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L &L kiln slow to complete program

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I bought a used 15 year old  E-23 t kiln that was in  good physical shape but needed new thermocouples, new heating elements, and a new vent system. I replaced them with new ones and now I am trying to get the kiln working. I did a bisque fire to cone 06 with a kiln that is filled but not packed tight by any means, and it took 16 hours to complete. Is this typical or is there still something wrong with the kiln? Any insight would be great. 

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I had it wired professionally by an electrician who had experience with kiln installations. I do not recall whether it is 208 or 240 volt service, but I remember that we did the one that is called for. I am not sure how to check the relays. Perhaps I need another visit from an electrician to check things over.

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I changed the relays when I did the thermocouples and elements, but I have not confirmed if they are working. Maybe I should do a paper burn test to see if everything is firing. I kind of wish I had not bought a used kiln. Perhaps I have inherited someone else’s problems:)

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2 hours ago, Skip said:

I changed the relays when I did the thermocouples and elements, but I have not confirmed if they are working. Maybe I should do a paper burn test to see if everything is firing. I kind of wish I had not bought a used kiln. Perhaps I have inherited someone else’s problems:)

Which firing program did you use? Did you add a preheat cycle?

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I did a slow bisque to cone 06 which should take 12.73 hours. I did not have a preheat or a hold at the top temperature. Could the addition of greenware add 3 hours to the cycle? I did find my invoice from the elements and relays. I used six L&L E23t Elements SS 240V, 1-p and three Relay 30 amp 12V. I am going to have a friend who is a master electrician (not the one who installed my electric for the kiln) check the power supply and kiln on Friday to see if he can find an issue.

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4 hours ago, liambesaw said:

You sure yours needs the SS ones and not the post 2004 ones? The age of the kiln is right on the border

That is a great question. I remember something about a change in kilns in 2004. My serial number is 011904-H. If I am reading that right that is January 19, 2004. Is that correct? I am new to all of this. I will look to see if I can find which elements I should be using. You may be correct though since the elements seemed about 6 inches too short when I installed them. 

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8 minutes ago, Skip said:

That is a great question. I remember something about a change in kilns in 2004. My serial number is 011904-H. If I am reading that right that is January 19, 2004. Is that correct? I am new to all of this. I will look to see if I can find which elements I should be using. You may be correct though since the elements seemed about 6 inches too short when I installed them. 

Yes, you should have the small elements. If you tried to put the large elements in your kiln they wouldn't have fit properly. The difference is because they switched to a different size element holder which allowed for a larger diameter element. Both will have the same power draw, though, so it shouldn't contribute to the slowness of the firing.

Make sure when you load the kiln that you don't put anything too close to the thermocouples. Keep all pots and shelves at least an inch away. Putting stuff too close could cause a bad reading, and then the kiln spend a lot of time trying to keep the firing even. Also push the thermocouples in all the way so they touch the end of the protection tubes. I would also go through and make sure that the controller is set to factory settings. It could be that the previous owner set something goofy that's causing it to fire slowly. I have a feeling that there's nothing wrong with the elements or relays.

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1 minute ago, liambesaw said:

SS are for pre-july 2004 I guess, so should fit yours.  Was just a thought

I really appreciate it. I just found the same thing. I do need the SS and not the SL. I was actually hoping that was the issue. I really want for my kiln to work. Since I have changed everything I can at this point it may be that not enough volts are going to the kiln. I just looked at the fuse box and the kiln is wired to a double switch each of which says 60. Is that enough power?

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Just now, Skip said:

I really appreciate it. I just found the same thing. I do need the SS and not the SL. I was actually hoping that was the issue. I really want for my kiln to work. Since I have changed everything I can at this point it may be that not enough volts are going to the kiln. I just looked at the fuse box and the kiln is wired to a double switch each of which says 60. Is that enough power?

The 60 amp breaker is correct. It doesn't have anything to do with the power draw, though. It's just a fuse. Low voltage could account for the problem. If you're not getting the full 240 volts it could cause the firing to slow down. Have your electrician check the voltage.

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Thank you so much Neil and Liam. I did leave the thermocouples a few mm of clearance from the end, so I will check those and adjust them. I just checked and I did have a stilt about an inch away from the middle thermocouple. I don’t think that is it, but I may do a slow bisque with an empty kiln to see how the time goes. I’ll have to read how to reset the controller, but that shouldn’t be too hard. I love how easy it is to work on L&L kilns. Of course I’ll love it even more when this problem is solved:)

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Awesome. I am going to crank it up to see if the elements are all lighting. Then I will have the electrician check it out on Friday. I’ll write back when I know more. I really appreciate the kindness that you have shown me. One day years from now when I am not new at this I hope to be able to help others as I have been helped.

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I just did a paper burn test and was able to see that the bottom two elements are not getting hot. After the kiln cools off I will need to look at the wiring to see if there is a problem. The problem has been identified!! Yay...now for the solution...

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I found the problem. Is this something I can get at Home Depot or is it a special order from a pottery place? This wire ran from where the electricity enters the control box to the relay.

28364DC3-7D73-41F3-94E5-58ED836AF1EF.jpeg

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If the wire isn't fried, and it's long enough, you can just cut off the terminal and put on a new terminal. If the wire on that end is looking crispy, though, then replace the wire. I can't tell from the photo if it fried out or just broke. 

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No connectors and it actually looks like it will be too short once I strip the wire and reconnect. I will check out Home Depot and if I have no luck will go for the KC167

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I just used some insulated wire for mine, it's not anything special just match the wire gauge.  Them wires ain't gonna get too hot.  Maybe home Depot or an auto supply has high temp wire (I got my high temp silicone wire at home Depot I think)

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Wire is rated by temperature and amperage. You should be able to see a temperature rating printed on the outside of nearby similar wires. Generally that appears to be a higher rated than THHN or 90c, which would be big box house wiring. likely 150c or 250c or if real good stuff 450c. If you can’t find the temp printed on it the letter code such as MG (mica glass) can be looked up on the web. Home Depot may  or may not carry appliance wire which is generally rated at 150c. Match what ya got is probably the best advice I can think of.

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You'll have better luck matching the wire at an appliance parts dealer.  They'll have high-temp wires used in electric driers & ranges.  Most HD & other box stores only have 'building wire' and some low-voltage wire (landscape lights, speakers, doorbells).

Also - assuming you buy the wire & connectors separately:  Make sure the connectors are crimped good & tight - and they fit snugly on the blade they slide onto.  A loose connection on either will cause arcing, which will burn up the wire and/or connector, and you'll be doing it all over again.

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