or weakened - which could lead to arcing and overheating.

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Agreed. Do not use that plug. If you twisted it back, it would be in the original 20 amp position. It's not about the voltage. You cannot use a 20 amp plug in a 15 amp outlet. You should not use an adapter, either, because it would overload the circuit to run a 20 amp kiln on a 15 amp circuit.

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