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Algiz

R-14 universal electrical muffle kiln stopped working

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Hi

I have an R-14 universal electrical muffle kiln and it has simply stopped working. I’ve got the user manual pdf but there’s no mention of any possible faults.

I’ve checked the fuse and that’s fine and the plug socket it’s plugged in to works fine. Nothing seems burnt or damaged. But it won’t turn on.

Any ideas?

Thank you so much in advance if you are able to help.

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1 hour ago, Algiz said:

Hi

I have an R-14 universal electrical muffle kiln and it has simply stopped working. I’ve got the user manual pdf but there’s no mention of any possible faults.

I’ve checked the fuse and that’s fine and the plug socket it’s plugged in to works fine. Nothing seems burnt or damaged. But it won’t turn on.

Any ideas?

Thank you so much in advance if you are able to help.

This is a small kiln and I believe  all models have a digital controller.  Without a circuit diagram it’s hard to suggest other than are you familiar with  checking things with a voltmeter / ohmmeter?  If so then a technique we coined jump shooting  when we teach basic electrical troubleshooting might help. Basically you will systematically start where the power comes into the kiln and probe in a step by step fashion forward until you find where the power stops. Usually that would be a good indication of a bad component .

As an example for a bad receptacle controlled by a light switch you might start at the main panel and make sure there is power, then jump to the switch and make sure  it closes and power goes to the receptacle then jump to the receptacle itself and  finally jump to the lamp and light or whatever is supposed to operate when plugged into the receptacle.

Other than that if you are confident in your control programming there  appears to be  a door safety switch, so if the door does not fully press this switch in the kiln will not operate.

If you are unfamiliar with the above then maybe a good kiln tech is in order.

Edited by Bill Kielb

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Thank you Bill.

We ended up changing the heating elements as that’s what a DT teacher friend of mine suggested and it worked perfectly once then not again and back to the same issues.

I can’t get anyone to suggest anything or help since then. Lock down means I can’t take it anywhere for advice.

 

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2 hours ago, Algiz said:

Thank you Bill.

We ended up changing the heating elements as that’s what a DT teacher friend of mine suggested and it worked perfectly once then not again and back to the same issues.

I can’t get anyone to suggest anything or help since then. Lock down means I can’t take it anywhere for advice.

 

Pictures and measurements would go a long way here as the speculation above ponders if what is causing it to not work at all. Without some measurements there is no way to determine which components are bad. I assume at one point this did work. Are you able to have someone actually measure and troubleshoot. Replacing parts can work but often does not address the root cause of the problem.

Edited by Bill Kielb

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If you haven't already checked the door switch that Bill mentioned, I would start there.  It's possible that when you replaced the elements, you un-knowingly moved the switch just enough for it to close when the door closed - but then after the firing, it moved again, back to the point where it's not fully closing.

It's probably the least expensive component, and one of the easiest to diagnose...  First, check that it is securely fastened in place.  Does the switch body move at all when you push/pull on it ?   Depending on the construction of the switch, if it's moving even a millimeter, it could be enough to keep the switch from closing, causing your controller to read it as the door being open.  

If the switch is securely fastened, then you'll want to check continuity through the switch to see that it opens and closes...  If it seems to be functioning, then look for a way to adjust it so that it's a little closer to the door.  (Might also check the hinges, to be sure the door is closing properly.)

If your kiln is like the one in the picture below, it looks like the switch is triggered by a lever that extends below the bottom corner of the door...  could be that lever has gotten bent down a little, to where the door doesn't move it far enough to close the switch.

image.png.b64c6c234e65d88e0329c851536bb473.png

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The temp gauge sits on 21 degrees Celsius and doesn’t move. The green OUT1 light is lit.

If I touch the controls it blinks between the green OUT1 and then changes to red and ALM1 and it shows funny non numbers then might change to a higher number, but rapidly counts down back to 21.

1D891BFB-5E36-4F67-87E7-70211D667264.jpeg

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In response to Bill the people who made the kiln and sold it to me wont help at all.

A DT teacher friend changed box that lights up and shows the temp and then the heating element. But due to lock down I can’t get it back to him.

It worked fine after the heating element was replaced once. I heard a slight ‘pop’ sound but nothing seemed wrong and it hasn’t worked since.

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10 minutes ago, Algiz said:

E431C134-0CF2-425F-A604-D0F5270EC252.jpeg

Hmm, that slight pop sound likely was significant. I am wondering what this kiln is rated, also as if it’s not designed for cone six, taking it there likely ends its life. Those appear to be very lightweight elements. You really need to be able to diagnose this using test equipment in my view else we are all guessing.

Edited by Bill Kielb

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17 minutes ago, Algiz said:

The temp gauge sits on 21 degrees Celsius and doesn’t move. The green OUT1 light is lit.

If I touch the controls it blinks between the green OUT1 and then changes to red and ALM1 and it shows funny non numbers then might change to a higher number, but rapidly counts down back to 21.

1D891BFB-5E36-4F67-87E7-70211D667264.jpeg

Hopefully there is a relay in this thing as this temp module directly controlling the element would be a risky design in my view. These modules are very programmable and you would need to download their program documentation to figure out its programming. There is an alarm setpoint in these and it sounds like you are at it for some reason. Having programmed many similar, there are an overwhelming number of parameters to deal with if you have never done anything like this. My best hope is you can get a decent tech there to help. This is hard stuff for most kiln techs not familiar with PID module temperature controllers.

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As Bill said - that 'pop' was likely significant.  There are a number of things it could have been - but I'm thinking if you look inside the wiring box, you may find a wire that's come loose or got pinched during the re-assembly after replacing elements, etc.  

 

9 minutes ago, Bill Kielb said:

I am wondering what this kiln is rated to

I don't see mention of what temp you're firing to, but if the manual I pulled the picture from matches your kiln, it's rated at 1000*C max - and says in the manual that even if you set the control higher than that, "...  it still will heating up maximum only to 1000 C. "

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That's a general purpose heating controller, not specific to kilns. As Bill said, there's a million parameters that can be set with these things. For starters you'll want to go through and make sure everything is set as it should be. The kiln manual that I found is worthless, but a quick search will bring up the manual for the actual controller. If it doesn't make a lot of sense, ask the kiln manufacturer what their factory settings are so you can compare.

Wiring wise, make sure your thermocouple connections are good, and that the thermocouple itself is in good condition. If it's got a relay, you'll need to see if it's working by using a multi-meter and tracing the power path.  Without getting our hands on it, there's not much else we can do from here.

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